Simple things done well beats sophisticated mediocrity.
Recently, for the first time in several years, I once again became a car owner. Much though I love high performance and sporting cars, this time I was more pragmatic.
I do love high-performance cars, so I did for research a Maserati. Hey, for my budget I could have bought a ~10-year-old Maserati Quattroporte, a stunningly beautiful Italian sports saloon with an exhaust note that is so, so exciting to the ears and heart. However, I had a vision of taking a long trip with passengers (one of the things I am buying a car for) and I would have been worrying all the way along about a breakdown in a Maserati, then “where on earth would I find a Maserati garage within a hundred miles?”, not to mention the eye-watering cost of parts and repairs.
So, being sensible prevailed, I bought a Skoda Octavia. Yes, a Skoda.
In the UK, up until about a decade ago, that was a brand associated with, well, not very good cars. However, owned for some time by the VW/Audi group, at this stage, Skoda cars are basically the same “under the skin” as a Volkswagen or Audi, yet both a) less expensive, and b) sometimes better (eg my car has WAY more boot/trunk storage for trips).
I knew that a Skoda would do what I needed as a someone moving from a city centre to the edge of the suburbs, but it would not be a sporting drive like a BMW can be when you choose. In fact, when the salesman emailed me to check in after I’d driven the car home from the dealer, I replied that I was happy and: “It is a Skoda. It does what it says on the tin”. For those not familar with that UK colloquialism, it simply does what it says it will do.
At the time I realised that, pragmatic and appropriate the choice of car is, I felt underwhelmed in that moment.
However, on reflection and in telling a friend about the car, I realised that “it does what it says on the tin” is a compliment to Skoda. As my friend sagely put it:
“Simple things done well beats sophisticated mediocrity”
Oh, back to the idea of a long trip. In my Skoda I won’t be worried at all, it will likely run and run for years without a problem. Oh, and if it does breakdown, the dealer gave me two years free roadside assistance. I guess they know it will “do what it says on the tin”.
Also published on Medium.