Trend Alert: What’s New in the USA

Each time we visit the US, we notice at least one new trend. This trip has been no exception!

We spent a Monday at the Ft Worth Stockyards with Jaron’s parents before heading to a service in the evening. Most of these buildings were built in the early 1900s when ranchers were bringing their cattle here to load onto trains.

We’ve been in the US on home assignment for the past several weeks. Q and I are heading back to New Zealand next week, supposedly to an astonishing heat wave of 31* C (88* F). We think that might not be so bad because we’ve had many days a lot closer to 31* F (at least in the mornings). We’re ready for some warm, sunny days!

Texas roads bear very little resemblance to New Zealand roads in terms of the number of lanes (often 4-5 each direction), the type of vehicles (hello, big trucks and SUVs), and the speed (Folks are in a big hurry around here!). I didn’t even capture a picture of one of the busiest interchanges. That said, I think Auckland could take a lesson or two in civil engineering from the DFW Metroplex.

We’ve driven thousands of miles all over Texas during this trip, making stops in Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. When we’re on a road trip in New Zealand, we count one lane bridges. When we’re on a road trip in Texas, we count Super Targets. Kiwi folks, this Target is no relation to the Target you’re accustomed to. American Targets are like the much bigger, fancier version of New Zealand Kmart (also no relation to the US Kmart). It sells on trend items in collaboration with designers like Chip and Joanna Gains (among others), as well as its own brands. If you know anything about the kiwi Kmart hype, you can imagine the obsession with Target is proportionate to its size and the US population.

This squattier version of the original YETI was new to us this time. This size comes with or without a handle. Who knew?

We also take note of what’s new and different. Every time we’re back in the US, it seems like there’s some new trend, a hot item everyone’s sporting, or a concept taking root that we’ve never even thought of. The first time we returned, everyone was carrying YETI cups or various knock off brands. Now, these cups in a variety of iterations have taken over entire kitchen cabinets. Full disclosure: we have loved getting these as gifts and use them all the time.

Trend Alert: Made to order ice cream frozen on the spot by Nitrogen.
Q was into it!

Then, it seemed like everyone and their grandma (especially their grandma) were wearing smart watches. I rarely see people wearing smart watches in New Zealand. This year, the wireless Apple headphones known as AirPods have gone wild. In fact, when we were in an Apple store before Christmas, the sales associate said that was by far the single biggest seller of the season. I’ll take note when we get back to NZ as to whether or not these have caught on across the pond. I’m feeling kind of doubtful.

Electric scooters, electric bikes… lots of options to choose from. Use them to commute or sight see.

But something that really could be a hit in NZ are the electric scooters and bikes we’ve spotted in at least three different major cities. Jaron and I tried them out in San Antonio. Unfortunately, I failed to get any video footage of us in action. They were so fun! You use an app on your phone to connect to the scooter, and it charges you based on how long you use it. We zipped through a neighborhood of cool old houses in San Antonio on our electric scooters. It was a perfect way to get around (despite the cold wind that had us bundled up that day). The thing that seemed a little bit odd to me is that you can leave the scooters anywhere you want… outside the mall, in someone’s yard, on a random car park… People who have signed up to work for the company can locate the scooters via GPS tracking on their phones, charge them, and return them to the desired strip of sidewalk. Also kind of odd: I saw lots of people riding the electric bikes without helmets!

I did a little google search and apparently, at least one scooter company launched in Auckland and Christchurch late last year. But apparently, a rise in accident and injury claims has other cities hesitant to join the fun.

Parting Shot

San Antonio is still one of our favorite cities. With lots of history, the river walk, and great food, what’s not to love?

4 comments

  1. What is a Target?
    Electric scooters and bikes are already here. Some people are making their own.
    One guy is even using a big dog chained to his bicycle as a motor. Trouble is when he uses his brakes he can’t stop his bike because the dog is so powerful the result is crash.

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