Name Sham­ing Con­sumerism

Road Trip - - CONTENTS - Story by: Wayne Batty Cap­tured by: istockphoto.com

A look at our con­sumer driven so­ci­ety

Strike a blow to ram­pant con­sumerism; give your ap­pli­ance a name. Mo­tor en­thu­si­ast, Wayne Batty, shares his thoughts on our in­creas­ingly con­sumeris­tic so­ci­ety.

Septem­ber saw the re­lease of the iphone 8 and X (ten in Ro­man nu­mer­als). What be­came of 9, no one knows. It is clear that con­sumerism is now so pro­lific that Ap­ple saw fit to skip a whole gen­er­a­tion. And we are to blame – al­ways crav­ing newer and flashier ego-mas­sag­ing life props.

Apart from sav­ing a tonne of money, hold­ing onto your cur­rent mo­bile phone for a year or two af­ter an up­grade is due would also save a few grams of rare earth met­als.

I have a so­lu­tion to those tempt­ing, un­so­licited calls from your ser­vice provider ex­plain­ing how you are en­ti­tled to the lat­est im­pos­si­bly glassy, 256 GB, wire­lessly charged won­der. It is a strat­egy per­fected by South African car own­ers in the 20th cen­tury: give your cur­rent mo­bile phone a name. I do not care whether it is Al my toi­let pal or Big Screen Bertha, it mat­ters only that you take your al­ready in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship – who else are you fondling in the bath­room ev­ery day – to the next level.that way, look­ing for a mis­placed phone be­comes more per­sonal: “Have you seen Wally? Where’s Wally?”

The same goes for cars. Just when did we de­cide that trad­ing in ev­ery three years was ideal? Sure, the head­lights of the 2017 Mode­lyear are 12 can­dles brighter and the pleather is now fawn in­stead of taupe, but that does not mean it will carve through morn­ing traf­fic any faster than the al­most paid-off 2014 model cur­rently parked in your drive­way. It is not what your fi­nance com­pany would like to hear, but I say fight the temptation. Give 2014 a name and get at­tached.

Not sure it will work? Well, back in the day, we used to give our cars names and would keep them for 25 years. Gosh, some of us still own a pow­der blue Toy­ota Camry 220 called Au­drey. Giv­ing some­thing a name makes it much harder to part with. I learned this les­son as a child when I com­mit­ted the car­di­nal sin of nam­ing one of our chick­ens. Need­less to say, I only ate the veg­eta­bles that Christ­mas. We may not have kept our hens for long, but we kept the fam­ily Jaguar, a 1957 ex-po­lice Mk1, for more than 30 years. His name was Dr Teeth, as much in hon­our of his mag­nif­i­cent chrome grille as his mod­i­fied straight-six bite.

Pick­ing the right name can be tricky, and there are rules: Ply­mouth Furys should never be called Chris­tine, Bee­tles hate be­ing called Herb, and the only time it is ok to dub your Hyundai Ac­cent Verna is if you have a pen­chant for cro­chet­ing doilies and never once push her be­yond 55 km/h.

But, what if you own a Chrysler Se­bring con­vert­ible? You know, the one with the tor­toise shell steer­ing wheel, in­con­ti­nence­friendly up­hol­stery, and beach bucket plas­tics? Get it re­sprayed a fetch­ing shade of Mi­ami mauve and call her Dorothy in hon­our of The Golden Girls.then she will be good for a few decades of dry hu­mour, or at least un­til iphone 20 hits the mar­ket three years from now …

Wayne Batty

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