Tag Archives: prius

Let’s Get Small-er

by Sally Applin

As the ration world from WWII subsided, a new generation of Americans travelled overseas. Many of them visited Europe. Upon their return, they would complain about the “smaller” portions of food, the tiny cars, and tiny living spaces. They didn’t understand the value of “small.” After all, they came from America where: Bigger is Better!

WIth the gas prices and the associated issues related to them (food and consumer goods costs, etc.), I think that Steve Martin’s 1977 idea of “Let’s Get Small” might befit us as a new slogan. 

Steve said, “Let’s get small while driving.” We’re starting to do that. I haven’t seen a Hummer on the road around here in months and it seems that more and more cars on the road are mileage conscious. The waiting list for the Prius in San Francisco is over 200 people long.

How else would “Let’s Get Small-er” apply to us? Let’s live in smaller, more energy efficient homes! Let’s eat food that is local! Let’s eat less of it! Let’s make ourselves smaller!

In technology, the trend seems to be “Let’s Get Small-er” as well. Nanotechnology? Small. Web applications running on phones? Small. Micro loans? Small. Even Girl Talk, that I wrote about previously is sampled from: small clips of other music. Girl Talk? Small.

Small things add up to savings in money, resources and in general–well, bigger things.  Bigger compositions like Girl Talk, bigger savings, bigger impacts overall.

Trend: “Let’s Get Smaller!” Its Bigger!

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

Trading Down

by Sally Applin

I think there is a trend undercurrent going on. I’m in it though, so it makes it more difficult to write about. Its also on the cusp, so not quite yet defined.

It goes something like this:

It feels, at least here in Silcon Valley, that there is some sort of _shift_ happening. I noticed it when I was out of the country for a month or so earlier in the year. Its this transition–from bags being given out at the store, to bags that one brings to reuse; from high end luxury cars, to small gas saving vehicles; from opulence to reduction.

In the New York Times today there was an article on one of the women who had been a founder of the Kate Spade line of fashion merchandise. The company was subsequently sold, and this person is now semi-retired, living with her three or so kids in a 4 million dollar New York townhouse. What is interesting about it, is the return to ruin of her style. She covered her antique sofas in white muslin and invited her children and their friends to draw on them–she painted dried twigs and strung them with Christmas lights to make lighting for her main rooms and used very cheap sconces from a local shop for her stairway lighting. Stacked vintage luggage serves as a bedside table. Her whole home seemed to be decorated in, and functioning as a “reuse, recycle” sort of home, not the showpiece architect designed sample of perfection, which so many aspire to, and which she herself lived in with her husband (now-divorced) several years prior.

Another article, also in the Times, focused on how even those with private jets are “sharing” them with friends, as one would share a taxi ride uptown.

Okay, admittedly these are very high-end examples.

To put my finger on it, it seems that priorities are shifting which in turn are changing some internal values. The economy has got to be a factor, but its also as if the neighborhood collectively woke up one morning and decided that they had entirely too many possessions and weren’t being smart about how they were using what they had.

Trend: not sure what it is, but it feels like there is some sort of values resorting going on…

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.


by Sally Applin

Sunbathing used to be encouraged as “healthy” — soaking up the rays to gain that glow. SUV’s were encouraged too–“Safer”! “Bigger”! etc.. but they soaked up the fuel as we used to soak up the rays and now the planet has less oil –and those of us who used to sunbathe have less healthy skin.

For sunbathing, the trend moved to spray and self-tanners, and sunscreens that block the rays.

For SUV’s, the trend is: over. People are giving up BIG cars. The new status must have car is the Prius. Besides being one of the choices for fuel efficiency, a side benefit is that they flatten the status hierarchy. All of a sudden those luxury and/or big car people, in an effort to save on the fuel, are buying the Prius, as well as those concerned about the environment. This could indicate the end of car/driver elitism.

However, its likely to be replaced with the smugness that goes along with the status of having one. Procuring a Prius these days is like finding cheap gas. Waiting lists are at least 50-100+ people long for about 10 car allocations every 2 weeks to the dealers. Cars are full price, or marked up a bit or a lot, and the used ones for sale, even a few years old are selling for what a new one does because they are available with no waiting list, and more exclusively, they have the “access” stickers that allow for a single person in the carpool lane, which is no longer available.

The trend: status is shifting. From brand values, to mobility and access.

It kind of makes me want to sun myself at the beach…if I only had a Prius to get me there….

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.