We used to call them “windshield cowboys.” You know, the type that looked like he or she was more comfortable driving a lifted 4 x 4 than riding a horse. In fact, they looked like they had never been on a horse. They’re called lifestyle pickups now.
Former Mexico President Vicente Fox once said it about President George Bush. “He drives very well, but I don’t think he rides horses very well,” Fox said.
They had the western-cut shirts, cowboy boots, Levi jeans, and that pickup truck. The only other thing they needed was a shotgun and to have a cow magically appear for them to rope in front of admiring passersby.
Did Urban Cowboy start all of this?
It was from the time when Urban Cowboy and line-dancing made everything Texas popular. With the popularity came cowboy self- actualization; crafting a personal vision for the person you’re becoming. In this case, emulating the cowboy/Texas look. Or lifestyle.
That’s what buying a pickup truck in the middle of Chicago is called these days. Your pickup purchase was motivated by your desire to live the lifestyle of an outdoorsman that rides horses, ropes cattle, and lives life to the fullest. Or maybe it goes back to that John Travolta movie with his thumbs in his belt and his cowboy boots strutting around the dance hall.
From transportation to a “personal vision.”
How does a vehicle purchase go from being transportation to being about defining a “personal vision?” We as humans have a certain hierarchy of needs. After the necessities of physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, then much more different needs kick in. These are social, esteem, and finally, self-actualization needs. They may not be conscious directives, but all of them come into play.
But there’s more to it than those simple hierarchical motivations. Buying that blue pickup truck satisfies ambitions and brings social approval. This could be from friends or complete strangers. Approval through friendly comments or a thumbs up from a stranger on Electric Avenue reinforces your choice. This purchase defines the cowboy you.
Pickups are an American creation.
Pickup trucks are completely an American creation. It’s like country- western music. Or, the blues. Totally indigenous to America. There’s nothing else like it in the world.
There are also the physical properties that make a pickup truck appealing. Driving higher give a better sense of control and vision. Being up high just gives you more ability to see your surroundings.
As trucks are larger than cars, you also become more visible. You and your pickup just seem larger than someone in their Fiat 500. Your truck is, but you’re not. But it seems like you are.
Finally, larger vehicles have more room. You can stretch out in a pickup. And you’re more likely to survive a collision because you have more sheetmetal protecting you. Obviously, this is much more practical motivation. But, it’s a fact and it’s real.
You’re getting a pickup for its practical benefits.
Do you need a pickup truck? Probably not, unless you need one as a work truck. But throwing out all of those physiological cues, cognitive arousal, and motivational theories; you’re buying a pickup truck because of its practical benefits, right? Right.