What does a car fanatic do on a lazy sunny Saturday? In Germany an answer would be easily found: you would wash your car - one of the most popular hobbies.
Since the country has approximately 3,000 car wash centers, there are certainly lots of opportunities. Five percent of Germans wash and polish their cars once a week, almost a third do so once a month, and more than half of these car owners use a car wash center for this purpose. Between the vacuum cleaners, soapsuds, and dryer nozzles, surprising things can happen.
As Rose Royce pointed out in their worldwide hit “Car Wash” from 1976, “There ain’t no tellin’ who you might meet, a movie star or maybe even an Indian chief.” Back then the oil crisis was almost over and people had once again started to buy cars. After a car had been bought, it soon was time for the first drive through the car wash — and that’s the theme of the comedy musical “Car Wash.” The film’s theme song was per-formed by the nine members of the band Rose Royce, and it became a big hit. It was Number One in the US charts and in the Top 20 in Germany. The respective album won a Grammy. After that, things quieted down for the band. Rose Royce became a typical one-hit wonder.
But back to the topic: washing the car. If you go to the trouble of driving to your local car wash on a Saturday, you’ll soon notice that there are several very different types of car wash customers. Let’s start with the Voice of Experience. He knows exactly what he wants and also knows the best times to wash his car. He uses the Happy Hour offer to get his car perfectly clean within minutes.
The Penny Pincher is of course aware of the Happy Hour discount, but that’s still not affordable enough for him. He takes advantage of the high-pressure washer. It’s only on for a limited time, starting from the moment the first drop of cleaner leaves the hose. At that point, it’s all about speed! The Penny Pinch-er wants to win the race against time and avoid tossing another coin in the slot.
For the Car Connoisseurs, the opposite is true. The people in this category can never spend enough time in the car wash. They also like to use the high-pressure washer, but that’s the only thing they have in common with the Penny Pinchers. Instead of just one washing program, the Car Connoisseurs like to use two — to make sure their cars get really clean. The final touch is provided by the polishing cloth, which is used to remove every last spot of water.
The fourth type is the Beginner. For him, the car wash is unfamiliar territory. His uncertain gaze wanders back and forth between the list of washing programs and his car. Which program is the right one? Would the standard program be enough, or does my car require the luxury treatment? Should I stay in the driver’s seat or should I get out? Many questions rattle around in his brain. After some deliberation, the washing process finally begins. After it’s over, the Beginner silently and unobtrusively leaves the premises and is not seen again for a long time. But that doesn’t matter, because the next Car Connoisseur vehicle is already waiting impatiently for its turn. “Well, those cars never seem to stop coming, keep those rags and machines humming.”