The gravel is always grayer


Don’t be pressured to purchase by the snobby world around you

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. Sept 10, 2015

I won’t do it. I won’t spend eight hours a day, 251 days a year working to buy an expensive car or a fancy-ass watch or anything that I don’t need. I won’t do it to impress an employer, I won’t do it to impress friends, and I won’t do it to impress family. Life is so much more than being frivolous. Even if I am wealthy, I will not blow my paycheque on items that are supposed to catapult me to the next social class. Fuck that!

Today everyone is a connoisseur of some sort. Fashion, food, drinks, and so on. Everybody thinks they are experts at something and therefore are encouraged—nay, expected—to judge it. This type of snobbery extends from music, to food, to transportation, to neighbourhoods.

We have all behaved like snobs at one point or another. Most of us don’t even notice it. The reason is that we all have our own interests, and we live in a democracy where many around us don’t share those same values. Someone who is interested in beer and wine would know the lengthy details of how the drinks are produced, and which are “better.” Someone who is interested in cars would tell you that he or she would never go back to driving anything with a six-cylinder inline engine after leasing a vehicle equipped with a V6. Some who are interested in luxury handbags would tell you that it is so much more than a container for make-up products; it’s a statement on the social climate. I get it. We all have our things.

Learn to tell the difference between good and bad of course, but stop yourself from trying to discover good from great. Great is not that great. Great does not make you happy. Great is meaningless luxury. Great can be sustenance, yes, but it is also wasteful. Great is a lie you tell yourself so that you don’t feel bad paying double for a bottle of wine or a pair of shoes or a meal.

Having a palette for good things and appreciating them is much healthier than constantly demanding the finest. You deserve to be happy, but if happiness is having the best things in the world, you are just getting ripped off, my friend.

“Don’t be pressured into doing something you don’t want to do.” I feel like an elementary teacher told me this, but it was probably some television PSA I saw. Nevertheless, that statement stuck with me. But I don’t live by it. I do many things that I don’t want to do. I don’t like cleaning, but I do it. I don’t like waiting in long line-ups, but I wait. I don’t like paying taxes, but I have to. That’s just life. However, what I can control is what I want to spend my money on and I don’t have to spend it on what you want me to spend it on.

Unhaggle | How to Decide Which Car Features You Want vs. Need

Posted by  | February 12, 2014 |
Ghost written by Elliot Chan.
car-safety-featuresOil slicks, ejector seats and rocket boosts may not be practical car features in the real world, but there are other unnecessary additions you’ll want to look out for as well. Manufactures and dealers will try to up sell and install luxury and impractical features that will end up increasing your budget, becoming useless in the long-term and may even hinder your vehicle’s capability and resale value. Yes, life’s greatest struggle is trying to determine what you really want and what you actually need. And same applies to car features.If you have purchased a car before, you probably have a good idea about your habits behind the wheel. You know what makes you comfortable and secure. You might have also been a passenger inside a friend’s vehicle where you saw all the cool toggles and switches on their dashboard and thought – my next car will have those things. But not so fast, let’s not succumb to peer pressure or cheap sales tactics. Take a moment to determine what you really need!

What You Need

Standard safety features

Safety is paramount, especially while driving. Most cars come with standard features such as seatbelts, airbags and antilock brakes. But you should also consider investing in a few additional features to increase your vehicle’s accountability on the road.

Electronic stability/skid-control system

Electronic stability/skid-control system (ESC system) helps you cope with those scary moments when your tires lose traction and/or control on slippery roads. ESC system operates through sensors in the car (like a wheel speed sensor, steering sensor and yaw-rate sensor). These sensors understand how fast and in which direction your car is going. If a skid should occur, ESC system recognizes it and implements the necessary braking systems to help the car and yourself recover. Less panic means a safer ride.

Blind spot detection system

Blind spot detection system (BSD system) may save your life. There are other people on the road and the BSD system reminds us of them. On highways, busy urban streets or cramp parking lots, other vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians may cross our paths without us knowing. The BSD system alerts us with a flashing light, a beeping sound and/or vibration before we accidentally collide with anything.

Physical knobs and buttons

Physical knobs and buttons on a dashboard and steering wheel save us from distractions. In a world where everything is interactive, all we really need are a few buttons and knobs to get the job done. Adjusting temperature and radio station is just easier when you can just remember where the buttons are, instead of scanning a touch screen for an image of a button. Physical buttons and knobs also allow you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

What You Want

GPS navigation system and Bluetooth

GPS navigation system and Bluetooth are quickly becoming standards in cars. If it’s not included, you should definitely resist — because if your car doesn’t come with those features, your smartphone does.

Touchless or foot-operated liftgate

Touchless or foot-operated liftgate is an absolute luxury. I too had my hands full of groceries from the checkout to my car. I place the bags down and open the door, a slight inconvenience, but far from a hassle. To classify this as a necessity is to say a chauffeur and a butler are also a necessary.

Backup camera

Backup camera is new technology that is still being opposed and advocated for. But when it comes to tight driving situations, every new innovation helps. Backup camera acts as another rear view mirror for your vehicle and should be relied on in the same fashion. That being said, backup cameras may help, but what matters more is responsible and safe driving. Backing up without rear ending someone shouldn’t be a challenge – it’s basic driving.

Automatic headlights

Automatic headlights light the way for us without a reminder. But anything that nurtures your indolence can’t be a good thing, right? Sure automatic headlights might help you save battery life, but the automatic headlights are not driving your car – you are. You should figure out when to turn on or off the lights, not some sensory headlamp. You wouldn’t trust an automatic oven to turn off when you leave the house, would you?

Automatic seat temperature control and memory seats bring a bit of comfort to your drive, but comfort is always something you’ll have to put a price on. I recommend heated and memory seats, like I would recommend a cherry on top of your sundae. For example, the 2014 Ford Fiesta optional features include a comfort package at approximately $290. Something to consider.