At The Car Wash, Yeah!

*sigh* The car wash. I’ll be honest, it isn’t something I’ve thought much about in the 18 years I’ve been driving. Sure, I’d go maybe once, twice a year, when my car was particularly dirty. Especially if I had something important going on, or was taking a long trip. When I did go to the car wash, I usually went to the places where they would wipe out the inside of your car as well. Not detailing mind you, although I should have probably been getting my car detailed on occasion as well. Fast food is hard on your interior!

It’s not like I’m off-roading, or live in an area that’s particularly dusty. I’ve always had lighter colored cars, which tend not to show as much dust. I just wasn’t raised in an environment that washing the car was viewed as that important. I mean, it’s not like we drove around with filthy vehicles, the type where you can see “wash me” written in the grime. But we definitely weren’t the people lined up for their weekly car wash either.

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the construction business (heavy highway construction, no less), which is predominately a male industry. As such, vehicles are a big deal. Everyone assumes that what you drive says a lot about you. Which is weird, since 90% of the people I work with drive company vehicles. I mean, really?!? How much does a vehicle that you don’t own really say about you as a person? Even still, they’re all very particular about what they will, and will not, drive.

Our office is located near a concrete plant, which does create a good amount of dust. There are only 3 of us in the office who don’t have company cars. The expectation is that those who have a company vehicle will pay to keep it washed. After all, the company is paying for their car/truck (and gas), they should at least keep it presentable!

Every 2-3 months, my boss hands me a booklet for 6 free car washes. The first time she gave me one, she said the 3 of us would get them periodically, to help offset the expense of having to pay to have our cars washed every week. I’m sitting here with 8 car wash tickets in my purse, knowing that any day I’ll be handed a new booklet.

It’s a great perk, one that lots of people would love. I mean, they’re even upgraded washes! But it makes me uneasy. I hate the expectation behind it, that I should be getting my car washed on a weekly basis. I hate the hassle of making time to go. I feel like a fake, pulling my old Honda, with the rusty hole in the hood, through the car wash, as if I think removing some dust will somehow make it better. And, not that I’m some big environmentalist or anything, but I can’t help but thinking about all the water going to waste as my car gets pulled through the wash.

I feel bad not using them, and I’ve been trying to make more of an effort. My boyfriend tells me I’d care more if I had a newer car. I point out that I didn’t care 6 months ago when I was driving the Nissan. I’m just not a car wash kind of girl! It doesn’t bother me that other people value it. To each his own. I just see so much money swirling down the drain with those pretty pink and blue bubbles. It’s a waste on me.

But I guess it’s true in every job: If you’re going to work in that industry, you have to adapt to what is valued by the people in that industry. In my industry, people value vehicles. I’m not saying I need to drive something that my peers will approve. But at the very least I should make some effort to keep my ride dust free and shiny. Especially if the company is footing the bill.

What’s your feeling on car washes? Have you ever done something for work that to you seemed somewhat pointless, or unimportant?

– Cindy W.



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