In the fall of 1987 Mercedes-Benz released its 1988 560 SEL sedan. The car was beautiful, full of gadgets including digital stereo, cassette player, leather steering wheel, and anything else the well-to-do of the time could seemingly want. For the safety conscious the car had anti-lock brakes (ABS), along with driver and front passenger airbags. The SEL’s seats adjusted electrically, as did its side mirrors. For buyers willing to spend a bit more, electric seat heaters were an option. Car & Driver and other auto enthusiast magazines wrote about the SEL in superlatives. The car retailed for over $68,000.
In 2006 Ford Motor Company discontinued its Ford Taurus. At the time Saturday Night Live’s comedy writers described the Taurus (this is a slight paraphrase) as “the car for people who’ve given up.” Eventually Ford brought back the automobile associated with average. Interesting there is that a $31,000 2018 Taurus has 4-wheel ABS, dual front side mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, dusk-sensing headlights, a blind spot warning accident avoidance system, rear parking sensors and a rear-backup camera (to avoid dings), and a heated steering wheel. Electric seats are a given.
Back in 2006, only the higher-end suites at the Four Seasons in Austin, TX (the city’s most luxurious hotel) had flat-screen televisions. The regular rooms still had the box-shaped version. But by 2015 flat-screen tvs were standard not just in rooms at the Four Seasons, but also in most any Motel 6.
Air travel? Those rich enough to fly used to travel with flip flops, but only in their bags. They dressed up for what was a rare luxury. Nowadays people walk on to planes in flip flops, shorts, tank tops, and other garments…