When you bought your car, what was important to you? For some, gas mileage may be the deciding factor, while others feel they need a vehicle that projects a certain image.
However, sometimes people end up buying a vehicle that projects the wrong image.
A Perfect Example Of Someone Who Did NOT Choose The Right Car
A few years ago, a middle aged man appeared at our doorstep offering to do yard work for us at a pretty reasonable rate. He seemed down on his luck and we wanted to help him out. However, my oldest son mows the lawn, so paying for a lawn cutting service was out of the question. So “Steve” offered to just do the edging for us. That was fine because we hate edging, and I don’t think our edger was even working anymore.
Every few weeks starting in mid-Spring or so, “Steve” shows up with his edger and gets to work. He has always been very nice and he and his small crew do a nice job. Edging is such a tedious job that it is the worth the investment for us, and we have always felt like we were helping Steve out.
I Never Knew Having a Small Lawn Service Could Be So Lucrative
Recently, Steve showed up at our house again to discuss lawn service for this year. He pulled up in our driveway, and I have to admit I was shocked. Steve was driving a convertible BMW Z3 (with the top down, of course)! My perspective of Steve changed immediately. Where at first I thought we were helping someone out that might be down on his luck, I was really just helping someone to drive a fancy car. Also, he wanted to retroactively charge us for mowing our lawn a few times last year when we never asked him to do it in the first place. He had told me before that if he saw our lawn was long, he would just cut the front for free occasionally as part of the deal. Apparently, that part of the deal disintegrated without us knowing it.
Maybe I Am Too Judgmental
After seeing Steve drive that car and he started asking for more money, I suddenly didn’t want to ‘help him out’ so much anymore. When we first hired him, it was almost out of charity in a sense. Now that I see he can afford cars way nicer than most people drive, the sense of charity has burst into a ball of flames. Even my son sees Steve in a whole new light.
What A Car Can Symbolize
Steve’s car really drives home the point that image can really matter in business. (Excuse the pun there.) In some industries, driving a convertible BMW or something similar is almost expected, and may even be necessary to ensure credibility. However, when providing lawn service (or many other services), a fancy car may work against you. An expensive vehicle may make your customers feel like they are overpaying for the service being offered. Also, it can be frustrating to the employees (if there are any), who perceive that the boss makes way more money than they do. It might even encourage workers to ask for a big raise, as the expensive car may signify that business is booming and that the wealth should be shared.
Keep in mind, I have no problem with people making a lot of money. I want everyone to make a lot of money. However, in this case, I almost feel like a sucker, and that is probably what bothers me so much.
Has your opinion of someone ever changed based on the car they drove or the house they lived in?