(Photo by Cole Tan)
(Photo by Cole Tan)
(Photo by Cole Tan)

Dental floss, a snow shovel and fortune cookies have one thing in common: They are all inside the cars of U students.

Possessions can show a lot about a person, and that includes what’s stored in someone’s car. Heather McMaster, a junior in social work, said her collection of empty cereal bowls and fast-food cups makes her Jeep Patriot a personal representation of herself.

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“My car shows that I am always in a rush,” she said.

For Addie Salazar, a sophomore in communication, the condition of a person’s car is a telltale sign of whether the owner is organized or not.

“I knew a guy who played hockey and left all of his stuff in his car. It smelled terrible and was disorganized,” she said. “He turned out to be disorganized in school, also.”

Salazar, on the other hand, has a tidy car, complete with emergency equipment.

Meghan Fall, a post-graduate student in fine arts, takes car cleanliness into account when she is getting to know a person.

“Girls care about how their house looks, but guys care more about their cars,” Fall said. “If a guy’s car is well-taken-care-of and well-maintained, it shows they know how to take care of things.”

Valerie Frederikson, a senior in psychology, said her Nissan Versa tells her story.

“It’s a black car with a tan interior,” she said. “I don’t have floor mats anymore, the steering wheel is peeling and the floor is covered with French fries, floss, fortune cookies and sippie cups — I’m a mom.”

Frederikson thinks it is acceptable to judge someone based on their car.

“People are just people, but I guess you can tell where someone’s priorities are,” she said.

Jake Harron, a freshman in graphic design, has a full sound system, floor lights and tinted windows. But he doesn’t seem to fit the stereotype for owners of this kind of car.

“Looking at my car, people would think I like to party when in reality, I don’t,” he said.

While the inside of a car is elucidating, the type of car can be as well. Alma Allred, executive director of the U’s Commuter Services, said he has seen some trends in parking lots on campus. For instance, he said there are usually sports cars by the business buildings. But he thinks a car shows more of a person’s personality than their economic status. An old friend of his drove a rotting pick-up truck, but it didn’t match his finances.

“Looking inside that car, you would never guess this guy was worth millions,” he said.

c.webber@chronicle.utah.edu

@carolyn_webber

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