By on May 2, 2016

CRX with finger

TTAC commenter Piston Slap Yo Mamma has given us a great gift.

While perusing used cars on his local Craigslist site, he noticed a trend occurring in the vehicle images. Fingers. Lots of them. Obscuring license plates. Possibly, revealing more about the driver than the plate itself.

So numerous were these crooked appendages, often topped with purple or naturally yellow nails, that he felt the need to share them. So, this Tumblr page was born.

“I developed a weird and unhealthy fascination,” he told us.

Craigslist is often a wild and woolly place — I mean, we’ve all looked for…used articles before — but placing a vehicle ad simply means you’re looking to lure invite someone over to check out and buy your faded and rusty heap of crap.

The fact that it’s plated only shows the prospective buyer that you might be reputable. Or at least licensable.

Still, people who drive their vehicles all over town with plates in full view suddenly get bashful when it comes time to invite the world over to check out their Honda’s horrific paint quality. It’s enough to make you believe there’s a number of weirdos on Craigslist. Or Witness Protection Program participants.

Or, that a vehicle’s sagging rear suspension wasn’t caused by carrying trunkloads of goodwill items to the Salvation Army every weekend.

Whatever the reason, the phenomenon is growing. And so are the online tribute pages.

As for Yo Momma, his trip down the Craigslist rabbit hole netted him a nice, grandmother-owned Subaru Legacy wagon. Fingers not included.

[Image: dabidoh.tumblr.com]

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79 Comments on “Let Your Fingers do the Blocking: Craigslist’s Paranoid Plate Appendages...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    My car is #1!! (or maybe, F-U if you don’t buy my car). You can interpret the intent in so many different, colorful ways!

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      “this one… this one is my car” meanwhile it is the only car in focus let alone in the parking lot.

      I think an honorable mention should be given to the craigslist users that post pics of their car at night time when the only thing lower than their IQ is the number of LUX their smartphone’s ccd sensor had to work with.

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      Turns out that I’m NOT the only one with an unhealthy disgust for ugly digits in car photos. I’m fascinated by why people think they can post everything on FB, not care about automated plate readers tracking their movements and keep all their private details in ‘the cloud’ where corporations can & do sell the info -but feel they’ve affirmatively protected … I don’t know what … by sticking their gnarly fingers in pictures.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The Finger People are just letting you know they’re a dumb ass, and you shouldn’t buy their pile of crap.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      They are a special combination of lazy and stupid. It is a dummy see dummy do practice and I’m sure most of these followers aren’t able to verbally express the threat that they feel they are mitigating by not posting a picture of their license plate on the intertubes.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “Mah cuuuuzin hurrd a story whey’ a man done got robbed wen he putted a pick on he’s ad, an then summ’m sicko got his address from he’s plate numbers. An I ain’t riskin’ eeit!”

        • 0 avatar
          Piston Slap Yo Mama

          His finger failed to obscure the letter P and it’s a white CRX in Texas – that’s all the data I need to track this guy down and murder him in his sleep.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    For what it’s worth, I was noting this over the weekend and looking at it as a whole I was able to notice that generally the worst cars on the search page were the ones with the fingers. Like someone it going to find where you live and come rob you after posting your $1500 Cavalier on CL despite the fact that someone posted a $35k 4Runner right after you did.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    The fingernail took a selfie and the car photobombed it, bummer!

  • avatar
    brettc

    Quite the interesting Tumblr page… I sold a car on CL and covered up the plate, just because I guess. But I used MS Paint to obscure it like any mostly sane person would do.

    I don’t want to see my fingers in the pictures, so why would anyone else?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    A properly trained medical professional can detect a massive amount of the overall health of a person with just a cursory glance of their cuticles.

  • avatar
    06V66speed

    Pffft. It makes plenty of sense, guys.

    Just straighten up that tin foil hat. You’ll get it. And yes, tin foil hat is required.

  • avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    The finger blots out the puddle of coolant forming under the radiator…

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    This baffles me. My M235i has a very distinctive personalized plate (RAPTOR) and is one of MAYBE five in my entire state. So if I post it for sale suddenly I should be wary of letting anyone see the plate? WTF is that all about?

    Can one of our resident tinfoil hat brigade tell me what the problem is supposed to be?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I have decided lately I enjoy personal plates when they’re A) funny or B) very clever.

    • 0 avatar
      badreligion702

      One thing I can tell you, is you need to update your avatar.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Why? I still own the infamous 328! as well. Love it more than my luggage, as the saying goes. I enjoy it just as much, they complement each other very well. But if I had to pick just one, it would not be the M235i – too impractical.

        • 0 avatar
          badreligion702

          I also love my 328i. For some reason I thought you had traded in. I take back my initial comment.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I plan to be buried in it, since BMW refuses to sell me another RWD stickshift station wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was behind a 428i x-Drive this morning (in dark graphite) – that one’s a looker! It’s a BMW I actually like the looks of, so I’m sure it’s probably $65,000. I’d have white with a red interior.

            Edit: A 4-cylinder 2.0 in those, really?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yes, 428 is powered by a 2.0T. And no stick, either.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Per Google: 2016 BMW 428i Manual Coupe
            Luxury vehicle

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            And a most brilliant 240hp 2.0T it is, too. The six is largely pointless in the US, lovely though it also may be.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Something else from today. I was next to a new 528 in traffic, and he had the stop-start on obviously. Letting off the brake, it made the most elegant KRE-CHUNNN as it kicked back on.

            Is it possible to permanently disable that system? What a lame way to arrive anywhere where people have ears.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            My bad. I was thinking 428 GranCoupe (i.e. 4 door)

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You can certainly option one that high, but I think you can do pretty well for in the low $50Ks. Then do Euro Delivery and beat up the dealer and get it for $46K or so. I got almost $7K off my M235i including the club rebate.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Yes, you can turn the stop/start off, and it stays off. Doesn’t bother me particularly, though of course with an automatic it can’t read minds so can’t tell if you are stopping for a second or 5 minutes. In my stickshift car, it only shuts the engine off if you are in neutral with the clutch out, so a complete non-issue.

            In the real world it has to contribute to the ridiculously good fuel economy I have seen in 328is and 228is in Atlanta traffic. I always rent from Sixt in Atlanta, and they usually give me one or the other.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Sure.

      (adjusting my Reynolds-Wrap beanie)

      The problem is…singling out your plate for notice.

      On the street, there’s a tide of license plates.

      On Craigslist, or on Facebook pages…there is just your car and your plate. And thousands of marginally-functional idiots in their underwear looking at it; with all the time in the world to cyber-stalk.

      Why is it that goofballs like John Hinckley fixate on certain Hollywood actresses? There are women as beautiful and more beautiful, walking by those nuts every day. But in the movie industry, individual semi-attractive women like Jodie Foster are PRESENTED. And unemployable crazies then fixate on them.

      I think it’s a wise move on the part of posters to obscure the plate. It adds nothing to the ad and it prevents idle perusing of state registration records and Internet stalking tools.

      • 0 avatar
        Piston Slap Yo Mama

        youtu.be/Tcwz8-EfFYE
        (Insane sniper) Say your prayers halfbreed!
        (The Jerk) He hates these cans! Stay away from the cans!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Sure seems like it would be much easier to simply use the *contact info provided in the ad* to find out where the person selling the car lives than somehow get around Federal law to get that info from the license plate.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Cover the plate just in case your used vehicle ends up as an ISIS gun platform and your plate gets recognized and local hillbilly’s start threatening you and you have to get a gun to defend yourself and then Trump’s election platform starts to make sense and Putin starts to look good and…..

  • avatar

    Here’s my name, my phone number, my vehicle, and the general area in which I live – but I’m not sharing my plate number, no sir!

    The intelligence and selective ethics of Craigslist people never fail to amaze me.

    “BUT WATS UR BEST PRICE THO?????”

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      “Hello, I like your car at best price offered. Please provide me your bank account information so I can send you amount required to purchase. To discuss delivery when transaction is complete.”

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    As a software developer I’d say it is a good idea. You just can’t trust software being secure and the publisher does the right thing these days. Might as well do it with the way you trust: optical physics.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      If it was something you needed to keep secure, sure.

      But what’s sensitive about your license plate number? I mean, the entire point of them is that they’re plainly visible to everyone around the car and all…

      It’s also in an image, rather than in text, so simple site skimming robots can’t read it; while one could easily enough write software to OCR the data out, *why would anyone want to*?

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      This obsession with obscuring plates has puzzled me as well. If there was some kind of mischief that could be done with a plate number I’m sure it would be done by one of the thousands of people that see one’s car as it’s driven daily. It’s against federal law to divulge much to non-official inquiries, yet even TV news outlets routinely obscure plates.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Maybe the title isn’t all that clear? Heres a burner email and a throw away phone #, but I’d rather no one looking for this plate knows I’ve stuck it on this car and am selling both with a BS title… Sure, they’re most likely just stupid, but maybe they’re selling stolen cars to the unwary?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am so delighted with this thread. I have always wondered why sellers cover the license plate. I see license plates of all different colors and versions everyday when I, you know, drive around and stuff. I guess now that I think about it, what information have I been failing to gather from all of these various license plates I see every day.

  • avatar
    cpu

    If you are looking for a used car you can pull an unlimited number of Carfax reports with the plate number and the state. You only get 5 with the VIN. If you are covering the plate and won’t give it to me over the phone, I assume the title is hinky or you are trying to hide previous problems.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    This posting has to be the most retarded posting yet for neo-TTAC.

    apologies to the mentally handicapped and the electricity running the TTAC server for being associated with this.

    cheers.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Come here often?

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      I’m aghast. Flummoxed. Dumbfounded. Bewildered that the relevance of this eludes you.
      To that end we’re mailing you a refund for the balance of your subscription.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        isn’t it amazing how much energy people will spend complaining about stuff they “don’t want to read?” It’s like the old joke about “the food is terrible and the portions are too small.”

        much easier not to read it in the first place.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’ve found that searching CL’s automotive section for words like “asshole” is a nearly endless font of hilarity.

  • avatar

    I did a post here about a JDM Nissan GT-R with “R-34” vanity plates that was at the Eyes On Design show here in Detroit. The owner contacted me and asked me to blur out the plate in the photos we published. I thought that was rather silly considering the guy was displaying it at top shelf car show but the guy insisted that there were a number of cars in the local import tuner community that had gotten stolen from the owners’ homes, so they thought they were being tracked down via their plates in published photos. We accommodated the request.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I can understand the paranoia. Still, some of these guys share more than enough personal information on-line that you really don’t need the plate to track them down. If you have a really valuable vehicle, don’t discuss it at all on social media. If you do, don’t give out specifics for someone that might be “parts shopping”.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I’d for sure do the chick with the black Miata and purple nail polish.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Don’t know how true it is, but the reason one forum gave is that some jurisdictions allow the public to look up a person by their license plate number. True or not they didn’t want members posting pictures with other people’s license plates.

    I don’t know about Craigslist, but Kijiji does allow you to post without exposing any contact information.

    As for the trend of fingers, my guess is modern technology. People used to take a picture with their digital camera, upload to their computer, edit the photo and post it for sale. Now you can do everything from your phone. Except most people are not interested in learning how to edit a photo on their phone. Hence the finger. Somebody did that, others saw it and thought, “they must have done that for a reason” so they do the same. I swear, people are like cattle sometimes.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      “some jurisdictions allow the public to look up a person by their license plate number”

      Been against federal law since 1994. Google “DPPA”

    • 0 avatar
      Piston Slap Yo Mama

      TDIGuy – yep. That same scenario is playing out in the digital music realm too – a decade ago people knew how to rip their cd’s to mp3’s and put the files on their iPods, Sansas or Treos. Nowadays when I ask Millenials about their music it’s entirely Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services. Nobody knows how to do the simplest of file transfers or conversions and the corporations encourage that for obvious reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      I get being too lazy to use technology properly, but I don’t get being too lazy to buy a roll of duct tape or masking tape at the Dollar Tree and cover the plate with it.

  • avatar
    7402

    Where I live, Virginia, license plates belong to people and not cars. I want to see the license plate on a used car that is for sale because a recently issued one means the seller really wants to get rid of something recently acquired for some reason.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Michigan is the same way. You sell your car, you take the plate off. The buyer is legally permitted to drive the car directly home, just need to have the assigned title on hand.

  • avatar
    ThunderWarBird

    FYI, your so called tribute page is much older than what you claim is the original.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Sure, the finger wave license number cover is annoying…However, even more annoying is the posting of cars for sale with poorly lighted pics, pics too far away to see the car, sometimes only one or two pics, minimal info, sometimes no listing as to mileage, and more importantly, often times you have to guess whether it is a stick shift or automatic. Even worse, no price posted…no price, no look…just forget it…

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Pictures and info are overated anywho, just call me up but no stupid questions! No haggling!

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Selling my 2002 Bemer, call me if your intrested. Sory for the bad picks

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think my favorite might be when they have a typo in the car’s name, OR when the listing reads:

        “1993 Buick 2-dr”
        “90 98 oldsm”
        “GMC Blazer SUV”
        “Jeep 4door”

        People, none of those titles work.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        Runs great, new breaks (what’s broken is never mentioned),never mind the dead prostitute in the trunk.

        I get a kick out of the people who spell their phone number.

        Eight-7-one five-5-five 4-one-2-three

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I use to think people covering their license plate while posting the photo of their car on various forums/FB groups were dumb. Obviously if on FB I know who you are. But then I heard about insurance companies and manufactures (Subaru) checking out sites to deny claims/raise rates based on these photos. But on CL I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Just like CL adverts , this thread is fun to read .

    Which one of you stole my tinfoil hat ?! .

    It never occurred to me to try ‘ asshole ‘ so I’m off to give that a go .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’ve only done this once, but instead of using my ugly finger I carefully draped a cloth around the plates.

    I dunno what turns me off more about a craigslist ad, a filthy finger, or the statement “No problems”.

    Then theres always “runs great bring battery”, since people cant at least charge their batteries for free at an auto parts store.

  • avatar
    Chan

    There is a cultural sensitivity here that may be missed.

    In some cultures, although you have no legal expectation of privacy in a public place, it’s customary respect to hide the plate of a stranger or friend.

    This removes potentially permanent evidence of a particular car belonging to a particular person appearing at a certain place and time.

    On car spotting forums based in Hong Kong, if you photograph a particular car as a subject, you will likely get reminded to blur out the plate. If it’s just an overall street scene focusing on no particular vehicle, plate numbers are OK.

    This may also be true for mainland China, but I’m not sure.

    Blocking with your finger on a sale ad is just lazy and shows a lack of effort in presentation. If the car is worth any significant sum of money I would likely pass based on that plus the probable treasure chest of spelling errors.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Happened to be looking something up on Google Street View today and noticed that plates are all blocked there as well.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    The blurring and blocking has really gotten ridiculous. Watch any type of reality TV and you’ll see blurred: license plates, airplane registration numbers (really distracting on small planes where the registration numbers cover a significant percentage of surface area) logos on hats or clothing being worn, manufacturer’s insignia on vehicles (on those real estate house hunting shows the Ford Oval or GMC bowtie or whatever is often covered with black tape on the agent’s car), phone numbers on the doors of tradesmen’s cars, etc etc. Particularly funny was a show called Swamp Loggers that always blurred the logging company’s phone number on their vehicles, even though the whole show was about that company!

    I just figured they had the blurring software, they paid a lot for it, and they’re going to get their money’s worth! To me all the blurring just detracts from the whole show.

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