The truth about men and shopping.

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It’s the most horrible time of the year.  No, not the holidays, shopping season.  The time of the year that man will go all out to avoid. Don’t believe me?  Then why is hunting season happening at the same time?  Do you really think men everywhere are trudging through the rain, mud, or snow for a chance to bring home an animal strapped to their fender?  Heck no.  They could easily accomplish the same feat by stopping by a frat house on any given weekend.  Sure, there are some dyed in the wool hunters out there (the 1%) but most are sitting snugly in their cabins, watching TV while chugging a beer and congratulating themselves on successfully avoiding holiday shopping.

Yes it’s that bad!

The last thing a man wants to do is walk for hours going to stores and seeing nothing that interests them.  Having to pick out gifts for the kids, parents, in laws, out laws, Dave and Darla, Mike and Tim, and Benny and Joon is bad enough, but there is nothing in these stores to distract us or, more importantly, get us to buy something.

Have you looked at the “Men’s section” in any given store?  Can you even find it?  Usually it’s this postage stamp sized square tucked away in a dark corner.  The choices are so limited that the men look at the kids section with envy.  And why not?  It’s five times the size!

The marketing department of these stores will tell you that men just don’t like to shop.  They are “Hunters” that like to get in, “kill their prey”, and get out.  Men don’t want to be in the store for more than five minutes.

Women, on the other hand, love to shop.  They stroll from aisle to aisle, flitting to and fro from jewelry to shoes to clothing to housewares.  Women will spend hours browsing the wares.  (It was stated that the average female shopper at one home goods store spent, on average, four hours shopping around.)

This is complete garbage.  My case in point?  BASS Pro, REI, and Cabellas.  Turn a man loose in one of these and watch.  You will be amazed at how the person who would almost chew his arm off to get out of a store will now buzz around like a bee and hit every section and stand in that building.

T-Shirts?  Check

Flannels?  Check

Hats, jackets, gloves?  Check

Shoes and boots?  Look at them go!  (Sorry, no “cute”.  No shoes are cute.)

Fishing, camping, bar b que?  Definitely!

Guns and knives?  View from afar and I bet they go there.  “Hey, that’s the gun from ‘Avengers’.” Or “Now that’s a knife!”

Boats and ATVs?  “Honey it’s time to go.  They’re closing the store.  Get off!”

Getting a man to shop is not hard.  You just have to have things they want.  Just like they do for women.

My advice for any woman out there that has a man that hates shopping, find a store they like (outdoors, shaving, hardware, electronic, whatever) and take them there during the trip.  They’re spending pretty much the entire day looking at things not catered for them.  They’ve earned it.

How to make the used family sedan cool

Photo by Edmunds.com

They drone silently along, dutifully performing their tasks with little to no fanfare.  Filling our roads, they perform flawlessly with all the romance of a toaster.  They are the family sedan.

Emblazed in colors of grey, white, or beige, these four door sedans are the wallflowers of the car culture.  Steady, secure, reliable, they are always there but stand in the garage when the dance of the road calls.

When it comes time to sell them, they are often the last choice, relegated to the crowds of minivans and grandpa mobiles.

Clearly the family sedan is in desperate need of a cultural makeover, but what to do?  There’s no throaty V-8 or high revving turbo to bring out the gear heads.  The street racer/drifter crowds have already picked out the econohatches as the build material of choice.  Autocrosses often feature two seat sports cars.  What niche can the sturdy family sedan stand out in?

Can anyone say rally?

photo by autoconception.com

Rally racing is that wonderfully hyper sport where drivers hurl their cars along at blinding speeds while the navigator yells out what blind turn is coming up next.

 

photo by hemmings.com

 

Here is a chance for the family sedan to finally shine.  These empty logging and mining roads can provide the stage to flaunt the abilities of both driver and machine.

The buildup can be affordable, too.  Just rip out the rear seat, throw in a roll cage and safety fuel cell, wear the standard racing helmet and suit, and you are ready to go!  The cost of the cars themselves is relatively cheap.  I’ve seen an incredible variety of cars in the $1,000 to $2,000 range.  (To help insure an entry level into this sport once it explodes into the mainstream, a stock class would be institutionalized that would limit the upper purchase price of the car and also limit the modifications to standard oem size shocks, brakes, fog lights, and mud and snow tires.  No engine, transmission, or drive train modifications allowed.  (No turning a front wheel drive car into a four wheeled drive car now.)

 

All cars must be street legal.  You have to be able to show off your race creds on the way to work now.

The classes are simple:

Stock or modified.

Rear – Front – All wheel drive

Four cylinder or six

Station wagons can compete alongside sedans in their perspective class unless there are enough entered to form their own class.  (Roughly five or more)

The cars allowed into this new racing:

Honda Accord

Chevrolet Malibu

Toyota Camry

Ford Contour

Dodge Stratus

Mazda 626

Nissan Altima

Subaru Legacy   (The Outback models should be in their own class or up against anyone who finds a Volvo Crosstrek or Audi in that price range.  [Verifiable proof of price will be needed.])

Hyundai, Kia, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, any car within that general size is allowed to race.  (The first person to rally a Jaguar X type will become my personal hero.)

photo from road and track magazine

No longer are these cars chained to the dull daily driving on the timid tarmac.  They are now free to leap in the crisp air as they bound through countryside, singing their engines as loud as their mufflers allow.  (Well, at least until an errant rock or hard landing jettisons it.)

This class of rally car (AS for class A – Sedan) will pull the family sedan off the wall and into the spotlight.

Tell anyone who’s curious that it kicks.