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Back in the 11th grade, I used to write movie reviews for my high school newspaper. I didn’t necessarily wax philosophically about cinematography, directors’ signature touches and storyline symbolism, but, I can say I held my own. I remember telling people to check out the movie The Sandlot (I’m really dating myself here) if they were looking for a light and funny movie, without too much heavy drama. Over the years, I was able to review a few more movies for my brother, who was editor of a movie review guidebook as well as a movie distribution company. This time around, I went all out, even daring to call out movie timeline shenanigans and obvious method acting. I thought I was all that and enjoyed the platform and soapbox.
As the years went on, my movie reviewing hat was replaced by a more decorous journalism hat. I worked hard to be taken seriously, especially upon joining the Professional Carwashing & Detailing editorial team. Well, all of that was thrown out the window when I was contacted by New York Magazine and asked to do some commentary for them. “Had they seen my other movie reviews?!” I wondered. “Perhaps they did and want to hire me to review movies!” Well, that was not really the case. The magazine called and asked if I could watch various movie clips in which a car was being washed, and then let them know if the car was washed properly. You know those movie clips — the ones where a barely-dressed woman would soap up a car and waste gallons and gallons of water and do very little actual washing. Sure, they’re campy and fun, but they’re also sending out a message that could directly and incurably hurt the professional carwashing industry. People could go to a movie and see Cameron Diaz washing a car with a bucket and hose. And, in a world full of heavy celebrity-envying, those same people could think they could do the same as her. Like The Sandlot movie, I did my best to be light and funny with my reviews, but to also make it very clear, that those glamorized carwashing scenes are a disservice to the environment and to the work of professional carwashes. I hope I not only represented the magazine in a favorable light, but all of the fine men and women who read this magazine and have to constantly win over those who think at-home and parking lot washes are okay. After all, it’s no longer funny that our waterways are being polluted, and those charity carwashes are no longer cute.
This month’s cover story shows how to approach non-profits to get them to use a commercial carwash to raise money. I also show how one carwash chain has successfully helped to raise over $4 million in donations. Google the words “car wash” and “charity” under the news search engine, and you’ll see parking lot charity washes popping up all over the map. At a time when water supplies are dwindling, as well as fresh water resources, it’s time to make them a thing of the past. It’s also time to consider them an environmental threat as well as a revenue-threat to your carwash. Because those you see washing the cars will probably think it’s okay to wash their cars in their own driveway. And, those little kids taking part will grow into adults and will think it’s okay, too. And, I know that’s not okay with me. Is that okay with you?