Would You Like To Buy A Rear-view Mirror?
Last night, in heavy traffic, after almost a week of light traffic going home, I suddenly saw some guy running down the street between the lanes, carrying… what is that? It was a rear-view mirror. The right rear-view mirror of a Toyota Alphard, if I’m not mistaken.The Alphard is a large luxury MPV with nifty features like power doors and stuff, not to mention the spacious interior. It’s one of the more popular of the large luxury MPV class in Indonesia, all imported (and thus unbelieveably expensive) and thus so its spare parts. This applies to almost all imported cars in Indonesia, and, believe it or not, there are a lot of these imported cars, from your Mini Coopers, New Beetles, Ferraris to your Toyota Land Cruisers, in Jakarta, keeping in mind that they cost a house (or two).So imported spare parts are big business – and so is the more shady side of the business. The easiest part to steal from a car, if not stealing the car itself, is the external rear-view mirror, usually stolen when the car is stuck in traffic. The theives will just stake out a busy intersection, and go up to the victim car either by foot or on motorcycle, and pry the mirrors off, all within 5-10 seconds. Bam! Your mirrors are gone, and you have to plunk down Rp 5 million – around USD 500 – to buy a new pair. I might be wrong about the price, though, but it’s pretty expensive, considering that USD 0.50 is enough for a satisfying lunch.So some car owners print the car’s license plate number on the mirror itself, to at least make the rear-view mirror less attractive to sell at the black market. Then again, thieves steal first and think later. Some just forget about the external rear-view mirror altogether and invest in rear-view cameras (oh how very high-tech).It’s sometimes strange on how rich people buy obviously expensive cars with the risk of it being a prime target for thieves – if not the car, the rear-view mirrors will do.