Amusing/Sad Bumper Sticker

As I was driving my daughters to school a few weeks ago we were stopped at a red light behind an old beat-up car that had a bumper sticker that said:
“My Daughter’s Pageant Dress Costs More Than Your Car”

My initial thought was that the driver of the car must have thought that this would be something that would impress most readers. I have watched, with great horror, the TV show Toddlers & Tiaras so I do know that at least a small slice of the public might be envious of such a bold statement. But for me I just felt bad for the driver of said automobile.


If we continue to attempt to purchase our self-esteem, we will keep getting the same results: an ever-increasing pile of stuff we don’t need, a mountain of debt, financial stress, and arguments with our loved ones. A simple antidote to the above: focus on self-improvement (e.g., lose weight, read a book, exercise more, save money), closer relationships (do something nice for your spouse, spend time with the kids, etc.), and involvement in community affairs (get involved at your child’s school, volunteer at church, etc.). All of these activities have been shown time and time again to be what we need as humans to live happy and productive lives. Let me close with a quote by writer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?

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8 Responses to Amusing/Sad Bumper Sticker

  1. Krissy says:

    To answer the question I think it depends on who you are. Everyone’s opinion is going to be different with what’s elegant or not. It really depends on your background and how you were raised. I believe that a lot of people get mixed up with what they need (food, water, shelter, etc.) and what they want. Some people in today’s society though like to flash their fancy items just to show what their status is. I will admit that I have to be cautious sometimes when I go shopping because every once in a while some things I buy will get pushed to the side and a few days later and never use it again. I think donating is a good thing to do. When I haven’t used something in a year or so, I tell myself I clearly don’t need this, so I give it away.

    I agree though that we will keep getting the same results the more we buy for our self-esteem. I do find this topic to be interesting. I think that is also one reason why the divorce rate is so high. It will be interesting to see if people in our society will change over time about this.

  2. Diamond says:

    That is very sad, but it does not surprise me. The weird thing about this is that I doubt that the woman’s whose car the bumper sticker was on would say that purchasing an expensive pageant dress for her daughter made her happy. I think the feeling we chase when we buy expensive items and fight to keep up with what everyone else has is a feeling of acceptance. People want to feel accepted by their peer groups. I believe most people know that happiness comes from relationships and being happy with who you are, but societal acceptance does not. Today, many people choose the societal acceptance over true happiness.

  3. Jordan Springfield says:

    I also have seen some episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras. I personally think some aspects like being comfortable in front of crowds can be established through such things; however, overall I feel like it makes people judge by appearance or how much money people have. As far as the bumper sticker, I don’t think that’s something I would have advertised for the world to see. I don’t think flaunting how much money you spend on an item is necessarily something to take take pride in.

  4. Lyndsi Jewell says:

    I have watched a few episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras, and think that it is sad how the world is starting to see materialism in young children. That bumper sticker is not something that should be flaunted. Spending more on a pageant dress for a child than a car is something that, firstly shouldn’t be advertised, but also shouldn’t be happening in the first place.

  5. Celeste_Ligon says:

    The bumper sticker shows how materialistic society has become because the parent takes pride in owning a very expensive dress for his or her daughter. I think this is sad because a car is much more of a necessity than a pageant dress. These days, most people measure success with money and how it is spent. However, I agree with Professor Roberts that we must focus on self improvement instead of the stuff we own. Our happiness cannot be found in material possessions. Parents should be teaching their children this lesson and not the one portrayed by the bumper sticker.

  6. Andrea Smith says:

    I love this post and agree with everything that was said. It is sad that today’ society seek materialistic objects as a form to gain friendship or a way to feel better about themselves. But with that being said, I know to a certain degree I rely on materialistic objects to feel “cool” or better about myself. It is so ridiculous that I will spend more money on something just because of the name that it holds on the cover, but I won’t work out more to make myself feel better. Self- improvement through nonmaterialistic items is something that I feel I have reduced by being more money concious, and I only hope that society will realize that not all materalisitic items make a person who they are.

  7. Yu Ting Liang says:

    I think some people thought that if they have more money and they will happier. But that is not the truth. In my mind, some people want to show how rich they are to fill up the empty emotion of their mind. They are self-abased, but they don’t want to accept that. Sometimes, we just need a cup of coffee and read a good book to enjoy our beautiful afternoon. Money just like the clouds in the sky, and it is not impotant.

  8. Jake Vines says:

    To reiterate what Diamond was saying, this does not surprise me at all. Not only is there such a contradiction (beat up car with “expensive” pageant dress) but this involves a deeper sense of where people find satisfaction. I know for me personally, I have not tried to find peer satisfaction through a purchase but I have tried to find a sense of short term happiness. The biggest lesson I have learned from this is that these items have such a short term life and that feeling always fades since there are always new items coming out. I think that the biggest lesson learned from this exert is that we need to be principle centered. If we are principle centered, these materialistic issues would not even surface.

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