An Open Question to Stanford Parents

Posted by at 4:37PM

Hello, parents. I hope you have been enjoying your stay during Parent’s Weekend and all the wonderful programming that the university puts on to convince you that you’re not wasting your money. I’m excited. Since you’re (sort of) finally in one place, maybe I can get an answer to this question that’s been bothering me for at least a few months now:

Why would you buy your kid a Range Rover?

We goin' down down baby

My tenure at Stanford has provided an unexpected education in the habits and ethos of the upper-middle class, and in a weird way, it’s been humbling. I’ve learned that being from certain suburbs and going to certain prep schools doesn’t preclude a family from having financial difficulties (in fact, it’s usually the cost of housing and education that causes them) and that flaunting one’s wealth is a trait pretty exclusively reserved for people from the 1900’s and rap stars, especially out here on the West Coast. Despite all the horror stories I hear about rich people and their kids, and despite this being a campus where 35% of the freshman class didn’t even apply for financial aid, I have yet to see any Jaguars or Mercedeses in student parking spots and only a handful of Beamers in almost 4 years. I find this phenomenon inspiring because it reassures me that Stanford is in fact not filled with people who like to shove their privilege in everyone’s face. However, I have noticed on campus recently a strident counter-example located (and fittingly, some would argue) in an around the Bromuda Triangle: The Range Rover.

Parents, I repeat the question: Why would you buy your kid a Range Rover?

The Range Rover has a unique status in the world of luxury cars. Land Rover, in theory, makes off-road SUVs but that’s not really why anyone buys them. The weird thing is that despite costing $15,000 more than the Mercedes SUV, Range Rovers carry far less cultural cache than Mercedes Benzes. Evidence exhibit A: The 2,700,000 Google results for “lyrics mercedes benz” vs. the 467,000 results for “lyrics range rover”. Exhibit B: The most high profile rappers to consistently name drop the Range Rover are Nelly and Raekwon (aka number 6/9 from the Wu-Tang Clan). The whole point of luxury cars is to let everyone else know how much money you’re spending when you buy it, but nobody thinks a Range Rover is more expensive than a Mercedes.

Furthermore, it’s not even that great a car, certainly not for a college kid. It consistently has reliability issues, or at least according to people on the Internet who claim to know about these things, and it has some of the worst gas mileage known to mankind (12/18 mpg. I’m not really exaggerating).

Even if a family’s assets are in the tens of millions, that still doesn’t mean that they have ass-tons of money to spend on Junior’s car for college, which is why even in their most spendthrift of moods, they still top out at an Acura. In order to buy a Range Rover for your kid, you’d have to have enough money on hand such that dropping $60,000 on a car is no big deal, and you’d have to want to give your kid a status symbol and not mind that you’re not getting the best car or status symbol for your money. That really doesn’t make sense, especially at a place with one of the best econ departments in the country. I’m not trying to yell at rich people for the audacity to be rich, and I’m sure that the parents responsible won’t actually read this, but I’m going to ask, again, because despite my childhood worship of the Land Rover company, I truly just do not understand.

Why would you buy your kid a Range Rover?


3 Responses to “An Open Question to Stanford Parents”

  1. wrong says:

    bmws are as common as hondas on this campus. the prevalence of overprivileged youth is pretty sick.

  2. Ryan says:

    ^above poster wreaks of self-indulgent misery

  3. Beamers says:

    It doesn’t really make me sick, but I see a lot more Beamers then anything else on this campus. It doesn’t make me jealous or upset or anything, but they really are quite common.


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