This article first appeared elsewhere on February 29 2008. What was true then is most likely not true today when I reposted it here.
Another brochure in today's mail. That makes, oh, goodness, umpteen of the things lying about the house. After the third one arrived, I kind of lost interest. What is the point? We are 99.999% recurring likely to be buying second hand. So, why look at brochures, and why now? It is not quite as mad as it sounds.
- The vehicles being sold now are the ones likely to be on the second hand market when we come to buy in a few years' time.
- The benefits of sending for the brochures are several. We keep the dream alive We become familiar with the available features and can think (long and) hard about the ones that we want and those that we actually need. When we buy, we shall be informed and less likely to be seduced by fripperies.
- There was a 3. I am certain that there was a 3. Apart from pulping the brochures for Mrs Snail to make hand made paper with, that is.
- Actually, if she gessoed the pages, they would make good journals...
There are a few drawbacks. Primary of these is the growing conviction that the majority of these vehicles are hideously tasteless and "over stuffed." Closely following that is the knowledge that the beds in most campers and RVs are not ideal for full-timing. Already I feel the tug of our 5 foot wide Tempur mattress. How I shall miss that! My question "What is the point?" is directed elsewhere, though. You see, if you look at these brochures long enough, you soon realise that there is very little to choose between them. All the vans seem to merge into one amorphous camper version after looking at just a few brochures. And, far from being exciting, it is in fact rather dull. How to choose between makers and models? Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis! I refer you, dear reader, to point 2. on wants and needs. Mrs Snail shall put her education into use and dredge from her memory a method of Decision Analysis that actually works very well in situations like this. With ample time to draw up a decision grid, and all the brochures in the world to note down features that might fill that grid, when the time comes to buy then The Snails will be able to make a fast decision and not spend weeks havering in camping and caravan lots the length and breadth of the UK. How is that for organisation? Nerd? Who said "nerd"? HUMPH! Yes, it is overkill. In theory, it is good. In practice? It seems likely that the Snail Bus will simply be the one available at the right time and at an affordable price and the feature list can go hang. Cut some slack here, we have five years to fill without letting the p(l)an go off the boil. It will keep Mrs Snail occupied and stop her from fretting about losing her mattress and her double-ended deep bath. There will be more on the subject of campers soon. If you are not very careful, there may well be more on decision matrices too. You have been warned. (I remembered: 3. We are located presently a couple of hundred miles from the nearest dealer. Going to view is not an option. Brochure descriptions fill the knowledge gap.)