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Los Alamos mom logs first-world problem at 8:04 am Mountain Time


It all happened when I was driving my kids to school. As usual, there was the normal kerfuffle of getting the kids dressed and into the car. One way that I make the transition between getting dressed and ready and actually getting into the house is by handing the keys to one of my kids and asking them to get in the car. My short-term parenting goal is that they will start the process of defrosting it and possibly scrape the windshield. Either way, we travel as a herd and so if one of us leaves the house and enters the car, the others will soon follow. Everything was going great until I dropped off my son at school. The moment he left the car I got a message on my dashboard. "Access key not detected". He had my key in his pocket! The amusing part that was that even though I didn't have my "key" I was still able to drive my other kids to school and circle back without really missing a beat. Shoot, technically I could probably get away with letting him walk around all day with the key fob because there is a phone app that will open the door and start the car from anywhere. When I bought my new Subaru Ascent, they made a huge deal out of this newfangled key fob. The technology in the Ascent is so advanced that keys are now obsolete. Maybe these semi-necessary key fobs are standard for all new cars and trucks these days. I am not sure, because my car shopping trip was pretty quick because I bought the Ascent and the amazing key fob right away, without looking at any other cars. Was it because I was so razzle dazzled by the key fob? In How to Write a Good Advertisement, Victor Schwab explains that one of the ways you can provide "proof" is to zero in on a detail that no one else has seen or talked about. That may have been a factor when I bought my keyless-19-cup-holders-on-wheels. There were certainly plenty of reasons to buy the Ascent, other than the random key fob. But I noticed that the car salesman made a point to draw my attention to it several times during the test drive The sales guy was certainly drawing my attention to the key fob when I went for a test drive. But it's not like I was looking for that particular feature. I would like to explain what was going on for me though. Unlike most car buyers, I had no idea what I wanted to get. I knew I wanted to buy a new car, but literally woke up that morning undecided on what to get. This is probably the reason that it took me so long to get something new in the first place. I just didn't have a favorite model and wasn't sure how to go about narrowing it down. Although I didn't have a preference, I did have a list of problems I needed to solve. I wanted to replace the Toyota Carolla that I had been driving. It was getting old and impossible to keep clean. My kids were fighting whenever we got in there, because there wasn't enough room for the kids, the dog, their stuff, occasional laundry deliveries for Los Alamos Laundry, least of all guests or friends. While I don't necessarily think of myself as someone who wants to drive a car to impress others, lately other people in my life were making comments about the car that I was driving... that it wasn't clean or safe or it was lacking in some other way. I loved that the Ascent had all the features that I needed (like 7 seats and 19 cupholders) and some features that I didn't think I needed (like a fob that would allow me to drive even without a key). I was tickled that getting this car allowed me to rise above all the complaints, criticisms and put downs that were bogging me down because of my old car. In general, I wanted something with enough seats to get around comfortably and I also wanted to impress my friends and kids while vanquishing my haters. I mean, it has so many safety features that it really keeps you in line. What does any of that have to do with the key fob? I haven't the foggiest, other than when I was looking at it for the first time it stopped me in my tracks and made me think...


"This is going to be WAY different than anything I have driven in the past. I'd better pay attention." A neuroscientist would probably explain it by saying that when a human sees something new, their brain revs up and they start exploring their environment looking for more rewarding things. The key fob put me into exploring mode and after a thorough examination, we bought it. I was really excited to show off the Ascent to the kids. And naturally, one of them asked me why I didn't buy a "lambo". Maybe if it had seven seats, I would consider it. But this car freakishly fit all my requirements and just fit me perfectly in terms of being exactly what I want right now. Whenever I buy something big, it makes me think about sales letters. In the past few weeks, I've been studying sales letters with more intensity because I'm going through David Garfinkel's professional copywriting mentoring program. It's definitely one of those experiences that takes up a lot of time and effort, reading and talking about what makes sales letters work. (When I bought my car, I enjoyed the sensation of being swept into the sales process... it was very meta). You might be wondering how my mentoring sessions will affect your life. It can improve your life if you hire me to write a sales letter, because you will make more money.






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