Sunday, March 11, 2012

Damn you kids, I don't have a lawn!

My favorite question is : Why are things so fucked up? When the obvious answer : "Somebody benefits from it" doesn't work, it gets more interesting.

Some things develop to meet needs & are hard to change when needs change : The QWERTY keyboard, stoplights.

Some things transition from fashion to custom: Lawns, big antlers. It can happen in biology, and when it gets too extreme, buh-bye.

Some things were originally made one way, and options only later came in : Asphalt shingles were always dark.

A couple of these items - lawns and roofs - have huge adverse effects on our energy and land use. Lots of people are working hard to change them.

It's Sunday, so let's just focus on something that was bloody annoying from the start: Asphalt colored cars are the most obvious example of misguided fashion, except when one is heading right towards you & you can't see it. With car sales and miles driven most likely permanently on the downside of the peak, at least in the US, the only way things will change is if repainting becomes popular again.

Who drives preference? And to what extent does preference drive purchasing decisions? 11.5% say they prefer silver, 8.37% gray - although I've never met these people. And yet they make up at least 50% of the junk on the roads.

Sure, you can make an ugly car in any color

(One of these used to live on my street - it was even uglier in person.)

But on the whole, nobody that I want to know looks at a row of bright shiny colored vehicles and thinks "Wouldn't this look better in gray?", although car thieves do. If you're worried about theft:
Of the 109 pink cars in the study, not one was stolen. A bright and uncommon color, like pink, may be as effective deterrent as an expensive security system. Ben Vollaard, who conducted the research, wrote, “If the aversion to driving a car in an offbeat color is not too high – or if someone actually enjoys it – then buying deterrence through an uncommon car color may be at least as good a deal as buying deterrence through an expensive car security device.”

Practicality & aesthetics are aligned : Go bright. After all,

"I won that shiny red car!" wouldn't have worked in gray, would it, Diane?

Update 3/27: The Ugly Car is back! I saw it at the shopping center.


Dan Riley said...

Crazy coincidence...I'm driving around town with my beloved just yesterday and commenting on what I believe to be an inordinate number of cars in the plain wrap color of grey, stainless steel, whatever you choose to call it. But whenever I see car styles or colors I just don 't get, I take it a sign of our infinite variety as a species. Anthropologists of the distant future are going to have a ball studying us.

Downpuppy said...

I did think of including a blonde in a red convertible.

Fortunately, I couldn't find a really iconic picture. It would have been too much of a car commercial. Jobu knows I don't want to sell any cars.