Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vandalism is theft

If you were careless or foolish enough to leave your wallet lying around on your desk or in the street, you might not be surprised if some self-help merchant helped himself to the contents. The act would be theft: taking the property of another with intent permanently to deprive the rightful owner.

When I came back to Beloved Wife’s car in IKEA’s car park a little while back, I was very disappointed to discover a pair of deep scores across the bonnet. Evidently some overloaded shopper had staggered out of IKEA and used the bonnet as a handy shelf to put his or her shopping on while rummaging for car keys. Sliding the shopping off the bonnet left a pair of parallel scratches. I was incandescent with fury! After I’d tried and failed to deal with the scratches with coloured polish, the car eventually and inevitably ended up having the bonnet panel resprayed. Ouch, my wallet!

Is it reasonable to interpret the car damage as the same as theft? I think it is. Choosing to repair it reduces brass in pocket just as effectively as getting robbed. Failing to have the repair done reduces the car’s eventual trade-in value, making the financial effect much the same. Remember, this not fair wear and tear. It’s additional and unnecessary extra depreciation.

I see very little difference between someone nicking Dh1000 out of my wallet and someone else doing Dh1000 of damage to my car. Anyone who has ever had to fork out for a session in the automotive body shop will realise that Dh1000 doesn’t actually buy very much in the Departments of Panel Beating and Paint Spraying. The primary difference is that if you catch a thief, the full weight of the law drops upon him as if from a great height. Compare this with the victim of a vandalised motor vehicle, who is advised to go and get a life. Remember Jayne’s Hubs’ Harley? That was even worse than my experience: malicious damage rather than incompetence, and a hugely expensive custom spray job rather than a stock colour.

Motor vehicles can be a particularly emotive subject when damaged. But I ask the “Get a life” brigade, what if the target of the damage is your prize tomatoes or your recently repainted garden wall? What if a hacker trashes your website?

Incidentally, while randomly surfing the net, I found links to a product that, if it works, would be very useful.



hemlock said...

GG, for minor scrapes, rubbing some brake oil (from the car) with tissue paper works miracles... at least it did with my black car :) havent tried it on white.
umm... been there done that? my car was banged into (while parked) and they didnt even leave a sorry note. kids in the building scratched the bonnet, side panel, two doors AND the boot with a key - all in one go... i had to have my ENTIRE car repainted - the pain was too much, since it was less than two months old :)
ive gotten over it, but i cant get it out of my mind; and i hope to raise children who value other peoples' property as much as they do their own.

i*maginate said...

Totally agree. I wonder what they'd think if someone did that to them! I mean what kind of planet are they from? Someone's done it to me too, and I know who it was as I always check for scratches and I noticed it the next morning in my private parking space. Tempting to exact revenge, but I will just have a 'polite' word.

The other day, I stopped in my car to have a snack and saw this lady with her toddler son try to manaouvre her trolley laden with goods through 2 cars. I could see she was struggling as she tried to get to her driver on the road in front. I couldn't bear an imminent scratching incident so I got out of my car and lifted the trolley accross the pavement to get to her driver, then got back to eating lol! The lady in black had stressed but thankful eyes :P

Magnus said...

I feel your pain. Just a few days after buying our new car some years ago now we came out to it one morning and it had noticeably large dents in the hood, like a couple of people had been planting their behinds there when chatting for a while. That really ticked me off.

dubaibilly said...

Absolutely infuriating GG. Mrs DB had her car vandalized whilst a work a couple of weeks ago - people care less and less about other peoples property and, in my opinion, often set out to cause damage!

Mars said...

well the 'get a life' party seriously doesn't understand how insensitive the comment is - until something happen to them. yet at the same time, what come someone really do?

Jayne said...

Sadly, I know exactly how you feel & it grates my tits no end that people are so bloody thoughless and/or apathetic. It's going to set Hubs back some Dh6000 for a paint job & I'm not afraid to say that if I ever get my size 9 boots near the git that inflicted the damage to Eish! then he/she will be choking on their words about 'getting a life'. Just because a certain minority think that all posessions are 'disposable', it doesn't mean we ALL think that way.


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