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Are “status” decals on your car cool…or not?

You know the decals I’m talking about…the ones that people put on their cars to let you know either where they go on vacation or how great their lives are at the present time.

To me, they’re a little like boastful Facebook status updates…a sneaky way to brag about what you’ve got. And that’s the issue I have with these types of stickers.

Because when we boast, it inevitably makes those who either 1) can’t afford to take their family to the beach on a regular basis, or 2) have been unable to have kids, or 3) are in the middle of a life crisis and right now, life is anything but good, feel badly…and that ain’t cool. But somehow, these decals have made it acceptable.

In my neck of the woods there are a lot of OBX (Outer Banks) and HHI (Hilton Head Island) stickers and a steadily growing number of those little stick figures that’ll tell you exactly what kind of family is riding in the car ahead of you. There’s usually a mom, a dad, two or three kids, and, of course, a dog. And don’t forget about all of that “Life is Good” merchandise. Because God knows life is never “just okay”, or “has been better”, or “is freakin’ killing me right now.”

Sometimes, when I’m stuck behind a car plastered with status decals, I try to imagine what they’re trying to say. It usually goes something like this:

“We go to an upscale beach community in our free time, just in case you wanted to how fortunate we are and how much disposable income we have.” or,

“We have such a perfectly complete family. We have a perfect little mommy, a perfect little daddy, two perfect little kids, and a perfect little pooch…it’s all just perfectly perfect.” or,

“My life is so great that I want to scream it from the mountain tops! Life is good! Life is good! You know, just in case you wanted to know how good my life really is.”


Now, everyone has a right to decorate their vehicles in any manner they see fit, and I’ll admit, car decals aren’t really that important and they’re definitely not worth getting worked up about. This is just an observation from one trying-to-be-cool broad who sometimes has a tendency to overthink.

But it WOULD be kind of funny to find some alternative decals to counterbalance all of the Stepford-like standard ones.

Like maybe a stick figure husband running off with another stick-figure woman, leaving the stick-figure kids and dog behind. Or the stick figure teenage daughter who has multiple piercings and while we’re at it is about 5 months pregnant. Or, instead of an OBX sticker, sport a decal that’ll tell everyone that when you manage to snag a little free time from one of the three jobs you hold down, you pitch a tent DBTR – Down By the River.

And when you’re done telling me how I should get a life, check out this link. It’s for a company who makes t-shirts that say, “Life is Crap.” Because sometimes, if we’re being honest, that’s exactly what it is:)


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Tags: attitude · observations

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19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Woody // Sep 18, 2008 at 7:54 am

    I have a Life Is Crap t-shirt – It has a picture of ice cream with the caption “Want to” and a picture of a bunch of carrots with the caption “Have to”!! I always get a lot of laughs and “where did you find that” comments when I wear it!

  • 2 Ashleigh // Sep 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

    We have a lot of those where I live and to me, it seems they are overcompensating for a family that is, in reality, normal like everyone else. They can’t, however, fathom having a normal family and have to keep up with the Joneses so they plaster boastful (not to mention tacky) stickers depicting what appears to be a perfect life. Perhaps they are unhappy and imperfect on the inside and feel if they portray themselves as happy and perfect on the outside, no one will see through them. I almost feel sorry for them. Almost . . .

  • 3 Rob O. // Sep 18, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I suppose they’ve mostly innocent, but I do get why they would come across as arrogant.

    Ya gotta wonder if those stickers aren’t more than a little likely to become magnets for carjackers or mobile audio thieves – after all, they can imply a certain level of affluence.

    The sticker I have on the back of my car, however, just advertises how cool I am…

  • 4 Rob O. // Sep 18, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Ooops, here it is:

  • 5 thatcoolbroad // Sep 18, 2008 at 9:49 am

    @ Rob O.

    I don’t know what’s cooler, your sticker, or the fact that you drive an Element! Love it!

  • 6 Tricia // Sep 18, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I’d never thought about the stickers that way. I always just think…how the heck do they get those things off. I think you should drive around with a A Cool Broad sticker…now that sounds perfectly perfect to me.

  • 7 Stacy // Sep 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I used to have a ‘fat people are harder to kidnap’ bumper sticker on the back of my Cors (I got in a wreck and the ‘ica’ got scrapped off the side). The trunk in that thing was huge.
    I don’t think that counts, though.

  • 8 mommypie // Sep 19, 2008 at 3:38 am

    In my experience, the Overboasters? Usually not as happy as they want everyone to believe.

    Trying just a leettle too hard, you know?

  • 9 Keely // Sep 19, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Hm, those aren’t particularly prevalent around here. Probably because there is NOWHERE cool within 1500kms, so if families vacation there, they don’t drive.

    But I work for a signage company and I can make those status thingies. I sense a niche market. Can you fit stick figures of ‘blended family of 7 with 3 reptiles, 1 pregnant cat, a teen on coke, 2 kids on ADHD meds and a live-in roomate to help pay the mortgage’ all onto one rear window?

  • 10 thatcoolbroad // Sep 19, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    @ keely

    Definitely a business opportunity! Print some out and throw them up on your blog. I’d be your first customer!

  • 11 Emily // Sep 19, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    I’m loving the alternative suggestions. To be honest whenever I see those stickers I always think: 1 dad who works a lot and is never home, 1 mommy who drinks too much and never signed up for this actually-single-parent thing, 1 son who tortures cats in his spare time and 1 daughter trying to sleep with her entire class at school, 1 dog thats STILL not house trained and a yowling cat. 😉 No those are stickers I would love to see!

  • 12 Carmina // Sep 20, 2008 at 10:02 am

    I thought I was the only person who also thought the same as you. It’s like they want to portray that everything is so great for them- perfect family, perfect kids etc. So they put a sticker on their car to let everyone know what they wish to portray as the truth. Like, its not enough to be happy and content. They have to put a sticker on their car to validate their life, almost like trying to keep up with the jones’.

  • 13 Charlene // Sep 21, 2008 at 11:57 am

    In our area I mostly see them on minivans or huge SUVs and there are always 4+ kids. Kind of like the mom having to explain why she drives an uncool minivan (though every time I’m actually inside of one they are so roomy, I think to myself, I kind of want one) or why she is driving something the size of a small apartment around town killing the environment and taking up too many parking spaces.

  • 14 Monkeytoemomma // Sep 22, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I usually don’t notice them. Although, I have to say that I think the stick figure family one is cute (as long as they are small and not taking up the whole window like that one). Stop! Don’t throw rocks at me!

    Personally, I don’t stick anything on my car – I just drive it. And, if I’m going to be completely honest, I think it’s ostentatious to drive a BMW or Mercedes when it’s just a car. It gets you from point A to B.

  • 15 jenny // Sep 22, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    DBTR? HA! Then your eyes get assaulted by those fake, ummm “man parts”, dangling from all of the trailer hitches. (google search this at your own peril, you’ve been warned…seriously!) The scary part is that these guys may very well become decal people one day.

  • 16 jenn // Oct 5, 2008 at 2:04 pm You just spoke my freakin mind, things like this have been on my last nerve for the last few months, and maybe it is because I am going through a hard time, but even when my life seems to be on the right track, I dont feel the need to blast it to complete strangers..I mean wtf do they care about my life anyway?

  • 17 Heather // Oct 14, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Its funny – I saw one of those stick figures things today and they showed a mom, dad, four kids, two dogs and a cat. It basically took up the entire rear window. And don’t forget the personalized address labels that show the same family stick figures…does the post office have a limit as to how large your address label can become? I suppose it will only be a concern when it outweighs the letter itself and adds to the postage…

    Heathers last blog post..Jumpers

  • 18 gavintiegirl // Dec 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I am aware of the decals you mention and I have to admit I have seen them, but I hardly ever really notice them. And, I have never really put much thought into why some people enjoy using their cars as mobile advertisements for their likes and dislikes. Some people love to do that and others, not so much. To each his own – right? I do get why you think it is annoying, but look at it this way; most people are not honest with themselves let alone with others. I don’t know the percentage so I won’t pretend to know, but a good percentage of people are just not truthful at all, not with themselves, not with their family or their friends. They live a complete lie and part of that lie is to pretend that participating in the purchasing of decals and driving around with them on their cars is their way of being a part of society and participating. I would imagine that the people who do that sort of thing are either very over friendly people to the point of annoying or very shy, but nowhere in the middle. Now, regarding the Life is Good stickers and whatnots. I get your frustration with that as well and I agree for the most part. That too can be a lie, but perhaps the day they stuck it on their car; life was good and that doesn’t mean it is good every day since that day, but we tend to forget what is on our cars. However, life isn’t crap. Now, I have a pretty good sarcastic sense of humor, even warped at times and I have a large collection of stupid t-shirts that say all sorts of off-hand things, but life is not crap. If you are driving to your job, than that means you are alive, able bodied, and you have a job; that should not be considered crap. Life could be considered crap when you perhaps you do not have car to put a sticker on and in that case can’t drive yourself to work. Then even though you are technically alive, life can be somewhat crappy, but remember, you are still alive – right? If you were in the hospital deathly ill, life might be considered crap, but if your loving husband and son were by your side, life wouldn’t be that crappy. I think you get my point. I do not have a life is good sticker on my car. I do not have any stickers on my car, but life is good and I know that it is sometimes hard to see that thru the crap of everyday, but if you look around and count even one of your blessing, you too would say, “life is good.” Oh, and regarding the return address stick figure stickers. Nothing boastful about them. You are saying this is who we are and this is our address. I think those are cute.

    gavintiegirls last blog post..McCain/Palin Must Stop the Lies!!!!

  • 19 Vic // Dec 19, 2008 at 6:29 am

    I used to think that they were boastful and arrogant until my little girl asked me why I did not have a stick figure “thingy” with her name like her friend’s dad has on his car. I saw the truth : Children like to feel part of the world and this , in their little minds is a starting point.
    I also realized that I was caught up in my own smugness and projected my insecurities toward people who are actually happy being a mom or dad. Like the author , I was creating false situations about these people but had no basis in reality.
    In the end, the child will remember that mom or dad had once a car with the family plastered on the car’s rear window and it will create happy fodder for future conversations about a good childhood. I hope my little girl grows up to be a blogger that remembers her dad being a bit goofy but loving and not at all self important with his own smugness and conceit.

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