Zipcar Suggests I Go On A Diet

This morning I woke to find the following invitation/scolding from Zipcar:

Hi Karrie,

We know that you might be busy with work, errands or underwater macramé class Monday morning, but we wanted to invite you to the kick off of the Low Car Diet Boston at Back Bay Station.

In case you don’t know what LCD is, we’re essentially challenging a select group of new Zipsters to drive less and start walking, biking or T-ing more. Crazy, we know! But we feel very strongly about the concept of living as car-free as possible here in the very walkable city of Boston.

Why not come out and show your support of your fellow Zipsters. And of course, if you have a friend that hasn’t signed up for Zipcar yet, bring them out for a special half-off membership fee and have them use the refer a friend program to score $50 in driving credit.

Our laundry list of cool Low Car Diet partners (minus the fabric softener) includes Equinox Fitness, Whole Foods, MBTA, Boston Ski and Sports Club, New England Aquarium, Amtrak and vitaminwater.

The kick-off takes place at the Orange Line’s Back Bay Station at 10am and will last about 45 minutes.

See you Monday morning,

The team at Zipcar Boston

Hey Zipfucks!

Guess what? Almost none of the driving this “select” new member has done has been in the very walkable city of Boston. I joined Zipcar after my car was nearly totaled last month, and have used your vehicles to attend a wedding more than a hundred miles away in Walpole, NH, to visit a beach not easily accessible by public transportation, and twice to shuttle home several 44 pound boxes of cat litter and other necessary items for running a household full of pets and a local business, from Costco.

I challenge you to do those things car-free, with a 3 year-old.

(Crazy, I know!)

In the month since my car has been in the shop, I have used the MBTA several times to run errands in other parts of the city, to visit the Museum of Science with my son, and walked every place else– visiting friends, local restaurants, the grocery store, parks,our CSA pickup, the library and the circus on foot. My husband uses his membership primarily to run errands related to a retail business he operates in addition to a full time day job.

Save the patronizing low car diet bullshit for someone else.

(For the record, we do not live in Boston proper. We live in Somerville, in an almost suburban neighborhood with scattered bus stops, but without subway access. It is possible to run most of our everyday errands on foot, but we do need a car for the situations described above. )

9 responses to “Zipcar Suggests I Go On A Diet

  1. I got the same condescending message. I have not used a zip car in months…but when I do, it’s for stuff like Costco trips and day trips to places unreachable by the T. Zipfuckers.

  2. Cori:I think the tone and wording of this campaign was in poor taste. And it sounds as though they might want to research their customer base a bit more, before leaping to conclusions about how we use our memberships.

    I don’t know anyone who uses their Zipcar membership instead of walking a few blocks to the post office, but hey, even if they did, they’re paying to use the car.

    I was car-free for years as a single, childless person when I lived near a T stop. Easy peasy. What Zipcar really does in my household is negate the need for a second vehicle. I’m not interested in being car-free at this stage of my life.

  3. Wow. Such hostility.

    I got the same message as well. I of course pondered the irony of such a press conference during working hours. Who would actually attend this?

    I think the email was meant for neither you or I. Zipcar has changed over the years. With all the yuppie rich moving back in town, I usually can’t find a zipcar any more, as they take them all for their weekend jaunts to the country. Plus, most of the cards are now expensive beemers, that I can’t afford to rent anyways.

    But a lot of these rich folk tend to use zipcars for a lot of local trips just because they are still used to doing everything with a car, so they use the zipcar as much as they would their own car. And yes, I know people who’ve rented a beemer justto be ‘seen’ arriving at a party with one. ugh.

    Maybe zipcar should get back to it’s roots of ‘cars for the car free’ rather than being a playpen for the yuppies…

  4. I’m not hostile towards Zipcar–if you scroll down I have a couple of pro Zip posts– just flipping back their tone. I want them to consider that perhaps having an ideal customer in mind does not really help their goal of encouraging people to drive less. It’s more likely to annoy.

    Also, the diet reference was a bit in poor taste. I’m not sure of their intent, and it sounds more like they just mass e-mailed this, but as a new member who has reserved several cars in the past month, I did feel a bit singled out. Like “Hey you, Lazy Person. Why don’t you get off your ass and walk instead of booking a car?”

    That’s hilarious about taking a ZipBeemer solely to impress people. I can understand reserving a particular car out of curiosity or for a fun occasion though. I’ve really enjoyed the sporty S40s for their handling and driving experience.

    And yes, WTF were they thinking with regards to the timing of the event?

    It looks like my car is ready, so I hope it is OK with the ZipPolice that I’m reserving a Zip in order to go pick my own vehicle up in Natick. I probably should take the commuter rail and hitchhike to the dealership. I suck.


  5. I just WISH we had this option in TN. My husband is in a carpool and the week it is his turn to drive is hard on all of us as he uses my car instead of his small pick-up.

    I would be irritated at the email just because it is trying to be clever but turns out being annoying (I am 38 weeks pregnant with a 17 mos old and it is once again 95 degrees so everything is annoying me in all fairness but….). Especially the term ‘errands.’ The term ‘errand’ just doesn’t explain my grocery shopping with an impossible toddler. But it isn’t ‘work’ either and not really ‘macrame.’

    Love the reply.

  6. Pingback: Zipcar Suggests I Go On A Diet « Mom Voyage

  7. It really does sound like a scolding. Your response was funny and right on. Well, I hope you got your Pilot back. Does T stand for transit, as in the bus line?

  8. I had an actual Zipcar tell me to go on a diet. They’re making these cars way too smart these days. 🙂

    FW: Yep. The MBTA — Mass Bay Transit Authority — encompasses the buses and subways (and boats, and other stuff).

  9. Thanks for answering my question, James. I’m not from ’round them parts. 🙂

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