No doubt, the 90's birthed the era of the minivan phenomenon. At that time, the minivan was the most sought after automobile for moms everywhere, and I was no exception.
As the popularity of the minivan grew, I was determined that I could not, would not be persuaded or affected by the advertising industry. I was an independent thinker and believed my purchasing habits and decisions were solely my own. In my mind, I had perfected bargain shopping, embraced the gift of haggling and even strategically participated in re-gifting. (Yes, dear friends, now you know.)
1997, I remember it well. That was the year that I subconsciously succumbed to the hype of an advertisement, and without much hesitation, purchased a forest green mini-van, complete with sliding doors on each side.
Unbeknownst to me, this vehicle would change my life....and the way my life was viewed by others! Throughout history, there has never been a vehicle that has stereotyped its' owner quite as effectively as the mini-van.
Within a few short months, the silent metamorphosis had begun. I hardly recognized myself. I had become the epitome of domesticity. How could this have happened to ME? After-all, I grew up during the late seventies, chanting women's lib mantras and refusing to make coffee as part of my job description!
Yet, somehow I changed. Behind the steering wheel of a mini-van, I reeked of the word MOM. I soon discovered that a minivan is a vehicle that is constantly traveling without ever really identifying a true destination.
Minivan mamas could typically be described as coupon clipping, financially challenged, laundry sorting, meal preparing females who proudly displayed stick family, honor student and band decals on the rear window.
While most minivans could seat seven people, that just wasn't enough! Minivan mamas always seemed to add passengers, not through labor and delivery, but via pick up. Minivan mamas would often moonlight as transportation liaisons for school activities. Yes, minivan mamas could often be heard yelling, "Don't make me pull this van over..........", from the front windows that were always rolled down for some reason.
Minivans were, and I guess still are, a modern day "Let's Make a Deal" caddy on wheels. Through the tinted back glass, an array of "necessary" items lined the cargo space. These items often included but were not limited to: Sports equipment, instruments, bicycles, strollers, diaper bags, groceries, lawn chairs, stuffed animals, blankets, snacks, books, umbrellas and so-on.
Beyond the obvious, I think the most amazing transformation was the persona transfer that continued outside the vehicle. Minivan mamas could typically be spotted at the area discount store, sporting a hurried look, wrinkled brow, dressed in sweat pants or jeans, no brand name tennis shoes, make-up free, have at least two children tagging along and always had keys in hand at the register.
Time passes quickly and the heyday popularity of the mini-van has since been replaced by the SUV. It's all in the advertising, and I am a firm believer that the advertising industry failed to expand upon the minivan's greatest attraction! The secret golden egg mystery of minivan advertising continues to be the little known fact that 16 year old's would rather walk to school than drive a minivan! Now THAT’S an advertising concept!