Just like most folks at the gigantic regional RV show, we had stars in our eyes. Those stars blocked our view, I guess. Or at least they caused our common sense to blur a bit. How is it that when spending tens of thousands of dollars on an RV, our main concern is the bell-and-whistle items that honestly don’t add all that much to the actual RVing experience?
Here’s what I mean: Instead of looking closely at (or asking a manufacturer’s rep) how the cabinets are put together, we took note of the fashionable handle pulls and the cabinets’ soft close feature. Are the cabinet boxes simply glued together or are nails and screws involved? I wish we would have asked. Rather than inquiring about the grade of carpet used in the RVs and if any carpeted area had an underlaying carpet pad, we allowed ourselves to be blown away with the up-to-date color and style.
While watching in awe at how easily the company rep opened and closed the hide-a-bed, we failed to ask if there was any kind of warranty on the sofa’s fabric. The questions, “Will the fabric fade easily?” or “What recourse do we have if the ‘pleather’ peels or chips?” never passed through our lips. Yep! Stars in our eyes for sure! Well, that was several years ago, and I hope we are a bit more informed as customers now.
It happens so easily. Walking through RV after RV at a local RV dealer recently, we once again began to take note of the different floor plans and the flashy “extras” like a wine cabinet or integrated cell phone charging stations. Suddenly the actual idea of camping is once more out the window and instead, we’re arguing the benefits of granite versus solid surface countertops. When we’re out in nature, will countertops still matter? We’ve never been wine drinkers, so why does the wine rack impress us? See?! It’s happening to us again!
Marketing, people. It’s all about marketing. RV manufacturers know that bells and whistles help to sell RVs. Gone are the days of a basic, well-built, functional RV. Now it’s all about exotic finishes, electronic accessories, and all of the comforts of home—all of them!
And then there’s the cost. Wowza! How do folks afford these costly rigs? When did we make the leap from thinking a tent with an attached floor was absolute luxury, all the way to demanding a king-sized bed? Things have changed since we were younger, haven’t they? RV companies have changed, as well. I wonder if the latest surge in RV purchases and the manufacturers’ push to crank out more and more units will continue to result in lots of bells and whistles but poorly constructed RVs. I wonder what the future holds for both the makers and the consumers in the recreational industry. Do you wonder too?