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Diatribe Revisited: “Family Stickers” On Your Mini Van Are A Very Bad Idea

04/07/2014

During a long-overdue and internet-free vacation with loved ones, please enjoy several days’ worth of “Best Of …” posts from the DiatribesAndOvations.com archives … an opportunity to re-share some of the blog’s most popular posts from the last three years with readers who may not have been around at the time that they were first published.  Enjoy!

Originally published on February 27, 2012, “Diatribe: ‘Family Stickers’ On Your Mini Van Are A Very Bad Idea” remains one of the blog’s most-read posts.

familycarstickers2In my childhood travels, one of the places that we visited was Wall Drug Store, a tourist attraction located in the town of Wall, South Dakota.  It’s still a huge tourist trap stuffed with every imaginable souvenir and famous for its marketing campaigns including free water for visitors.  Back then, they had a reputation for putting bumper stickers on the cars parked in their parking lot while visitors shopped.  Needless to say, the practice was controversial and didn’t last long.  They still give away bumper stickers but only to visitors that want them.

I’ve never used a bumper sticker on my car but I enjoy reading them on others’.  I worry that they might draw negative attention to my vehicle and, possible, encourage vandalism.  It’s for this reason that I’ve always been troubled when I see “family stickers” on the backs of SUVs and minivans as I travel.  Sure, every parent is proud of their child’s accomplishments and every child loves to be publicly recognized but I think these stickers unintentionally share far too much information.

Take, for example, a soccer mom that’s proud of her three children and wants to tell the world.  She puts sticker on the back of her minivan showing each child, their relative ages (based on size) and their names.  She even includes a dog named Hank.  She also displays a “Proud Parent of Local Elementary School” bumper sticker.

This loving mother has just provided valuable and personal information to every potential predator in the area.  Most children only react negatively to a stranger.  So, if an unknown adult were to approach one of her girls and ask “Hi, Sweetie.  Do you and your little brother still have a Hank?  He still goes to Local Elementary School, right?” she would trust the adult completely.  Possibly enough to get in a car or go for a walk.

Don’t risk your child’s safety by allowing a potential predator to create an illusion of familiarity.  Responsible parents shouldn’t advertise personal information about their children.  If your child can be identified by a stranger, your child is at risk.  Rethink the use of “family stickers”.  Perhaps exchange them for a Wall Drug Store bumper sticker … they’re free.

Copyright © 2012 www.DiatribesAndOvations.com

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One Comment
  1. I am with you on bumper stickers. I think you raise a valid point about someone taking advantage of that information. I was thinking also along the lines of ID theft. Coupled with tag information, you could be led to other sources and know full well that the ID you are stealing has two boys and a girl, two cats and one dog. Good post. BTG

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