Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dude, where’s my car?

Stereotypes exist for a reason. There is usually some note of truth to them.
For the record, I would like at this moment to state that I am American. I weigh 52 kilograms. I know that Europe is not a country.
While I don’t like the stereotype that Polish people are car thieves, it is the structure of the sentence I disagree with not the message behind it.
In Poland, it is likely that your car could be stolen, more likely than in some other countries (unless you drive an American car not at all useful for re-sale or the chop shop). The thief most likely will be Polish (or Ukranian, let’s spread our stereotypes around a little). If your whole car is not stolen, then it is likely that something sellable from your car will go missing such as your halogens, wing mirrors or hub-caps. So Polish people are not car thieves per se. I mean I know a lot of Polish people and I don’t think there is even one car thief among them, but it is likely that your car will be stolen or otherwise molested in Poland and the culprits are also likely to be from Poland.
I would like to avoid all criminal activity at home and abroad. For the record as an American I would much rather have my hubcaps stolen than get shot.
For the record, I would like to state at this moment that I have a German brother-in-law. He is a nice guy. He is hardworking, enjoys order and isn’t quite sure whose fault WW2 was. It could be Poland’s fault. He has a BMW x5.

During a trip to visit us in Poland, my b-i-l was a little bit worried about his BMW x5. I told him not to worry, that it’s just a stereotype that Polish people steal cars, especially German cars (Welcome to Poland. Your car is already here). He considered taking another of his vehicles but since they all start with BMW we told him it didn’t really make much of a difference.
And did they steal his car? His car parked in front of our building next to our car? His car parked directly in front of the booth of the night security guard of the bakery opposite us. Well, no they didn’t steal it, but that’s only because the thieves got their car-stealing thingamajig stuck in the starter and couldn’t get it out. My b-i-l said he wished that they had stolen it because he would get a new one the next day. This way they just fecked up the whole steering column and the starter and he was without a car for 3 days waiting for it to get fixed.
My neighbor had a car that I thought was theft-proof. Well not theft-proof, but I thought nobody would want it. She had a Fiat Seicento. Who’d want that? Apparently, the chop shop would.
A few months ago as I waited for my student to arrive for his morning lesson, I wondered to myself what was keeping him. For sure it was traffic, or he overslept, or his kids had a problem or they just had a late start. Nope, somebody stole his Sharon mini-van complete with the kids’ car seats.
A student of mine had his car stolen in Warsaw. The only problem was that he was still in the car at the time. My former boss’s next door neighbor’s car was stolen from their garage in the middle of the night. My boss, who was up with his new baby, thought it odd that they were going somewhere at 3 o’clock in the morning and that they had left the garage door open, but hey, it could happen. Beer run to Żabka? The thieves were frustrated to find out that they were not skilled enough to sell the car on the black market and the owner who was fully insured was not willing to pay ransom for the car.
Our cars are not especially interesting for car thieves. We lost our hubcaps from our previous car but American cars are a bad bet for car thieves. While we were on vacation, our neighbor took care of our place and our cars, not to mention her own cars and her parent’s car when they were on vacation. Well, one of these cars was stolen, but it wasn’t ours.
Ok, ok to be fair my parent’s car was stolen about 30 years ago. And that’s the end of the story because I don’t know anyone else in the States whose car was stolen.
How did I get on the topic of stolen cars? I was planning to write about a conversation I had with a former classmate that started, “Refresh, my memory. Where is Poland, again?”
I guess I will leave that for next time, so until then…

10 comments:

Stardust said...

Guess what:)
My ex-husband one morning left for work and quickly came back telling me that our car was stolen, and he just turned around to catch the bus and train to work.
For a few days we believe it to be stolen, hell what would I know since the night before he came very late. It was about 4-5 days when his friend called asking when he is going to pick up the piece of crap that he left on his back yard while they were drinking:)))
So after all the shmuck himself left the car at his friend and didn't remember it.

Stardust said...

Forgot to say, my ex was Polish:))

Chris said...

Star - That's funny because my parents and my neighbor were so surprised by their cars being stolen that they were sure they must have left the car somewhere the night before...but they hadn't :(

As for your ex...that must have been one heck of party ;)

kama said...

Hi Chris :)
It's Kama here. Do you think it's more worthy for me to ship my car from US to Poland or is it better to buy a car in Poland? Could you give me some advice? Thank you :)

Chris said...

Hi Kama-

I think it depends on the car. We decided to send our car because it was new but nobody in the US wanted to buy it, and I had bought it before I got residence in Poland so I wouldn't have to pay the tax.

It pays to send your car if you have the right to send a car without paying the tax (and maybe you have some other household items you'd like to ship inside the car), it is new(ish), it is an expensive car (would be more expensive here) or it is a car that would be difficult to get here (a special kind of mini-van or something like that).

We sent our car from NJ to Warsaw for $1000. including insurance. The port of entrance was Gdynia I think and I had the option to pick it up there or in Warsaw. I think the price has gone up a bit, but it was worth it for us then.

I almost forgot, I had to get permission from the Polish Embassy in the US to send the car without tax. I don't think that applies to you.

What car are you thinking about sending? Another option if you plan to operate your own business in PL(or bizmes, as one of my friends says), you could lease a car and deduct the payments to reduce your tax liability.

I hope that helps :)

kama said...

Dzieki piekne za informacje i za pomoc.
Jeszcze nie wiem jaki samochod mielibysmy kupic i wyslac do Polski. Sprawdzam ceny samochodow i dochodze do wniosku, ze moze raczej nastawic sie na kupno w Polsce. Tutaj musze zaplacic rowniez za przesylke i za przerobki a wiec moze wszystko wyjsc cennowo tak samo. Zobaczymy. Dziekuje slicznie raz jeszcze i do uslyszenia :):):) kama

Chris said...

Kama - You are very welcome. Anytime and anything :) Just prepare yourself for the gasoline prices.

When's the big move?

kama said...

Bardzo bym chciala pojechac do domu nastepnego lata. Najwiekszy problem to sprzedac dom tutaj w USA. Na razie wyrzucam, oddaje, maluje i odnawiam co mozna. Potem bede musiala sie martwic o prace. Wlasciwie juz sie martwie. Chcialabym uczyc angielskiego tak jak to robilam wczesniej ale co zrobic z praca mojego meza? Tego nie wiem. Pocieszam sie sama , ze bedzie dobrze. Pozdrowienia :)kama

Nicole said...

Oh no! Car theft! Every car owner should always be on guard and make sure that their car is safe, wherever it is parked. Also, make it a habit to never leave valuables inside your car unattended. We must never be caught off guard, because in one wrong move, you might lose your car in a blink of an eye.

-Nicole Vickers

Rhonda Burgess said...

I'm not sure where that stereotype care from, but I think it's more of a particular area or neighborhood, rather than a population as a whole, that is responsible for such a reputation. While there are many anti-theft accessories that are available nowadays, nothing beats having an extra set of eyes to watch your car, be it a friend or your neighbors. Hopefully that list has not grown over the years. Take care!

Rhonda Burgess @ Bob Dunn Hyundai