Jun 19, 2009

Just Pretend the Bus Driver Is Your Chauffeur [Recessionomics]

The Way We Live Now: Holding a bus pass. Mercedes hasn't abandoned its luxury image. CEOs haven't abandoned their private planes. But you're riding the bus. Aren't you?

Some other car companies are trying to lure in broke, desperate customers with promises of savings and deals to refund money if they lose their jobs. Mercedes-Benz is taking a different tack: Selling their cars to rich people, as always. "I'd rather tell our brand story, our innovation story, our value story, than join the chorus of everyone else that's screaming ‘sale,'" explained a guy from Mercedes, while sitting in a Mercedes, which is what he drives, unlike you.

But whoa, even a Mercedes marketing manager is not as mighty as a CEO. A CEO spits on a marketing manager in a Benz. A CEO flies in a plane. A private plane. In fact, it turns out that:

Flight records show numerous occasions when banks receiving federal money have flown their planes to destinations near resorts or executives' vacation homes, including spots in Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, south Florida and Aspen, Colo. In some cases, it's clear that bank executives were traveling for personal reasons; for other flights, many of which were over weekends or holidays, the passengers and purpose couldn't be established.

It is the CEO's privilege, nay, right, is it not? It is. We tell you this information not to stoke the feeble-minded furnaces of class envy, but to give you something towards which to aspire.

You can aspire towards it while you ride the bus. The "new face" of bus travel is young, educated whites, the WSJ reports, and they've done everyone a favor by demanding clean buses and bigger seats and internet access. As the bus becomes a more acceptable mode of transportation for "briefcase-carrying travelers," everyone wins. The poor wretches get nicer buses. The young yuppies-to-be get wi-fi. The rich get more space on the roads and in the skies, as the riff-raff crowds together in Greyhound stations. And the briefcase carrier gets a long, soothing bus ride, to ponder what the fuck happened to his life.

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