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Automotive Entitlement

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Me: I think that even if I made millions of dollars every year, I would still drive my Toyota Sienna. I really love it and I just can’t imagine spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on something like a car.

Bar-Mitzvah Student: That’s probably because you’ve never sat behind the wheel of a Lamborghini.

Me: You’re twelve years old! Have you sat behind the wheel of a Lamborghini?

Bar-Mitzvah Student (sheepishly): Actually Rabbi, my friend’s dad has one and let me try it out.

Driving the freeways and streets of SoCal means sharing the road with a lot of fancy schmancy cars. Not to mention the fancy shmancy drivers of the aforementioned fancy shmancy cars (FShC).

Something bizarre seems to happen when one gets behind the wheel of a BMW or Audi or Mercedes-Benz or what have you. An overwhelming sense of entitlement takes over, causing the driver to behave in a most unseemly manner. No longer do the rules of the road apply to the driver of the FShC. No. Rules are for suckers. Rules are for the automotively-disadvantaged.

Drivers of the FShC can tailgate because wherever they are going is most definitely more important than where the Honda is going.
Drivers of the FShC can snag the parking spot because (again) wherever they are going is most definitely more important than where the (gasp!) Kia is going.
Drivers of the FShC can park in the handicapped spot WITHOUT displaying the mandatory placard or plate because why should they walk to the very important place they are going.

It’s not jealousy because I was honest when I told that student that I would be perfectly content driving my mini-van. I really don’t see the purpose of spending so much money on a car. I’m not into cars and would much rather spend my money in other ways.

Besides, I wouldn’t want to come down with an acute case of Automotive Entitlement.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Wednesday, 6 August 2008 7:57 am

    it does feel that way, doesn’t it? we have a lot of those FShC around here too…my hubby is so in love with our minivan that he calls it his “dream car” — and I drive my little Corolla with great pride in its fuel efficiency and cute-ness.

    I think the saddest thing is the 12 year old who *already* has carlust. Bikelust, skateboard-lust, even ipod-lust. But carlust? too young….

  2. Gavriel permalink
    Wednesday, 6 August 2008 9:02 am

    Yes indeed isn’t that the truth! One of the nicest things about moving out of crazy West L.A. to a relatively small New England town is that most people here just drive normal cars and are not caught up in the whole car crazy CA thing.

  3. Wednesday, 6 August 2008 4:05 pm

    It is odd here. I love my 20 year old Volvo and my students just don’t get it. Maybe the next car will be a Smart car, we will see.

  4. Wednesday, 6 August 2008 5:07 pm

    Yeah, Hubby tried pressuring me really hard a couple of years ago to get a lease-return Lexus SUV, instead of a Honda.

    I found out, afterward, that all of his coworkers’ wives drive luxury cars, and he was feeling guilty – like I was missing some sort of status symbol that I *needed*.

  5. Steve permalink
    Thursday, 7 August 2008 6:32 am

    Gee whiz, Sarah – I am quite put off by your insensitive, and quite frankly, your strange attitude here. You say that when one gets behind the wheel of a BMW or Audi, an overwhelming sense of entitlement begins… come on! What a load of garbage.

    Guess what? Soccer moms in Siennas break the rules of the road too. So do people in Hondas. Even Hyundais and Chevrolets are sometimes driven by jerks who dont obey the rules of the road.

    And here’s something amazing – many Audi, BMW and Benz drivers DO drive safely, and – wait for it – courteously as well.

    Your tone in this post is arrogant and provincial. ‘Oh, those people who have more money than me! They’re jerks! They’re mean! They’re selfish drivers!’. Come on.

    The fact is, your stereotype is just about as valid as ‘all women are terrible drivers. Once they get in their car, they feel entitled to talk on their phone, put on mascara, let their emotions get in the way of their driving…’ – its all a bunch of nonsense.

    Here’s something interesting – many BMX, Audi and Benz drivers actually drive BETTER than other drivers. Why? Becuase they have more of their money invested in their car, and therefore feel as if they want to be more protective of it.

    Sure, there are some drivers of these vehicles that are reckless and awful behind the wheel – just as there are plenty of Sienna drivers who are road hazards. You cannot make this kind of distinction without being wrong first of all, and inconsiderate as well.

    Us there anything wrong with the Toyota Sienna you drive? Absolutely not. Its a nice large van with plenty of space – it even gets decent MPG for that class of vehicle.

    Then again, why would someone choose a German auto? A better drive, plain and simple. The German automobile industry is entirely about quality of drive. Not necessarily speed, mind you, but the smoothest drive, the most responsive handling. There truly is NOTHING like a German car.

    Dont like spending a lot of dough on a vehicle though? I understand – hey – I HATE getting a bad deal. Incidentally, I got the WORST car deal in my life on a Toyota Corolla. They ripped me a new one. Anyway, if you want a GREAT German car at a really competitive price, look at VW – they are the same vehicles as Audi (they ‘rebadge’ them for each brand) and they are spectacular.

    Here’s a great idea – In the next year or so, if you’re interested in replacing that Sienna, check out the new VW Routan – its the new minivan from the Germans, based on the Chrysler Town & Country. You’ll get a great minivan with the drive & handling of a German luxury vehicle.

    Best part is – you’ll pick it up for about $2000 less than a new Sienna. What would that make you feel entitled to?

  6. Thursday, 7 August 2008 8:02 am

    Whoa, Steve, looks like it’s time for you to start an auto-blog-you definitely have things to say. If you have one, include a link next time, would love to check it out.

    I definitely caught some humor in this post… kind of a “you might be a red neck if…” sort of thing–and it didn’t occur to me to think she was seriously making a blanket statement about all people in fancy cars.

  7. Thursday, 7 August 2008 8:44 am

    So what you’re saying is that being locked in a room with nothing other than magazines about cars and sports is your idea of paradise. 😉

  8. Steve permalink
    Thursday, 7 August 2008 8:53 am

    Leah – Im really not that big of a gearhead – I just really dislike when certain stereotypes are used as fact – in this case, that anyone who would dare buy a premium auto is a selfish, inconsiderate roadhog. Yes, some are – but many aren’t. I have been reading this blog for some time, and i enjoy what Sarah has to say, but boy, when she gets it wrong, she gets it wrong!

    Jack – Again, I’m not really a big car guy – see above post. That being said, I do appreciate a fine auto. For the record, I drive a 2006 VW Passat – one of the finest cars I’ve ever had the pleasure of driving. And I consider myself to be a law abiding and considerate auto enthusiast.

  9. Steve permalink
    Thursday, 7 August 2008 8:55 am

    The VW minivan –
    For those wanting a luxury German SUV -

  10. Thursday, 7 August 2008 9:15 am

    I’m offended. Being a driver of what you would consider a FShC, I have NEVER, EVER (not once) felt entitled to a handicap parking space or entitled to tailgate or cut people off while driving. We purchased the car because we actually got a better deal on it than the Volvo! I do not think it’s a status symbol – just a reliable car.

    I actually consider myself a courteous driver – I am not aggressive and always let others merge in my lane. I do not drive excessively fast, and I obey the law. I usually park further away from my destination as I have healthy legs and am able to walk.

    I find the only thing my FShC entitles me to is poor gas mileage. At about 22 miles to the gallon, I do feel guilty driving it. But, to feel entitled to be a jerk on the road or in a parking lot? …. No way.

    Either I am an exception to your stereotype, or your stereotype is off base here.

  11. Thursday, 7 August 2008 9:29 am

    Geez – lighten up people. I am certain that Sarah meant to be funny.

    In any case, I drive a Lexus SUV and sometimes even drive my fiance’s convertible Mercedes. And I definitely own the road over you Honda and Toyota drivers.

    Ok I’m just kidding…sort of. 😉

  12. Thursday, 7 August 2008 10:38 am

    Wow, who knew people would get so “het up” about the FScC debate?

    I actually don’t think there’s anything wrong about a 12 yo interested in cars. It’s a little early, but boys have been into cars since way back. Maybe it all starts with the Matchbox Cars.

  13. Thursday, 7 August 2008 11:03 am

    Hi Steve,

    Actually my comment was for Frume Sarah who is among the leading sports enthusiasts of the blogosphere. 😉

  14. Steve permalink
    Thursday, 7 August 2008 11:26 am

    Ahh, OK, Jack – For some reason i thought the Q was directed at me!

  15. Thursday, 7 August 2008 11:33 am

    Forget about stereotypes — let’s talk about demographics. In Israel, for example, it is generally accepted that people drive with an extreme lack of patience and politeness. This does not always lead to unsafe behavior, but almost inevitably, if I am being unsafely tailed, cut off, or passed at high speed by another driver, one glance confirms what I already knew: the driver is male and young (us. under 35). He is endangering himself and everyone around him.

    But don’t ask me – ask any car insurance company: Whose premiums are the highest, and why?


  16. Steve permalink
    Thursday, 7 August 2008 11:49 am

    Nadneyda – you bring up an interesting point – demographics are far stronger than stereotypes. Then again, using insurance premiums as the basis would be far off base. Although Male drivers under 25 do pay a high premium, in actuality the people who pay the highest premiums for auto insurance are those with bad credit. As wacky as it would seem, for some reason this plays a maor part in insurance premiums.

    Then a driving record and NEXT is the age/sex factor. A 45 year old woman who has a clean driving record will pay more, generally than a 24 year old kid with a few tickets but great credit.

    Ridiculous, right?

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