A curious passerby spotted a U-Haul box in an attic, setting the internet aflame and confirming preconceived notions that more Americans than ever are now moving into, or out of, attics nationwide.
The singular picture of the box was seen by many as validation of every opinion they ever had about boxes, moving, attics, and U-Haul, despite the fact that many of those opinions often contrasted dramatically from person to person.
The image, described variously as “moving,” “touching,” “a stunning portrait of today’s America,” and “the singular greatest piece of persuasive visual composition I have ever laid my eyes on,” was widely shared and debated on social media networks including Twitter and Facebook.
The viral image featured a large U-Haul box nested between other boxes, with wooden rafters overhead. For some, like dannyg8049065 on Twitter, this served as proof of the massive influx of Americans moving into attics in the wake of the Coronavirus. “My friend passed away last year, and now he haunts the attic of his parents’ home. He was always a trendsetter, and now we have the receipts,” he wrote.
Others seemed less convinced. Twitter user abbieeeee89, for example, had a different opinion. “Rents have dropped so much that I’m moving out of my friend’s attic in the ‘burbs and getting a 1BR in Bushwick, possibly a converted loft” she commented.
She later attacked other users who derived a different interpretation of the picture, noting that they were all using secondhand examples of people moving into attics, while she had a firsthand argument for people moving out of attics.
We spoke to a psychologist, Buck Sorenson, who summarized the massive body of evidence generated from this single image. “All of the claims – both firsthand claims made by the picture itself, and secondhand claims from the resulting commentary – presented together makes it seems like people are both moving into, and out of, attics, but this nuanced view cannot be true as it is emphatically un-American, since it precludes an all-or-nothing answer.” He added, “My personal belief is that American attics may be under invasion, so I’m going to sleep in mine with a butcher’s knife for a couple of nights, just to be sure.”
Despite heated discourse by hundreds of thousands online, it is increasing clear that not a single opinion was actually persuaded by the vigorous debate. Attempts to track down the origin of the picture, including location and even year, were unsuccessful. Said CEO Joe Shoen of U-Haul, “we’re just happy people are using our boxes.”
Shares of U-Haul swung wildly in trade following the posting of the image, at points up more than 7% and down over 5%, before eventually settling within pennies of the opening price.