Chromed: How to Look Cool and Waste Your Money

By glblguy

While driving down the road the other day, I saw a car that looked very similar to this one:

Chromed Car

The first thought that came to my mind was why???? But then I realized I am probably just getting old. I’m quite sure my Dad asked me why many times when I was younger.

My next thought was, “You know, I’ll bet those rims cost more than the car”. Turns out I was right. A quick search on AutoTrader showed that a 1987 Chevy Caprice (the car in the picture above) can be purchased for about $2500, give or take. Doing a little internet investigation on the spinner rims (by the way the 26″ on the side of the car is the diameter of the rims) showed that 4 rims and new tires like the one’s in the picture run $8,339.00 (yes, $8,339). Wondering how in the world young kids afford these wheels, I then came across this article on renting wheels. Turns out renting is a very popular option for many young people.

The article states “The interest rates are so high that by the time you’re done paying for the product, you’ve paid two or three times for it. Let’s be conservative and use twice, that would make the $8,339.00 wheels end up costing $16,678. Now almost 7 times more than the car itself.

I’ll ask again, WHY??? The article quotes Rent-A-Wheel’s co-founder John Bowli, For our customer base, their cars are their status symbol. That’s where they spend a lot of their disposable income.“. This is a pure example of financial stupidity. If people want huge chrome rims on their cars, I am fine with that, but folks pay cash.

Renting these wheels is typical of the “I want it now” mentality many Americans have today. Borrowing and credit is quickly becoming the norm and is the primary reason why the average American has more than $8,000 in credit card debt. It amazes me that people would rather spend 2-3 times the price of the wheels, or furniture, big screen TVs or whatever their “chrome” is to get it now rather than save the money and purchase it outright out later. Dave Ramsey calls this “Living in the land of stupid“.

This is also a text book example of exactly what to do if you don’t want to be wealthy. If the people buying these expensive rims would just save that money for a few years, they could buy a really nice new car.

I’ll end my rant, and will accept that the answer to my question of WHY will probably go unanswered, but I’ll leave you with one more quote from the article: Actor Ray Smith, 29, of Inglewood pays $60 a week for his rims, which will amount to more than $3,000 over a year for a set that could be bought for $1,560 cash. “It’s not that bad,” he says. “It’s affordable.”

Readers, am I missing something?? Any thoughts from you on WHY? What are we teaching (or not teaching) our kids that cause them to think this is ok?


7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Chromed: How to Look Cool and Waste Your Money”

  1. morgan Says:

    “Why” becomes such an open ended question back to itself… “HOW” is much more effective. We live in the good old U.S.A…where our inside worth tends to be a reflection of what we believe we aquire on the outside.
    That turth is seeped into every aspect of our beings at every given moment in evry concievable way.

  2. glblguy Says:

    Morgan, very well said. Reminds me of 1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

    Thanks for visiting and for making such an insightful comment!

  3. justin Says:

    Ask yourself, do the people that buy these showy items care about their personal finance? Or is it more important to show their friends and neighbours that they look wealthy?

    You see these wheels on Cadillac Escalades all the d*** time. Neither is a prudent purchase, but subsets of the population need to show strength and wealth to feel good about themselves.

  4. glblguy Says:

    Justin, no they don’t, and that was my point. They SHOULD care about their finances. They SHOULD feel good about themselves for making smart decisions, not stupid ones. I understand it, it’s just sad. It is the whole “Big Hat No Cattle” syndrome.

    I would say anybody that needs a big set of spinner wheels to feel good about themselves really needs to take a deep look at their inner self.

  5. justin Says:

    I think I was being a little too subtle.

    There are portions of specific ethnic populations that don’t know if they will live past next week, let alone til retirement. Showy rims seem to come from that population, as an expression of “Don’t mess with me”-ness.

  6. glblguy Says:

    Ah, gotcha. I’m not good with subtle, just ask my wife ;-)

  7. Lisa Says:

    I am looking at photos so I may do this to my car: Why?

    Quick bullet summary of “Why”
    – Purchased a 1989 Olds used in 1990 when I graduated College
    – Kept the car all these years (1990 – 2011) as my main car until 2005
    – Lived and cruised the Florida Keys for 4 years
    – Cruised the American West for many years; sleeping in it numerous times pre/post backpacking trips, white water rafting trips, etc
    – Drove it to the Humane Society where I adopted and pick up the best dog I ever had for 15 years. – Soca (whose fur still is in bedded in the sides of the headrest)
    – I replaced the head liner when it fell, the exhaust, the radiator, most recently the gas tank
    – I always had (and still do) a $1,000 “when it breaks fund”
    – “Why” – memories, memories, memories. Because I am able to pay cash for the wheels and for the paint job to give this Old Friend most would crush in a junk yard, new life and new bling: de-Grand Ma-izing it.
    – Because I have a “Little Hat and Lots of Cows.”