Pet Please #33: Odometer Benchmarks

The other day I happened to glance down at my Camry’s odometer when it flipped to 110,000. I was delighted. It’s like I got to witness some rare, important event, like a comet that only swings by Earth once.

And really, these odometer benchmarks are completely arbitrary (unless your warrantee runs out). It’s like New Year’s–flipping the calendar from December 31 to January 1 doesn’t change anything. But I think it seems important in cars because we consider our cars part of ourselves. They’re the friends that we get to be inside twice a day, every day. (Wait. That sounds really dirty.)

Wouldn’t it be cool if cars played you a little congratulatory jingle when you cross these thresholds? It’s like leveling up in a video game–you get to the 25,000 level and you get to unlock a new jingle (or even cooler, a new feature in the car). I bet people would drive their cars like crazy if you got to unlock little Easter eggs.

Of course, there would be a downside to that. I recently read about a system that either BMW or Mercedes tried out that pitted different drivers against one another for the best fuel efficiency. There was a leaderboard for all drivers who were a part of this game. Technically, the game worked–fuel efficiency skyrocketed. But the drivers were so motivated by the game that they started to drive in really unsafe ways. They’d coast into red lights just so they wouldn’t have to bring the car to a full stop. They’d draft behind other cars on the highway. Things like that.

So an odometer-related game might not be a great idea. After all, I already feel like I win when I witness a new odometer benchmark. Next up: 111,111!

Daily Quickie: For chili at a friend’s house tonight, I was offered a big spoon or a little spoon. I didn’t know other people thought about spoons this way. Slow eater that I am, I’m a little spoon kind of guy. What about you?