Friday, January 15, 2010

The Unnecessary Truck

I have a lot of pet peeves in this world, both on and off the auto show floor. One of my biggest is the Unnecessary Truck.

The Unnecessary Truck is simply one bought for no other purpose than to make its owner feel tough and manly (that goes for female owners, too). The Unnecessary Truck has no practical purpose, like hauling lumber, towing a boat, or bringing dirt bikes back and forth to the track.

Instead, the Unnecessary Truck spends it days hauling nothing more than a huge ego around town, burning a ridiculous amount of fuel for a single passenger and being parked like its owner is blind.

Seriously, yesterday in the parking lot of my gym there was the most ridiculous Unnecessary Truck situation I've ever seen. One truck was pulled forward about a third of the way into the space in front of it, I assume so the bed wouldn't be sticking out into the lane. The second truck parked nose-to-nose with the first, resulting in its bed blocking the entire other lane due to the length of the bed and the fact that the first truck was taking up a third of the spot.

Do you really need a 19-foot pickup truck to carry your fat ass and a gym bag? I don't think so.

In fact, I am quite sure that a good 80% of non-professionals (anyone other than contractors, plumbers, masochists who like to help friends move every weekend, etc) who drive a pickup could actually do just fine in a Mini Cooper. Yeah, I said it. Your Unnecessary Truck should be traded in for a Mini Cooper.

Maybe then you'd learn how to park.


  1. Amen to this! The guys with their 10-year-old Civics with miles-high spoilers are guilty of this parking behavior, too. So few people really need these dual axle monstrosities, because so few people haul livestock, heavy equipment with a bed full of whatever, pull a boat up a mountain, etc. I might, however, opt for something a little less cramped than a Mini Cooper as the replacement. Thanks for sharing.

  2. When I see them, I always think, "Tiiiiiny penis!" No one has something that purposelessly large unless they're trying to compensate...

  3. Katie,

    Now that's original. It's almost funny.

    I suppose when I see a woman who buys a lot of clothes and shoes I should think, "Tiiiny brain!" Shall we assume that women who have big boobs are stupid? What about blonds? Auto show models?

    The host of this blog complains about being stereotyped because of her job and her appearance. If it's a man that you're stereotyping, I guess it's cool, though.

    So tell me, what purchases do women make that allow armchair psychoanalysis? What do women compensate for?

    Note to DWCWTC, remember the profits made on the sale of pickups (and pickups are still among the most profitable segments) ultimately mean that more models and product spokespeople will be hired for auto shows. Don't bite the hand that feeds.

    It's a big automotive world and if someone wants to feel good about themselves because they drive a Prius, that's fine, and if a woman won't drive a minivan because she doesn't want to be seen as a soccer mom, that's fine, and if some guy wants a big honkin' pickup because it fits his self image, that's fine too.

    It's a free country. Well, so far.

  4. Love your blog and your post at jalopnik was brilliant.

    Thought you might like this relate blog post I wrote last year:

    Keep up the great writing.

  5. Welcome to Texas: Unnecessary Truck heaven and those who park like they're blind.

  6. @ Ronnie:

    VERY well said, good sir.

  7. Lol as i come to this post i think about how many ppl even needed a Hummer who ended up buying one after i explained all 'great' features!

    Attendee: Why don't you have the gas mileage on the H2 posted?

    Me: It can do so much and its so great that its heavy enough to actually be considered a work truck and may be eligible for you claim on your taxes if you own your own business and maybe some some advertising on it.

    Attendee: Well I dont want to mark it all up.

    Me: Solution: Magnets!

    You see were all taught on how the avoid the 'it only gets 9mpg' question!

  8. I suspect Ronnie possesses either an Unnecessary Truck or a "Mini" that has nothing to do with BMW...

    I'm a sportscar and motorcycle type but willing to admit that a large part of all three of these groups are trying to buy a lifestyle. Of course they're free to do so and "that's fine" but it still makes them tools.

  9. LiveandLetDrive,

    Never owned a pickup in my life. My brother actually has a '63 Mini and I've worked on that. Someday I'll put my '66 Lotus Elan back together.

  10. There's no lack of women driving these vehicles. So what's your theory on them? They want to feel tough and manly? I have a sports car (closer to a race car actually), and sometimes I wish I could haul simple things like a ladder. In moments like these, I feel like they must simply be overly practical people for whom this type of situations is a high priority.

  11. cmaj,

    From what I've read, women either make or strongly influence 80% of consumer purchases. If a guy is driving an SUV, chances are good that it was his wife's decision to buy it. Like I said before, how many women refuse to drive a minivan?

  12. Ronnie-
    I would like to point out that 2 of your female examples (big boobs and blonde) are sometimes a conscious decision, but are most often genetic. Making an assumption based on someone's behavior is very different than making an assumption based on an immutable physical characteristic.

  13. Amen! I work and live in the land of the Unnessicary pickup truck. People here buy them to commute to work with and not much else.
    My favorite is seeing someone try to navigate one into a parking space at the mall and subsequently try to extricate their family of 5 from the stupid thing...

  14. True story: coming back from lunch, pulled up to the platform in our parking deck to drop my friend off in my MINI Cooper S...guy in bright yellow Hummer H2 gets impatient, honks horn...I get out and yell, "WHAT?!"...he says, "move that little thing or I'll drive over it."...I look at him, his truck, then my car, then myself, my car and back and him and say, "At least I'm not compensating for anything."...get in car, drive off and park...get back to platform and three ladies who were out there smoking thanked me for the best laugh they'd had in weeks.

    Wound up having to work with that guy on a project...he's a wanker even when not in his H2, but only slightly less of one.

  15. Your opinion of me please. I own a truck and only use it to it's full potential on occasion. By that I mean putting anything in the back. I purchased it because at 6'10" I have yet to find a car comfortable enough. Opinions?

  16. Anon directly above: If it's all you can fit in, then it isn't unnecessary : ) However, I can tell you that I have seen many a person nearly your height (6'7" and taller) fit comfortably into a Smart car.

    We Americans have this weird obsession with driving boats, like everything we own must be the biggest thing on the road. I find it quite wasteful and indicative of a greater ill in our society.

  17. Ahhhh yes the Smart Car. I have sat in one and it fit okay. Not exactly roomy but plenty more room than say a Mustang. Thanks for the reply.

  18. Is it new for you that there people who buys cars only because its significance and the fact that "everyone has it"..well, let them enjoy themselves, it just make more good-condition used trucks enter the market and lower their price :)

  19. You're forgetting the hidden benefit of unnecessary trucks....sparing me the annoyance of going on half a dozen dates only to find out a guy is packing 3 inches of hot pink steel...

  20. You're forgetting the hidden benefit of unnecessary trucks....sparing me the annoyance of going on half a dozen dates only to find out a guy is packing 3 inches of hot pink steel...

  21. I am just going to point out that in the rest of the world people do the same things as we do here with the ford f250 or Chevy 2500 or whatever, with normal sized trucks/vans and even cars.
    towing? can be done with cars half the size of a typical Tundra.

    look at this guy:

    50 foot tree, tiny car...
    that is the truth.
    F150 raptor, waste of moula...

    god when is Mahindra coming already.
    also big truck is definitely = to small penis.
    especially cadillac avalanche... what a freaking amazing ugly aztec sized joke.

  22. The hackneyed expression 'men must be compensating for something if they buy a (sports cars, truck, gun, etc) is so patently false if even think about it for a minute.

    The F-150 and Chevy Silverado trucks have lead the sales charts for decades. No way it is possible that only small-endowed males buy them.

    Think of all pro athletes with their expensive cars and trucks. They are physical giants amongst the general populace.

    Do you really think well-endowed wealthy men opt for small to mid-size cars because they don't need to compensate?
    Do you really think their GF/wives accept them driving a cramped car when they can easily afford a roomy, expensive car.
    When you see a man in a very small car, do you assume that he is largely endowed?
    That is after all, the necessary corollary of your inane theory.

    If you put any thought into it, the 'they must have a small penis" argument is just a mindless attempt at humor.

  23. there's nothing wrong in driving a truck..a person should just know how to park and where to park..dont treat it like its a mini cooper..i drive a midsize truck for its safety purpose and the way it looks..dont generalize why a guy drives a long as he knows where to park and have road ethics its fine..

    honestly, there are times when i also hate others who drive trucks and tries to park it in a space just for civics..there are also times where people dont know how to park..they enter a big slot but half of their cars is on the road.

  24. How do I know if I what I do with my truck is "necessary" enough? If I haul wood once a year to stock up and help a friend move maybe once or twice a year, do I make the list? What if I help my grandma move instead - is that worth more? Is there a badge I can use for when I'm not hauling, just so the ladies know I'm still a "necessary" guy? Should I get a doctor's note with the official measurement just in case?

    Or would I be better off getting a sports car and tying grandma's mattress to the roof with twine just to be sure?


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