This morning I participated in a popular local form of social engagement. Forget Facebook and take your Twitter with you, today was the time-honored gathering at the barber shop. And when they see me walk in all discussion usually turns from politics and guns to trucks. Today we had plenty to discuss.
I have been receiving a steady stream of pickups here lately from the press fleets and whether I pull into the parking lot at work or Gary’s social hub on south Main, everyone is anxious to check out the latest mode of transportation that is still number one in the Lone Star State.
True most of the hair clippings on the floor are gray or white but this bunch is made up of diehard voters, retired blue collar workers and horse-and cattlemen. The crowd is decidedly male and I am one of the youngest “regulars” but they welcome my visits with enthusiasm and curiosity.
No sooner did I exit my big Ford F-450 dually Super Duty than Gary was engaging in a traditional form of social media by calling some of his Ford buddies to come check out the latest tester. As the fellas begin to roll in, coffee mugs in hand, related stories begin to fly of the tongues – “So and so did something to his truck last week” or “You know who had to get new tires while up in Colorado last month” – the tales go on and I attempt to take in every word. This is as viral as communication gets.
An overall synopsis of the morning still tells me that truck ownership still boils down to brand loyalty, dealer experience and automaker perception. Some have said they will always buy a Dodge (now Ram), others only choose Chevy as they have had bad experiences at their local Ford dealership and a few even go so far as to give the impression we can have the keys to their Ford pickup when we pry them from their cold, dead fingers.
Whatever their reasons or lifestyles, it all still seems to revolve around pickups (more commonly known as pickup trucks but AP style doesn’t recognize that term) and perhaps even more significant is that it is domestic-branded trucks and about an even split between heavy duty and light duty models.
They tow, they haul, they camp, they travel, they ranch and they rodeo. They love their wives, they love their country and they love their trucks (although the order of these seems to change around every once in a while).