A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

02 November 2006

The Club

When Mme and I got our shiny new car, it was a weird moment for me. I'm traditionally a beater freak. To illustrate: before getting the Ford Focus, my own last car was a $100 1976 forest-green-over-rust Ford Maverick, bought in 1997.

So my vehicles have traditionally been the kind I could leave parked in any neighborhood with the windows down and which would still be there when I got back. Most of the time I lock my doors to protect my cassette collection, 'cos it's usually more valuable than the car.

But now we have a shiny new-ish Focus. And for the first time in my life, I bought a "club"--a large metal bar that locks across the steering wheel, the better to prevent strangers with a liberated attitude towards the concept of private property from taking the car away.

We don't really need one. Ford now puts a microchip in the keys. I'm not wild about the idea: I feel it lends itself too easily to privacy violations, but it's effective as hell. It is impossible to start the car without the chip. And it's impossible to properly program the chip unless you already have the key*. Still, we bought the club. Why?

After careful thought, I rationalize it thus: The car itself is about as secure as I could wish. Short of actually stealing my keys or carjacking me, a thief can do nothing once he's broken the windows to get in.

But while he's in there he might steal my cassettes, or my maps, or go looking for the vials of crack that I never keep in my car, using a knife on the upholstery.

So the club is a message, it says:
To the person with the hungry eyes and the junkie rash who's peering thoughtfully at the steering wheel:

The owner of this car is sufficiently security-conscious that he doesn't keep money, food, or other interesting items in his car. Nor handy vials of crack.

This you can tell by the fact that despite the already impressive security in place to prevent the unauthorized borrowing of his vehicle while he is away, the owner has nonetheless fitted a "club"-type anti-theft device to the wheel.

Now go your way in peace.

And it works, too. Yesterday the SO parked in the Downtown East Side, a raffish neighbourhood to say the least, where recent Olympic celebrations have resulted in a massive increase in the homeless junkie quotient, Mme Metro wisely installed the club on the wheel.

Upon her return, not only was the car still there, but she herself had to call a locksmith to cut the club off. It cost $40. Which was slightly less than it might have cost me to FedEx her the key she took off her ring last month on the assumption that in our bucolic new home we wouldn't need it.

It occurs to me that in that neighbourhood she should have asked a passer-by.

*Note to Ford customers: Ford actually prints the wrong instructions on how to code new keys in its manuals. It also charges $30 to program a new key. When I, grinding my teeth flat with frustration at my own inability to program my spare keys, no matter how carefully I followed said instructions, asked my dealer about it he claimed it was a "security thing". He did not charge me the $30, and I would not have paid if he had. Concealing information like this makes the company liable.

The logic seems to run: in case a thief stole my car, using a working key, he could not then copy the key so that he'd have a spare.


At 11:12 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

I always tell people; cars aren't stolen from here, they're stolen to here. A bit annoying about the lock, though.

The club very clearly says to junkie break-in artists, there are other cars that will be easier to rob. Well worth the money.

At 7:09 a.m., Blogger Metro said...

Perhaps. But the single time we've used it in the past six months it cost me $40 to get it removed!

At 2:24 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Ever replaced a window?


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