Has this ever happened to you? You’ve just heard of something for the first time, then suddenly you see it everywhere. You’re not the only one who’s had this experience. It happens often enough that it even has a name. It’s called “Baader Meinhof phenomenon.”
Imagine that you’re sitting at a stoplight and notice the car in front of you is an Isuzu Ascender. You’re thinking to yourself that you’ve never heard of this vehicle. You’re wondering if Isuzu is even still around. Then you remember all those Joe Isuzu commercials from the 90s and wonder whatever happened to that guy. Next thing you know, someone is honking at you because you’re sitting a green light daydreaming about decades old car ads.
Later, you meet a friend for lunch. He’s sorry he’s late, but was tied up at the mechanic’s shop getting his Isuzu Ascender repaired. The next day, your sister calls and wants you to look at a used car she’s thinking about buying. It’s an Isuzu Ascender. What?! This is what they call Baader Meinhof phenomenon.
If you have never heard of Baader Meinhof before, you will now. It happened to me shortly after the first time I heard this peculiar term. I heard it on a sitcom, of all places, then a few days later heard it again from a friend. The fact that this phenomenon exists is interesting enough, but when the name of the phenomenon becomes the phenomenon… that’s just weird!
My husband and I were discussing buying a new bed and he mentioned the purple mattress. I’d never heard of it so I Googled it. Now the dang thing is everywhere! The purple mattress ad pops up every time I read an article on my phone. It shows up on the games I play, in my Facebook newsfeed. Although, I’m not actually sure if this is Baader Meinhof or the government selling my search information. Who knows?
However, I may have found a glitch in the system. Here’s yet another car story…
My daughter and I were walking out of a movie theatre when when a car caught my eye. It looked like a station wagon and an SUV had a baby. My daughter tells me that these are called “crossovers.” I looked at the name on the back of the car and stored it in my swiss cheese brain. Later, when I wanted to look it up and do some research, I couldn’t remember the make of the car. Why wasn’t Baader Meinhof kicking in and showing it to me on tv commercials and in my neighbors’ driveway? Was it because I couldn’t remember the name? Apparently, this phenomenon doesn’t phenom unless you have a good memory.
I did remember, however, that the car was a Subaru. So… guess what I started seeing everywhere? You guessed it. Subarus everywhere I went. Just not that Subaru. Finally, a few weeks after that first sighting, I spotted a little baby SUV/Station wagon on the road. I bobbed and weaved through traffic to catch up with it. Crosstrek… yeah, that’s it. Now that I know the name, I expect Baader Meinhof to take effect and I’ll start seeing them everywhere. But will you see them everywhere too because you read this? We’ll see.
One more completely weird thing before I go… While searching for a photo about Baader Meinhof phenomenon, I found the picture below. What are the odds of this?