Posted by: Jack | October 15, 2007

Watch Out

As of today I’ve decided to start letting people and companies know what I think about them. Sure I put down my complaints and recommendations on this blog now and again…and again, but I have to assume that those reviews rarely reach those who need to read them most.

Moments ago I sent a letter off to Subaru. I’ve been a Subaru owner for over five years now and have been entirely satisfied with every aspect of the vehicle’s performance save for one.

When I bought the car five years ago I was a very different person. When I began shopping for a car I wanted something that would last; something that I would enjoy driving; something that I would take pride in driving. When I read that the car I wanted had a fuel economy that was by no means impressive, I figured that it wouldn’t be a big deal. Gasoline wasn’t that expensive at the time.

Things have changed in five years. I took a trip touring most of the western states this past March visiting eight national parks over a period of fifteen days. Despite all the amazing experiences I had, the only part that really cost any significant amount of money was also the least enjoyable part of the trip; driving the many miles from park to park. In fact, it made up over 75% of the total cost. I used to like driving a lot more, but at about $10/hour, the enjoyment has been outweighed.

Now I’m not blaming Subaru for gasoline prices. And I’m not really complaining about the car they sold me. It’s not like there weren’t other options available. But, if I were to buy a new car today, it would not be a Subaru.

I’m distraught and even embarrassed when I hear that my friend drives a Nissan Sentra which gets double the fuel efficiency of my car. I almost feel cheated, knowing that his Sentra is a 1987. Sure my car performs better and has a bit more weight to haul around but consider the technological advancements that occurred between the years 1987 and 2002. Even if those in the field of fuel efficiency were not that significant, I would hope that modern vehicles could at least achieve comparable mileages to those of twenty years ago.

Two things pushed me over the edge and left me needing to contact Subaru about my grievances. The first is that upon viewing Subaru’s advertisements, it is clear that they are targeting outdoor-enthusiasts. The vehicles in ads are always packed with sporting gear and the driver’s are rarely seen in business attire, rather they are decked out in the latest technical wear. Without citing reference, I can confidently claim that outdoor-enthusiasts generally have a greater appreciation for their environment as it is a crucial aspect in their recreation. So it’s baffling that Subaru does not make a point of developing vehicles which reduce the negative impact resulting from their use.

The second straw which crushed the camel’s kidneys and liver (it’s back was already broken by the above straw) arose when I checked, hours ago, to see if this year’s version of my car showed any improvement in fuel efficiency. When I found the specs I had to go back and confirm those of my car. I cannot begin to imagine why, but not only has the newer model failed to improve its efficiency; it’s actually decreased by about eight percent.

I closed my letter to Subaru with a number of questions regarding what plans, if any, are in place to make improvements in their product’s fuel efficiency. I am quite eager to hear back and then, most likely, write another letter.

Next up is a letter to my soon-to-be past-employer, the Red Lion Hotel, confronting their complete disregard for recycling. You can’t imagine how much glass, aluminum, tin and plastic a hotel and restaurant run through; and at the Red Lion no recycle bins are even available for the employees who would be more than happy to separate these items.

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