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The Over-Improved (D-I-Y) Van Syndrome

Notice to readers: to find the information that used to be in the margin of my old layout, click on the three parallel lines in the upper right of this page.
I did a double-take when I biked by that van this morning. The lady of the house was resting in her bed, with the van's rear doors open to the glorious morning sun.

Rightly or wrongly, I tend to open conversations with mock-scolding about something that the other person is quite proud of. (On "paper" this approach would create an instant enemy. But in person, they can tell you are just funnin' them.)  In this case, the entire roof of a huge Mercedes Sprinter van was covered with solar panels. She got the joke, so we ended up with a nice conversation about their converted van.

It was a marvelous piece of D-I-Y work that they deserve to be proud of.  But, several times in the conversation, a yellow light started blinking in the back of my head.

I wondered how many of the converted vans or cargo trailers are over-improved. Don't tell me it doesn't really matter -- supposedly the person got suckered into the D-I-Y approach to save money, and they probably need to save money.

So why do they over-improve?
  1.   They have just watched 127 You Tubes with titles like, "My Over-the-Top, Out-of-the-Box Van conversion." Soon they see the commonalities, become bored with the common, and start yearning for some super-deluxe product or backyard-invention that the 'Joneses don't have.'  What difference does it make? They already 'saved a fortune' by not buying an RV from the dealer.
  2.   They don't see the conflict of interest in being influenced by a monetized blogger or You Tuber. (I am not demonizing them. The internet should be a part of the economy.) The conflict of interest is the same when you are taking advice from any commission-earning salesman on any purchase. But as long as the You Tuber has a winning personality and loyal following, everything they say must be gospel truth.
On and on it goes: MPPT solar controllers, AGM batteries -- now superseded by lithium batteries, floor coverings, industrial quality fuse or circuit breaker boxes, high power inverters, composting toilets, hot water on demand showers, induction stoves, expensive furnaces...

It's almost as if they are conflating a super-wonderful RV or van with a super-wonderful lifestyle. If so, that is no different that the psychological manipulation used by a motorhome dealer and the RV industry. 

But wait -- I thought that van campers were rebels as far as conventional bourgeois values are concerned? 

Wasn't Odysseus always running into a shape-shifting Athena or some malevolent god such as Poseidon? So it goes with the shape-shifting Rat Race, following along with modern van dweller.


  1. On No, someone has hacked you blog. Either that or you have Over Improved your old one!

    1. Not over-improved, just long overdue for a smartphone-era look. And it was free.

  2. Interesting new blog template. Thought I was on the wrong site for a minute. Looks good!

    1. As a tech-savvy, millennial hipster, I just can't put up with a circa 2010-era blog layout!


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