Last week I attended a meeting with the director of social and digital communications for GM. As in General Motors.
Why was I invited to a meeting with a GM muckity muck? Because I am a BLOGGER, that’s why! I keep trying to tell you people that this is a job! Or at least a little part-time unpaid internship with no benefits that I can do while drunk or naked or both.
Anyway, the muckity-muck, whose actual name is Mary Henige, was talking to some bloggers about how her company used social media to bring GM back from the brink of an inconvenient death. I was included because I am considered a “mommy blogger,” and GM has reached out to consumers like me when spreading word of its resurgence. “Consumers like me” refers to women who wash their Prozac down with lattes.
Early on in the meeting, I asked an extremely pertinent question regarding Mary’s budget for advertising on personal blogs such as, say, mine. She politely – but quickly, as though she might have anticipated this very question – responded that she had no budget for such advertising, which was very disappointing to someone who has stopped buying her favorite brand of underwear (Jockey No Panty Line Promise Modal Bikini) so that she can pay a babysitter to watch her kids while she writes.
At that point I sort of mentally checked out of the discussion for a few minutes. Mary would say something that included the words Twitter, hits, and Very Positive Response, and I would say to myself, “I can’t believe we’re out of toilet paper again,” or “I wonder what’s in those pastries over there.”
But then Mary began describing how GM had started introducing its vehicles to moms, offering them test drives, then listening to their feedback and sometimes incorporating their ideas into GM products. And I thought, THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY! You are asking moms to help design minivans? I am totally IN! Because although I realize the Motorized Landfill does not define me, it nonetheless says a little something about me that I drive around in a vehicle that has lipstick stains on the ceiling, neon gum etched into the seat and enough trash accumulated on the floor that stuff falls out when I open the door at carline. Please note that I did not mention the roaches. We have gotten rid of the roaches.
I’ve thus been working hard to develop a list of attractive features that GM might consider incorporating into its next minivan design. I asked the children to assist. The Diva suggested the addition of a swimming pool and a bowling alley. I am not putting this on the list. But the Pterodactyl’s idea of the perfect vehicle was simpler: “It should be clean,” he said. This is definitely on the list.
So here is my Preliminary Report On Stuff To Add To Every Van, or as I like to call it, the PROSTATE-Van Project, to represent the fact that it’s mostly men who obsess about cars. See, GM, how I’m working with you, even designing a helpfully memorable acronym?
a. The swiftness with which Goldfish crumbs can invade every fiber of carpeting is one of the mysteries of automotive design. Vans should not have carpeting. The floors should be made of a substance that can be hosed down and drained. But also, the floor should have a built-in vacuum system that can be remotely ignited by the driver every time a handful of chips is dropped, thrown or pulverized by malevolent feet.
b. The installation of a trash compactor would help alleviate the need to clean out the car every five minutes. Although most moms do not allow their children to eat or drink in their vehicles….wait, let me pause….(BWAAAHAAAAHAAAHAA! Oh, man! That was a good one. Heehee. Sniff. Heehee. Whew.) Scratch that. Many moms teach their children balance and multi-tasking by allowing them to consume McDonald’s Happy Meals while traveling from gymnastics to the grocery to the liquor store. Inevitably, a French fry or 20 fall onto the seat and you see your 3-year-old chomping on it three days later. Having a centrally located trash compactor would encourage children to clean up after themselves, particularly if the machine could make some sort of monster noise when consuming the copious amounts of crap the children would feed it.
c. This is sort of a pipe dream, but a self-contained shower located above each seat could dramatically cut down on the drama associated with bath time.
a. Car seats are required by law for young children, so why not pre-install them? But you must make them impossible to unbuckle except by the driver. Furthermore, any efforts to unbuckle while driving should result in the offending child’s booty being pinched by a mechanical hand.
b. Driver distraction leads to a significant number of motor vehicle accidents. You could reduce the distraction factor by installing a screen between the front seat and the rest of the vehicle. That way, when the children are arguing about who has more imaginary Skittles, or who is a poopyhead and who is a PSSSHHHT!, the driver can conveniently remove herself from the situation, knowing the children are safely shackled (see above) into their car seats.
c. If someone other than the primary driver of the vehicle (the mom) takes it for a spin, that person (the husband) should only be allowed to drive for five miles before the vehicle automatically turns into a gas station and forces that person (the husband) to fill up the tank.
a. A refrigerator is so totally necessary. Make it solar-powered so we don’t have to feel guilty about it. And if you want us to sign an affidavit promising to never keep beer or wine in it, I for one will agree to that. No one says I have to comply.
b. I have five cup-holders in my front seat. It is not enough. I must have water, coffee, cell phone and a sippy cup within reach, plus places to put the old water, the old coffee and the old sippy cup. Right there that’s seven, and what if I have a front seat passenger?
c. How about a shoe rack?
a. Children would clamor for their parents to buy a vehicle that had sides made out of chalkboard material. How cool would that be? Plus it would offer the added convenience of being able to communicate to neighborhood residents without actually speaking to them. One message might read: SLOW THE FUCK DOWN, LOSER! HAVE A NICE DAY! : )
b. Please, please make the interior mirrors larger. And magnified. Mascara isn’t going to apply itself, sir. Or madam.
Thank you, GM, for your ongoing efforts to reach out to your customers and potential consumers. Please consider advertising with bloggers.
ps In the spirit of full disclosure, the Motorized Landfill is a Toyota Sienna. But it has 110,367 miles! I’m open to change!