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Here we are in the season of tinsel and silver bells as the decade of the Teensies runs out. Shopping for your loved ones? Why not take a Brink’s truck of dimes and quarters to the new Carvana vending machine in your area and spend four-and-a-half days feeding them into the coin slot? This humdinger combines just about every angle of Late Decadent US culture: commerce without humans, instant gratification, disregard for the landscape, cars-as-totems, techno-narcissism…. They’re sprouting up all across the land. Prediction: the business model for this folly will blow up inside of 18 months. The conversion of these buildings into squats for the homeless will be interesting to follow. Happy Holidays everyone!  Thanks to Todd Holmes for the nomination!

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

14 Responses to “December 2019”

  1. liber8tor December 4, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    Thank you James for many smiles and enlightenment from your great Blog. Happy Holidays to you as well.

    Yes, noticed the CARVANA vending machine yesterday from I-75 by the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. A ‘friggin vending machine for cars and trucks. lol (Actually, at night, it looks more like a big Rock-Ola jukebox) And better yet, it’s positioned right next to the giant spinning “guitar-in-sky”, located next to the Hard Rock Casino. What a cornucopia of visual delight at night.

    Millennials can now sit at home and order a car or SUV direct from the vending machine, and a tow truck will deliver it right to your front door. (This is almost better than feasting on greasyTaco Bell delivered by Grub Hub, or pedaling to nowhere on your Peleton). Is this a great country or what? (sarcasm off)

    Why anyone would even consider buying a used car without seeing it or driving it, is beyond me, but what do I know. I don’t enjoy tattoos and I think Beyonce is boring.


    • lateStarter December 6, 2019 at 10:17 am #

      @liber8tor: it might make an interesting concept for rentals if you could just insert your credit card, make you selection, and out pops you rental for the day/week/hour. Kind of the next step to the scooter rental market (don’t know if you have them in Tampa – they are all over the place in Warsaw Poland).

  2. tucsonspur December 8, 2019 at 5:23 am #

    The sky was alluring and seemed to beckon me. The distant gleam held promise, as I thought I had seen Nirvana. Thinking that soon I might be enlightened, and that pain and suffering might soon be banished from my life, my suffering only skyrocketed instead as I beheld Dinocars in a huge glass case, as if they were some rare, precious jewels. A cruel deceit, Nirvana morphing into this nocuous nausoleum.

    I tried to apprehend what was before me, realizing that I was still bound to an indescribably ugly world. Was a construction site near? Could I find some dynamite and ‘Roark’ the rude, crude structure, turning it to rubble?

    No, there was none to be found, and I thought about the word. ‘Carvana’. Caravans of cars, and Nirvana nowhere to be found, the Black Lagoons running dry. I turned to walk away, and the day turned to neon, headlights and dashed hopes.

  3. AKlein December 9, 2019 at 9:00 am #

    When I first beheld this month’s Eyesore, I thought it was a just a fanciful Christmas holiday joke. Really, I really thought it was a joke. Only when I read the comments did I realize, to my utter amazement, that this “Carvana” is for real! May God help us. I think this is an indicator we are about to reach the end of our “journey”. An inflection point is definitely coming.

  4. Ishabaka December 9, 2019 at 2:11 pm #

    Carvana sells off-lease vehicles, which means mostly cars bought by folks without the cash to afford them. Kind of a metaphor for our economy today.

  5. My Point of View December 16, 2019 at 12:19 pm #

    Carvana partly reflects our disgust with auto salesmen and dealers.

    Carvana partly reflects our ability to take things to silly extremes.

    Carvana partly reflects our low tax ideology where too much money is sloshing around looking for investible opportunities while our debt grows to astronomical levels.

    Carvana partly reflects our ability to crash our own party.

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  6. shrbri December 17, 2019 at 2:42 pm #

    But James digs Trump, somehow — you know, the guy who had a fake university, shitty ugly casinos, a fake charity, etc. I don’t get how James can’t apply his critical eye to Trump and instead dumps on Democrats with conspiracy theories. Sad.

    • Joe Thomas December 18, 2019 at 10:55 pm #

      You couldn’t help yourself could you? It’s okay. I understand. Jim was talking about the aesthetic appeal of buildings and you because of your woke status had to turn it into a political thing. Please calm down. I understand that TDS is a real thing. You will be fine down the road a bit.

    • JackStraw December 24, 2019 at 1:22 pm #

      Please seek help. You are clearly in late stage TDS and it’s not only affecting that tiny brain of yours, but most likely your physical health, too.

  7. mccobb December 25, 2019 at 1:17 pm #

    Carvana vending machines are a good metaphor for our devotion to all things scaled. First, vertical scale: the cars are stacked. One can see everything for sale at a glance from the highway. No more walking around a large lot. Second, size: a vending machine eight stories high. Third, money: buy a car like a bag of chips X ~$15,000.

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    please make your selection carefully as there are no returns or refunds and keep hands well clear of chute as your selection is dispensed
    dispose of wrapper responsibly

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