Inaccurate Messages from Dodge Grand Caravan Commercial: The Right Tool for the Job
This summer, we had the opportunity to travel to two countries - Italy and England. In Italy, we were amazed at the small size of the cars. In fact, many people didn't drive cars at all, as they used their Vespa motorcycles to travel around the narrow winding roads. When we went to England, our relatives came to meet us at the airport with two cars. Since their cars were small, they were afraid that the three of us wouldn't fit in one car with all of our luggage. We would have fit in one car, since we didn't bring a great deal of luggage, but it did seem strange to us that they were willing to own such small cars that required so much effort.
I didn't think much about it when I returned to the States, but then I saw this commercial for the 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan, and I realized how we as Americans had bought into the philosophy.
The Right Tool for the Job
We are all looking for a car that is safe, and can do the things we need it to do. We want our car to be able to easily and conveniently transport anything we choose to buy. If we find a special deal on a piece of furniture, we want it to be able to get it home without having to wait and pay for the delivery. It's embarrassing to have to transport things that don’t quite fit into our vehicles. As the commercial says, we definitely want the right tool for the job.
Thinking Through the Message
The message of finding the right tool for the job is an accurate one. We should find the right tool for the job. What we fail to do when we watch this commercial, is to properly determine what the job requirements are for our new vehicle. We buy into the message and take that wrong message with us to the car dealership.
Let's face it; most of the time, the car is going to be used to take us back and forth to work. We aren't normally going around hauling things anywhere. It makes more sense for us to buy something that is fuel efficient, and big enough to carry us comfortably back and forth to work. The car should be bought for our normal needs.
Of course, there will be times when we need a bigger vehicle. Personally, I know enough people with bigger vehicles that would be willing to help me out if I needed to haul something bigger. I could also pay the store for delivering the item, or rent a U-Haul. There are plenty of solutions for the rare occasions when I need additional space. It would be far cheaper for me to buy a smaller car that handles my normal transportation needs, and pay the extra for the other situations.
Getting a bigger car that fits the biggest job I will ever make it do really doesn't make sense. It is more expensive for me, in terms of gasoline costs, and more expensive for the environment. It takes up more space on the road, and uses up more natural resources.
Personally, I admire the resourcefulness and ingenuity of these people who were able to transport their things home with their little cars. I don't think they should be embarrassed at all. They were able to use their car for everyday use, and even managed to get all of their things home without paying for a gas guzzler.
We really need to listen to the messages that we hear, in commercials, in the media, and in talking to one another, and decide whether these messages are accurate. How is it that the Italians and the British are managing to drive around in such small cars and motorcycles?
The messages we hear make us believe that our cars need to get bigger and bigger, even while we see fuel prices going up, and streets getting more congested. We think we need bigger cars to protect us from all the big cars on the road, which in turn leads to even bigger cars on the road.
When we live frugally, we have to think for ourselves and think through the messages we hear. Sure, if we regularly transport things, we will need a car that is big enough to transport those things. But we shouldn't base on our decisions based on being worried about what others think of us, and whether we will be embarrassed. Our decisions should be based on what works best for us in our current situation.
Personally, I think it should be more embarrassing to pay high fuel costs for one person to drive a big van back and forth to work on that off chance that she might have to transport something.