“It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.” — Steve Jobs
Fobs. They have become gatekeepers to enjoying and completing many of our everyday routines. They (de)activate our cars. (Un)lock our front doors. Instruct our elevators. Demagnetize our offices entrances. Larry and I are renting an apartment in a five-year-old mid-rise that requires the use of fobs to enter the parking garage, building, on-site gym, on-site storage, and our unit. We only have a conventional key for our mailbox, which surprises me. My Volvo came with two leather wrapped fobs and the option to get a performance themed set for $500! My employer ID is a fob in the shape of a standard officially issued government ID.
What brought about this fob-takeover?
The proliferation of fobs was a natural offshoot from the swift digitization our planet – or maybe a part of it – underwent during the past two decades. A wine tasting trip Larry and I took to Northern California last November re-exposed us to the use of conventional keys in unlocking hotel rooms. No pre-check-in via the Hilton App. No use of digital keys — turning your cellphone into a temporary fob. No automatic or remote check-out. We went to the concierge, obtained our metal keys and went to our rooms – physically having to do the process in reverse order once we departed. Hotel Sutter.
A similar experience occurred on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a beach destination the hype about which is just that. Ocracoke Island – which is a part of the 200-mile stretch of the Outer Banks – was the endpoint of 2015 east coast road trip of 2015. Coming highly recommended, we decided to end our 831-mile Atlantic drive in the Tar Heels State beach community. I experienced Northern California’s conventional key use as a nice trip down memory lane; a conscious decision made by management to add charm to an overnight stay in wine country. In North Carolina, the stench of industrial grade bug spray in our hotel room crowded out any fond memories of using conventional keys, along with the mouth breathers staring at Larry and me as if we were cyclops from Mars. Plus, Larry remembers the conventional keys to the OBX hotel were on a key chain he sworn was from the 1970s. Given our unpleasant stay at the hotel we chose, I will not list the business’s name.
This entire ordeal caused us to truncate our stay on the OBX and officially end our east coast road trip in Virginia Beach, shortening our one-way trip mileage to 676 miles.
Tangential Note: Our visit to North Carolina’s barrier islands was not entirely terrible, just terrible enough to render additional hotel costs incurred in Virginia Beach immaterial. Aside from the insomnia inducing hotel stay and menacing stares from mouth breathers, we had a relaxing ferry ride from the mainland to the Outer Banks, snapping picturesque images of a dusk, sunless Atlantic Ocean horizon. We visited Ocracoke’s Lighthouse and toured other ares on the thin strip of land as well.
A Luxury I Never Knew I Missed
Keyless entry and push button start are luxuries I have enjoyed for the past five years. I never knew I needed to abandon the use of conventional keys in entering, starting, shutting-off, exiting, and locking my automobile until Lexus told me so and Volvo seconded that motion. No only are conventional keys obsolete, holding the fob in your hand is no longer required. Having it in your purse, murse, pocket, or elsewhere on or near your body suffices. Touching the door handle unlocks the doors if your fob is within two feet of whichever door you attempt to unlock/open. Searching for a well-lit place to park my car just in case nightfall beats me back to it is not as urgent a matter — if it ever were given my male privilege. As I near my car with the fob in tow, the exterior lights are activated to illuminate it and the immediate area. Once seated in my Volvo, I neither have to exert minimally required effort in lifting my arm, inserting a conventional key into an ignition nor twist my wrist to instruct the starter to wake up the engine. There is no ignition! In the Lexus I pushed a button, the Volvo requires I twist a stylish lever. I love all of it.
It gets better. With the Volvo — and I am sure other makes — my Apple Watch can act as a fob. I can raise my arm, select the Volvo icon and tell my car to start and run up to 15 minutes before I arrive to it. As a safety feature, once the 15 minutes expire the care shuts off — only able to restart if I am physically inside it…with the fob. This is great during the one to three weeks of searing heat in Seattle when cooling down a scorching hot car is a small win and in the frigid winters where entering a warm interior and sitting on toasty seats are godsends. Who would have known we needed such features? The auto industry equivalents of Steve Jobs of, course.
The Dark Side of Fobs
Door Clicking, What Is It?
Door Click noun:
1: Bigotry Repeated, habitual, and/or reflexive act of using one’s fob to lock the doors of his/her vehicle in the presence of individuals deemed thieves, troublemakers, or otherwise up to no good without an iota of proof.
2: Racism A micro-aggression, specifically a microinsult, demoralizing individuals appearing to have less financial and intellectual means, mostly people of color, based on perpetrators’ imagined superiority
3: Cowardice A display of (un)willful ignorance, irrational fear, false white supremacy, or unfounded superiority
4: Deceit An incomplete story of harmlessly ensuring one’s car doors are locked due to purported short-term memory problems, as in not remembering locking nanoseconds prior to door clicking an allegedly threatening person – all of which is not a coincidence.
//Door click is a type of microaggression, specifically a microinsult.
Door Click transitive verb:
5: Profiling Repeatedly locking ones’ doors as a microaggression toward people who are within the vicinity of the fob abusers, or the vehicles they drive/own.
6: Stereotyping Repeatedly sounding the horn of a vehicle which signals to fob abusers the doors have been locked and surrounding individuals deemed up to no good have been spotted and warned
7: Lying about not remember whether a person’s car doors are locked given the succession of previous, audible car door locks clicking — diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or another conditions with symptoms of conducting repeated actions without conscious control may or may not absolve the racist, classist act because those with OCD and other illnesses can be racist and classist too
//The woman in the Target parking lot door clicked me as I walked near her Honda Civic, thinking I wanted to vandalize her car when I hurriedly strolled past her to retrieve reusable bags from my 2018 Volvo XC60 Inscription — voted World Car of the Year in 2018.
Door Clicked | past tense, past participle
Door Clicking | gerund, present tense, adjective
Door Clicker | noun
Related Words (Reasons Given when Called Out): being passion about our country; acting as a hard-working Americans; simply providing for ones’ families; coming from a good family; being a real American; starting from nothing and working one’s way to the top; expressing concerns about “real” issues not the fake ones like racism and bigotry; draining the swamp; being fed up with Washington; …but Hillary Clinton’s emails; investigating Benghazi; illustrating economic anxiety; not following politics all that much
Synonyms (Actual Reasons Behind Door Clicking): racism; classism; passing judgement; drawing conclusions with improper context; stereotyping, profiling, expressing hate, being irrationally fearful; watching too much Fox News; watching too much local news only featuring murders, crimes, and unkempt African Americans’ arrests; mislabeling racist and classist acts with paranoia and implacability of those receiving fob-related microaggressions
Antonyms (Opposite of Door Clicked Persons’ Eyes/Ears Interpretation): Simply locking the doors, doing this all the time regardless of race, not seeing color, repeatedly locking the doors when seeing “anyone”
Tangential Note: The use of fobs is mostly for the greater good.