By on February 23, 2017

Jiffy Lube in Durham, Image: By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Last year, I told you that your quick-lube place was probably snitching on you to your insurance company — and to Carfax. Did you make any changes in the way you have your car serviced because of that? I’m thinking that you did not, because you probably have nothing to hide. A surprising number of the commenters on that article were on the side of the insurance companies and Carfax, and their rationale was generally some variant on “I’m not going to commit insurance fraud, nor will I commit odometer fraud, so why should I care if my car’s mileage is in a database somewhere?”

Earlier this week, Scott Adams learned the hard way what you, the TTAC reader, already know about the relationship between small auto business and Big Data. For him, however, the lesson might come at a major cost. Because this time, the data was wrong.

Scott calls it The Paperwork Mistake That Made My Luxury Car Worthless. Here’s the meat of it:

My BMW X5 SUV is in the shop for its third leak-related problem this year… the dealership’s used car manager called and offered to buy it because there is demand for that model in the used market… The used car manager called me later to tell me my car only has “salvage value.” It turns out that the last two times I took it to “Big O” for tire repairs they wrote down my mileage incorrectly. One time they recorded it as 30,000 miles. Another time they said 80,000 miles. The actual mileage is around 50,000.

That double-paperwork-error by the tire shop made its way to the Internet and the CarFax service that dealers use to know whether cars have had accidents or other issues. The mileage discrepancy automatically puts my car in the “probably turned-back the odometer” category. And that means it has no resale value to dealers or anyone else who checked online.

Apparently I can fix this problem by providing documentation of my correct mileage. I probably don’t have that documentation because the only other people who ever checked my mileage were the dealership that is telling me my car is now officially garbage.

This is the problem with Big Data in a nutshell: it’s really, really hard to effectively contradict it without acting in an unethical manner. Scott could fix this problem in a heartbeat by doing the following:

  • Go to local independent shop;
  • Get some service done;
  • Take the receipt home;
  • Photoshop it for mileage and date;
  • Print it out;
  • Crinkle it up;
  • Take a photo of it;
  • Submit it to Carfax.

Extra SUPER GENIUS points awarded if he changes the phone number to his own Google Voice number then “verifies” the receipt when some $8/hr call-center employee from Carfax checks it out.

Of course, Scott doesn’t need to do any of this. He is wealthy enough for this to be a trivial matter, the same way I don’t really care if I sell one of my old Japanese guitars for $250 instead of $350. But few of us can afford to be that cavalier about the value of a major asset.

What’s the takeaway from this? On the micro level, it’s simple: Verify the mileage on your repair paperwork, and retain that paperwork as long as you have the car. That will protect you from anything but a fumble-finger on the part of the person reporting to Carfax, and it will give you a resolution path if you need it.

Viewed in a larger context, this is the sort of thing that should keep American parents up at night. It is the effect of the “chabuduo” culture that we’ve imported along with the uncounted and unaccountable millions of immigrants to this country. That’s also how we got “Dutch” elm disease and the emerald ash borer that destroyed the old-growth trees of my neighborhood; a bunch of people who grew up not giving a shit about anything having an uneasy interface with the traditional American systems.

My child, and your children, will have to grow up in a country where the old rules no longer apply. We take a lot on faith in the United States. We drive over bridges without fear and we do 75 mph over blind hills on the freeway because we believe that there won’t be a foot-deep pothole on the far side. We don’t double-check the work that our mechanics or electricians or doctors perform. And we don’t read the mileage on our service receipts because we trust that the person in the shop took the absolutely minimal extra effort required to make sure that the mileage is at least in the rough ballpark of reality.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Our children will learn to cope in a country where most people are doing the minimum possible to get by and the word of Big Data is incontrovertible. It’s enough to make me want to take my Quietus and die in my favorite Natuzzi chair while listening to a Jason Vieaux disc. Unfortunately, as a parent I don’t get to check out before the job is done. So batten down those hatches, ladies and gentlemen, and prepare for a lifetime of (self-)service. And if you’re dealing with “Big O” Tires, then you should make sure that you look twice at the receipt.

[Image: By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons]

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199 Comments on “Scott Adams Finds Out What TTAC Readers Already Know...”


  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I know of 2 instances where incorrect data made it to the auto reporting services and correcting it for both was a nightmare. On one the dude tacoed a rim on his Challenger. Insurance replaced the rim and tire and did an alignment. Reported to CARFAX as major collision with airbag deployment. He gave up trying to fix it and took a bath on trading it.

    The other dude had a major collision with airbag deployment reported during a time we were deployed to Kandahar and his car was verified to have been on the POV storage lot locked in a garage. He got it fixed but it took months.

    My point to all this is that these reporting agencies are operating as credit reporting agencies for vehicles. Mistakes apparently happen fairly frequently that cost people real money and the safeguards for consumers are far less. Maybe they should move to a model of it being up to whoever is reporting the issue to verify and prove the claim if disputed versus the car owner having to prove it didn’t happen if they can’t clean up their act.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    It is complicated.

    A few people (the senior managers and/or creators of Carfax) enrich themselves a lot by offering a service that CAN BE useful.

    It usually works, but not always. When it does, there is a benefit to the users. And when it doesn’t, the victim faces HUGE inordinate hassles.

    Under the guise of being “more efficient”, there are many instances when technology has actually shifted more work back to people.

    In the past, if you had a problem with a cable company, or wanted to book an airline ticket, you called and spoke with some one.

    Now, ostensibly to “save money for the customer”, you need to go on-line. Or you call, provide your name and account number and security code, then you wait, then when your situation doesn’t fit the one of three options, eventually you talk to some one. This could take 5, 10, 20, 30, 45 minutes, for something that would have taken a fraction of the time.

    The “savings” flows helps prop up the CEO’s huge paycheck. The customer, and the poor $8/hour call person in Asia, bear the “costs”.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “Under the guise of being “more efficient”, there are many instances when technology has actually shifted more work back to people.”

      I despise this mentality with a passion. A few months back we went out to eat a Red Robin, where they have these “nifty” kiosks on the table that allow you to order appetizers and pay your check without your waiter coming by. It’s supposed to make things more efficient, except that they are often out of paper or for some reason don’t like the way you swiped your credit card. They think that they are saving time and money for the wait staff, but when the kiosk automatically suggests a 15% tip (when I usually tip 20%) then it’s short-changing the water. I’m not going to dick around with one of these kiosks trying to increase the tip for a waiter that ended up passing off part of their job to me in the first place. Same with Uno’s, they have them now too. I won’t eat at either place anymore.

      Then last week I went to take my kid to the doctor for an ear infection. When I called and made the appointment the receptionist said that they would be sending an email and to make sure that I checked in online before coming in. WTF? I told her in a firm tone that no, I’d be leaving work momentarily to pick up my kid at school and consequently would not have the time to check in via their web site. So when I arrived they had me check in via some Fisher-Price looking tablet. They insisted “Oh, it’s just the same paperwork that we used to do for you when you checked in, except it’s all electronic now!” Except that it’s not the same paperwork, there’s quite a bit more involved. Instead of being presented with a single sheet of paper for me to sign I had to spend 10 minutes flipping pages and agreeing to various ToSes on this tablet and answering questions that I’ve never seen before in my life. Guess who has to find a new pediatrician now?

      Executives thinking that they can increase profits by shifting their companies’ work to their customers need to be taken out back and beaten to death with a tire iron.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Reminds me of Bill Burr’s piece about automated grocery store checkout machines. “Here I was thought I was a comedian, looks like I work in a grocery store now!” I also despise the tablets at restaurants. You order it, you punch it in, you get your own check, you pay and you get out! Next, they’ll have us go back to the kitchen to get it ourselves. No thanks. I avoid self-checkout like the plague and I don’t go to Red Robin anymore. Unless they’re giving me a discount for doing their job, I have no intention of doing their work.

        • 0 avatar
          Adam Tonge

          U-Scan is the spawn of Satan. It saves me no time. If you breath on it, it will think you are stealing from the store and page an attendant.

          Also, how do they allow people to be on the honor system for produce? You are telling me that everyone buying $8.79/lb Honeycrisp apples are keying in the proper code? Ha. I bet they are all typing in the Red Delicious code.

          • 0 avatar
            ExPatBrit

            For all produce use 4072 (Russet Potato)

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “Also, how do they allow people to be on the honor system for produce?”

            I guarantee you that some analysts in an HQ building somewhere have spreadsheets, updated monthly, that include a very precise estimate of how much produce revenue is lost from dishonest code keying. And how much less that lost revenue is than the cost of three or four more checkers, and the square feet and equipment for their checkstands.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Wow; a perfectly reasonable treatise on the perils of how big data affects auto owners with a generic anti-immigrant rant just stuck there in the middle as pure comment and click-bait. Which, in my case, is working, I suppose.

    When do you date this “cabuduo” phenomenon starting? Because technicians at cut-rate auto repair shops have been screwing up everything related to auto repair and maintenance since pretty much as long as there have been repair shops.

    I’m sure you DO realize that the “these new immigrants (vs. the “real Americans” that immigrated over with our great-grandparents) are sloppy, lazy, no-good layabouts and set a bad example for the rest of us” goes back to as long as there has been an America long enough to have great-grandparents immigrate here.

    And those paragraphs could even be re-spun just by changing a few words into a “kids these days” bit instead, which I’m sure has been a perpetual complaint of old codgers as soon as some paleolithic knuckle-dragger managed to live long enough to BE an old codger.

    None of which has absolutely anything to do with a Kafakesque unaccountable faceless entity blindly trusting data from sources that cannot be trusted.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      “I’m sure you DO realize that the “these new immigrants (vs. the “real Americans” that immigrated over with our great-grandparents) are sloppy, lazy, no-good layabouts and set a bad example for the rest of us” goes back to as long as there has been an America long enough to have great-grandparents immigrate here.”

      I watched “Gangs Of New York” too.

      Almost all of my great-grandparents came over from Germany. Had jobs from day one. Learned the language and integrated and bought property and stayed out of trouble and built whatever wealth they could while sending their children to the best schools they could find. Volunteered for the armed forces even when it meant a scrap with the old homeland. Never took a handout or asked for one.

      On the negative side, most of us think the stainless steel top on the Biarritz was really classy, self included.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I may not agree with you but I will fight for your right to think the stainless steel top on the Biarritz was really classy (p.s. it was).

      • 0 avatar
        pdieten

        Yes, and the Muslim and Sikh immigrants in my neighborhood operate the same way as your great-grandparents did. Maybe you should take care to mind the size of that brush you’re painting with.

        • 0 avatar
          Sceptic

          What are those immigrants doing in your neighborhood? Isn’t this the typical example of wealthy West robbing the former third world colonies of their best and brightest? If we were to really help India and Somali and such we would institute a repatriation program to help those countries get themselves developed more quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          So you reduce immigrants identities down to their religion? They didn’t come from a country only a religion?

      • 0 avatar
        ctg

        Jack, no doubt you great-grandparents were hardworking, upstanding citizens.

        But are you sure that’s how my great-great-grandparents (who descended from Pilgrims) perceived them?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          With the exception of some unpleasantness around the World Wars, I don’t think German immigrants had much difficulty.

          Obviously, the Irish and Italian experience was different.

          • 0 avatar

            Jack Germans were looked down on in both World wars, but they were also shunned in polite East coast society as well, as they were viewed as heavy drinkers reluctant to learn the language. That may be why you see more German heritage in the midwest other then large settlements in PA. On the language front back in the mid 1800’s several German groups tried suing various states to force them to teach their children in public schools in German. There were also numerous enclaves of German communities that never learned English. My wifes Grand father grew up in one of those areas in PA His parents were 2nd generation Germans but spoke English poorly. Hard workers yes but a bit slower to fully meld with American society then you would think. I’m of English (Mass bay colony puritans), Irish, Swedish decent (even a little native american from an affair in the 1800’s according to my aunt’s genealogy research) I’m sure all of my relations had some trouble when they first got here, and I assume none assimilated as fast as we think they did.

          • 0 avatar
            chuckrs

            Veering close to the dreaded political commentary, I’d point out that after John Adams, the next President to use sedition laws was Woody Wilson, although it might possibly have been Edith….
            There were 1000 Sedition Act convictions, many involving German-Americans. This is of course far fewer affected individuals than the third go-around involving many more Japanese Americans under FDR.
            Somehow these don’t seem to get mentioned in the debate over Gitmo. For many of the younger sprogs’ lack of knowledge about these episodes, we can thank the public edumacation system.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Let’s not confuse the typical and entirely normal disdain shown by one group of Europeans to another with genuine concern about the future of one’s country.

            I heard plenty of jokes about Italians when I was in Brooklyn. But nobody seriously thought the Italians were going to undermine the nation.

          • 0 avatar

            Jack, I’m younger then you and I recall older relatives in my life time speaking very poorly of Italians, “that they would ruin the state if we let them creep out of Waterbury”. I think your portrayal of Italians, Irish and other European migrants into US society is a bit lacking.

            My Irish grandmother applied for a job at a large Insurance company in the 1950’s she was turned down because they did not hire the Irish, as they were not cut out for office work. She then worked for small companies until the 70’s when she was hired by the successor to that first insurance company.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            They even tried to put a man on the moon…

            … until they ran out of scaffold.

            ba-dum tsssss!

            (old joke)

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Veering close to the dreaded political commentary, I’d point out that after John Adams, the next President to use sedition laws was Woody Wilson, although it might possibly have been Edith….”

            it’s amazing, isn’t it? the ink wasn’t even dry on the Constitution before the founders started trying to wipe their a$$es with it.

            @mopar4wd

            “I think your portrayal of Italians, Irish and other European migrants into US society is a bit lacking.”

            welp, it’s easy to dismiss something when you believe that if you didn’t witness it, it never happened.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Let’s not confuse the typical and entirely normal disdain shown by one group of Europeans to another with genuine concern about the future of one’s country.”

            the most irritating thing about this whole discussion is the undercurrent of arrogance, as though your vision of what this country’s future should be is the “correct” one. You’re one among ~ 320 million. What makes you “right?”

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            That’s the problem with things like making major demographic changes to the United States; the result of the experiment takes fifty years to obtain. You can’t know if you’re right or not until it’s too late.

      • 0 avatar
        Jay_ar

        “Almost all of my great-grandparents came over from _______. Had jobs from day one. Learned the language and integrated and bought property and stayed out of trouble and built whatever wealth they could while sending their children to the best schools they could find. Volunteered for the armed forces even when it meant a scrap with the old homeland. Never took a handout or asked for one.”

        The same us true for all immigrants within their own capabilities. I hope you are not implying German immigrants are somehow better than others.

        Now… the asshole at the oil change place that folded the air filter to make it fit in my car is 100% product of the US. No need to go blaming immigrants.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Inter-European hatred did travel into North America.

          Canada changed its immigration laws in 1919 to allow for the deportation of those born in the former Russian Empire in order to protect us from the spread of Bolshevism. Does that sound familiar??

          The St Louis incident when Cuba, Canada and the USA refused a shipload of Jewish refugees from landing.

          The round-up and incarceration of ‘enemy aliens’ during WWII.

          Various riots, university quotas and hiring discrimination.

          The Ruling Class ensures its status by creating feuds among the serfs/peasants. Better that they mistrust and point fingers at each other rather than stop to see the true problem

          It is for that very reason that officers from all combatant nations ensured that there were no more Christmas truces after 1914. They were afraid that the soldiers, primarily from the working classes would join together and turn on their ruling class officers.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Yet one of the descendants of these hard working German immigrants, despite all of these advantages, became a self-confessed drug dealer. Engaged in the very type of criminal activity that supports Cartels and that would result in the deportation of someone in the country without permanent status.

        So does that demonstrate either a double standard or cognitive dissonance?

        • 0 avatar
          chuckrs

          Dutch Schulz would object to calling alcohol a drug…..

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          To the contrary.

          I was led astray by this consumer culture. I did terrible, terrible things so I could own Kiton jackets and eat at Ruth’s Chris five nights a week. I don’t regret it. I’m the victim here.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Then it must have also warped your taste buds. Ruth’s Chris has just about the worst steaks of any ‘reputable’ steakhouse that I have ever eaten at. Anywhere in North America.

            And if there were suddenly a round-up of people who have immigrated from the Indian sub-continent in the past 20 odd years, then I doubt that any restaurant in the Toronto area would be able to continue operating.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Thank G-d I don’t have to live or eat in Toronto, then.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I have to side with @sirwired.

        What does this have to do with immigrants?

        Sloppy work isn’t endemic to any particular race nor does it change based on how long one’s gene pool had been locally propagating.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Culture, not race.

          Sloppy work is endemic to certain cultures. You’d have to be blind not to see that.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Culture or race, it gets used interchangeably.

            I don’t tend to see a lot of that “cultural” sloppiness in Canada. The immigrants I see want to be here and tend to do better work than many of the locals.

            If one comes from some 3rd world backwater where life is cheap, then yes, there tends to be sloppiness in that culture. Environment shapes culture.

            We can debate this back and forth which is interesting but your initial comment had no place in the article. Sloppiness wasn’t imported. People grow fat and lazy.

            If a business doesn’t have proper checks and balances to prevent errors then errors will become more frequent. Example: Japanese transplants in the USA tend to produce better products than USA based ones.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Culture and race are not interchangeable and it’s sloppy to state that they are.

            As for your comment that “Sloppiness wasn’t imported. People grow fat and lazy.” I can’t agree. I’ve worked in various senior sysadmin positions for two decades and I’ve seen the business go to hell as a direct consequence of swapping out the nerds with the H1-Bs.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Who made the decision to bring in unqualified H-1Bs in the first place?

            I’m certain that person has an American passport and I’d put a dozen donuts on him being white.

            You would have gotten the same results by bringing in the Americans you could find at the wages the H-1Bs are being paid. It’s an issue of trying to run a business too cheaply, not race or “culture.”

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Except you just said it was the fault of a white person.

            So it’s race after all.

            Except it has to be the white race at fault.

            Is it also the fault of the white person for not being able to tell when an H1-B is lying in the interview? Is that the white man’s burden, to be so effortlessly superior to others that he takes responsibility for everything that happens?

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Culture, not race”

            Dogwhistle.

            “Sloppy work is endemic to certain cultures”

            Uh-huh. For a movement that purports to prizes individualism, modern conservatism is really quick to collectively tar whole groups of people.

            Mind you, modern conservatives are also the first to cry about oppression when their freedom to be bigots is curtailed, even by non-state actors, so hypocrisy isn’t a new thing, here.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “Dogwhistle.”

            What’s it like to be obsessed with race? Are you confused by things like the India-Pakistan war, or have you decided that Islam is a race? When people on the coasts say “MURICA” or make fun of poor whites, is that because people in West Virginia are actually a different race? Or is that racist to suggest?

            “For a movement that purports to prizes individualism, modern conservatism is really quick to collectively tar whole groups of people.”

            Are those whole groups of people cultures or races?

            Never mind, I yield the point. Culture is a cultural construct. There is nothing but the individual. Any differences you see between Paris, London, and Indianapolis are entirely imaginary. There is only the all-seeing-pyramid-eye of racial consciousness. Anything else is a dogwhistle. Congratulations, you’ve managed to boil all of human history down into one unimaginably stupid concept.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “So it’s race after all.”

            Hardly. Just making the point that the reason your company is suffering is not because of those brown people your boss decided to hire, but because he or she decided that providing adequate pay wasn’t necessary.

            “Is it also the fault of the white person for not being able to tell when an H1-B is lying in the interview?”

            Why is it any different when an H-1B lies in the interview than when the sort of American dregs you stir up when you advertise a job with pay at 2/3 of market rate do the same thing? Yes, it is a corporate manager’s job to understand why his management practices are failing. All racial/cultural issues aside, I’m thoroughly sick of the American elite’s pervasive practice of blaming poor management on the workers.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Jack Baruth – “Culture and race are not interchangeable and it’s sloppy to state that they are.”
            Agreed but they are used interchangeably. I was curious as the what response I was going to get when I said race.

            On the subject of sloppy statements:
            “direct consequence of swapping out the nerds with the H1-Bs.”

            What culture are “nerds” and what culture are “H1-B’s”?

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            This question can be answered by looking at any group shot of a tech company or department on an annual basis from, say, 1975 to 2015.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Never mind, I yield the point. Culture is a cultural construct.”

            Well, yes. That’s a given. Water would be wet, too”

            “Anything else is a dogwhistle. Congratulations, you’ve managed to boil all of human history down into one unimaginably stupid concept.”

            I’d be more accepting of this argument were it not a) rhetorical hyperbole, and b) your own lede stating that the problems with people being careless with data entry were down to the watering down of the American work ethic by foreigners who don’t give a damn, and your subsequent doubling-down on that argument.

            When a tenet of your post is basically “People from ______ are responsible for our moral decay”, you should expect to be called on it. Burying it in sophistry and talk of H1-B visas doesn’t make it any less of a dog-whistle because we damn well know it’s wink-wink to bigotry while still leaving yourself a rhetorical parachute.

            It’s in the same league as the kind of “…but I have black friends” schtick that Mr. Yiannopoulos pulled after similar offensive statements.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “When a tenet of your post is basically “People from ______ are responsible for our moral decay”, you should expect to be called on it.”

            You just made that up and ascribed it to me. Nice try.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Jack, You are incorrect when you write “Except it has to be the white race at fault.” For there is no such thing as a ‘white race’.

            Those classified as Caucasian include people originating from the Middle East, Persia and parts of the Indian sub-continent.

            The colour of their skin is therefore not consistently what some would describe as ‘white’.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I heard that George Zimmerman became a “white Hispanic” as soon as he shot Trayon.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “You just made that up and ascribed it to me. Nice try.”

            I was paraphrasing, and not inaccurately. To whit:

            “Sloppy work is endemic to certain cultures”

            “It is the effect of the “chabuduo” culture that we’ve imported along with the uncounted and unaccountable millions of immigrants to this country…a bunch of people who grew up not giving a shit about anything having an uneasy interface with the traditional American systems.”

            Exactly where _aren’t_ you saying that our problems—or specifically, Mr. Adams’—are down to sloppy work by immigrants who aren’t integrating properly?

          • 0 avatar

            “Sloppy work is endemic to certain cultures. You’d have to be blind not to see that.”

            If you want precision machining done, it’s likely going to be done in one of a half dozen countries and India and China aren’t on that list.

            We accept the fact that Italians have a great sense of style and can engineer very high performance automobiles. Whether they can make machines that last is an open question.

            How many car jokes have you heard and made about British cars and Jos. Lucas electrics being unreliable?

            I’m starting to source components for the Harmonicaster (TM) electric harmonica I’m bringing to market. I was talking to an importer about the potentiometers used for volume and tone controls and asked if they were made in China. She said no, they come from Taiwan. I suggested that Taiwan made better quality goods than China and her response was, “They have more consistent quality”.

            Now the Taiwanese are overwhelmingly Han, as are most Chinese, so there isn’t an ethnic or racial difference.

            Culture is a lot more important than race or economic standing at birth in determining how someone will turn out.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            What culture are “nerds” and what culture are “H1-B’s”?

            You didn’t directly answer my question BUT

            “This question can be answered by looking at any group shot of a tech company or department on an annual basis from, say, 1975 to 2015.”

            You are implying that one’s “culture” can be discerned from a group photo.

            Thank you for answering my question. That says quite a bit.

            Looks like my interchange of race and culture wasn’t so sloppy after all!

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Of course culture can be discerned from a photograph, you arrant fool.

            Unless everybody’s in the shower or in a pornographic film, in which case there are still tattoos and piercings.

            How much do I need to explain to you about how humanity operates?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            There is a concept of a “white race.” It’s not biological. It’s entirely cultural, as shown by how it has changed over time.

            In 1770, the “white race” included only English, Scots, and Norsemen.

            By 1830, those uncouth Goths (like Jack) and Franks were included.

            By about 1910, someone for some reason had let in the tribal Italians and dissolute Irish. Greeks, too, because people couldn’t tell them apart from the Italians.

            During the 1930s, we started to include the Spanish and Portuguese.

            But it took until after the horrors of Nazism for the Jews to be fully included.

            And now the culture is still trying to figure out whether light-skinned persons of Latin American descent are in or out.

            Try to get your head around this and you realize that race is entirely, one hundred percent, a cultural construct. Or just talk to my high school friend who is Persian, with medium brown hair and green eyes, and ask her whether she is “white.”

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            If race is a cultural construct, then why do we have affirmative action? Alternately, why isn’t the NBA 72% white, 12% Hispanic, and 3% Asian?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I don’t know Jack. When I was in Europe (Italy) I would ask the mechanic when my car would be fixed. He’d shrug his shoulders and say “Domani” except for the one time I really jacked my Alfa up and got a “Doppo Domani”. Incidentally the car never ran again.

            When I was in Iraq and Afghanistan I would ask locals if something was going to be done on time. I’d get a familiar shrug and an “Inshallah” Which supposedly mean’t “Allah Willing” But really meant around the same time my Alfa would be back on the road because apparently Allah wasn’t much for construction timelines.

            But my good old ‘Murican builder is no faster than either at honoring the warranty work my home needs done.

            Honestly we are more alike than different.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Why is either of those things remotely inconsistent with the fact that race is a cultural construct?

            We labeled people from certain parts of Africa “black” and decided that was justification for first enslaving them and then subjecting them and their full or partial descendants (who continued to be “black” regardless of blood quantum if they had any recognizably African features) to all sorts of other injustice, most notably postwar housing policy that was deliberately designed to allow others to steal whatever housing wealth they could cobble together. As a result of all that they ended up much poorer, statistically, than any other group in our society, and with myriad other disadvantages (some of them, yes, cultural) brought on by the legacy of legalized discrimination. We instituted affirmative action to try to counteract some of the injustice.

            As for basketball, the prevalence of players labeled culturally as “black” (who, again, sit all along a wide spectrum of percentage of African descent) has a lot to do with all of the stuff above. You don’t see it in other countries with similar proportions of people of African descent. Black kids in America are more likely than white kids in America to play basketball, to watch basketball, and to see basketball as a way to a better life.

          • 0 avatar

            Ronnie culture effects things no doubt. But in your own example, that happened in a generation. Assimilation is a powerful force. Culture is created by people but an individual is not a culture.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Jack Baruth –
            “Of course culture can be discerned from a photograph, you arrant fool.”

            There are 8,313 cultures in the world.
            (http:// worldcultures. webs.com/statistics. htm).

            Since you mentioned that you can tell the “culture” of a H1B by their picture, let’s fine tune this.
            86% of H1B’s in the USA are granted to Indians. India lists 591 different cultures.

            On the subject of “arrant fools”, I’m suspecting “little brown men in pajama’s” is your cultural filter!

            “How much do I need to explain to you about how humanity operates?”
            I’m rather familiar with how humanity operates and I’m witnessing a negative aspect of it right now.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            “There are 8,313 cultures in the world.”

            There’s something cheering to me when I see someone with a stronger form of Asperger’s than what I have. It’s like not being the ugliest kid at the dance.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “How much do I need to explain to you about how humanity operates?”

            you’d need to first explain why you think you’re uniquely qualified to do so.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “There’s something cheering to me when I see someone with a stronger form of Asperger’s than what I have. It’s like not being the ugliest kid at the dance.”

            I must admit, that is funny.

            That still doesn’t explain how you can spot cultural differences by looking at someone.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Jack,
          Ruths Chris is to fine dining what a Dodge Journey is to a fine automobile.

          As you know Toronto ranks among the top cities in the world in regards to cuisine. Unlike Ohio.

          But then our City government actively checks restaurants and all restaurants must publicly post the results of those hygiene tests.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I’m not a food fetishist. So I wouldn’t know.

            I don’t come from the culture that worshiped gluttony and vomiting and pagan obsession with food. I come from the culture that put those people to the sword and burned their homes.

            Of all the pseudo-accomplishments a human being can have, obsessing over what you’re chewing is certainly the lowest. Building a self-image based on the consumption of food cooked by other people is fairly pathetic. At least the wife-swapping crowd can state, with authority, that sexual gluttony is higher on Maslow’s pyramid than pretending to distinguish between wines.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Cuisine is part of the cultural palette. Ranking near literature and music and alcohol. In fact those 4 tend to go very well together.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            I think the Greeks said the same thing about pederasty.

          • 0 avatar

            Germans go a bit nuts about beer almost as much as the French and wine. See German beer purity rules.
            Food is a major part of most cultures.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Jack, as you consider yourself as something of an expert in or connoisseur of literature, music and drugs/alcohol, then does pederasty also enter the equation? Perhaps replacing cuisine? After all the alt/right recently had one of their favourite spokespeople publicly endorse it.

            Or were you just making a flippant disparaging comment about Greek culture?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “After all the alt/right recently had one of their favourite spokespeople publicly endorse it.”

            Arthur that’s just pathetic and predictable, troll elsewhere. Are you ready to disavow George Takei for saying something remarkably similar in a Howard Stern interview?

            I’m not really a fan of either individual, but I would point to Milo’s track record of getting more than one pedophile tracked down and prosecuted as a counter point to this supposed “endorsement.”

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I don’t think so Arthur. A Journey is priced right for what it is. Ruth’s Chris is a CLA250.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            “Jack, Ruths Chris is to fine dining what a Dodge Journey is to a fine automobile.”

            It’s amusing to read food criticism from a citizen of a country known chiefly for back-bacon and smoked meats, lol.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        I bet they learned the language poorly and slowly. I bet today’s Murricans wouldn’t approve of them.

        I also bet that just like today’s immigrants, their CHILDREN learned perfect English and integrated into the community. You’ve been taught to be so full of hate and division that facts no longer matter.

        I wish your great-grandparents had been kept out of America. They spawned children who in turn produced a generation ignorant of their past, ignorant of America’s history, and completely opposed to the very system that produced such privileged lives for them.

        I’d love to hear a few words from you about the Freedom-lovin’ patriots who employ the undocumented workers. These conservatives do so willingly, justifying the law-breakling and cheating the system of tax revenue. They’re the ones who selfishly displace Murrican workers, but there’s never a word from your ilk about targeting them, because they’re the enemy of your enemy.

        And you’re simplistic like that.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          GMalaise: Your knowledge of cuisine appears limited and outdated. The chief Canadian contribution is now consdiered to be poutine. But Canada is also known for its rye whisky, butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, take out coffee, tortiere and beaver tails.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            gtemnykh: I truly resent that comment. I merely responded with a factual statement regarding a recent current event.

            Statements of fact should not meet with unfounded, derisive comments in a free society.

            Only in totalitarian environments are facts denounced.

        • 0 avatar
          skygreenleopard

          Hear hear.

      • 0 avatar
        skygreenleopard

        “Almost all of my great-grandparents came over from Germany. Had jobs from day one. Learned the language and integrated and bought property”

        Seems weird, then, to go on an anti-immigrant “DEY TOOK ER JOBS AND ARE INVADIN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS” diatribe, then, right?

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Get off my lawn.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Wow; a perfectly reasonable treatise on the perils of how big data affects auto owners with a generic anti-immigrant rant just stuck there in the middle as pure comment and click-bait.”

      Yup. This pissed me off.

      I’m unabashedly pro-immigrant, largely because my professional background is in academia and the tech industry — where we recruit the best of the best friend every corner of the world. My foreign friends, colleagues, and neighbors have made my life easier and better.

      But, yeah, I don’t come to this site to have this out. I don’t read about cars so that I can waste my time defending my friends, colleagues, and neighbors. My time is more valuable than that.

      Up yours, Jack. Time to take another break from this site.

      Signing off.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Maybe there needs to be regulations in place to safeguard against this and offer protections for customers by holding those reporting the mileage/repairs more accountable. Oh wait, we’re not doing that anymore in the name of making Murica great again or something to that end.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      That’s right. Trump did this.

      • 0 avatar
        e30gator

        No, you’re right. As long as we’re “slashing 70% of regulations” this will likely be the new normal. And yes, apparently we’ll just have to get used to it. It’s all the immigrants’ fault.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Hard to believe Saint Barack didn’t manage to take time from his busy schedule of golf and bowing to Islamic leaders so he could put these protections in place.

          Oh, that’s right; Facebook helped pay for this campaigns.

          • 0 avatar
            e30gator

            Don’t even get me started on modern presidents taking time off to play golf. I think I saw one in a red hat doing it this past Tuesday.

            But we all know the GOP is the party of consumer protection. I can totally see them uniting behind our manly and fearless leader to safeguard the finances of the working class, even if it means the slightest inconvenience and a modicum of accountability to business owners, just like they did with Saint Barack.

          • 0 avatar
            Snooder

            I know you’re being facetious, but Obama and the democratic congress of his first term were actually responsible for new regulations in consumer credit reporting. Specifically ones that affect what your credit report can be used to do, guarantees your access to the information on it, and requires a process to correct errors.

            So yeah, he really did put “these protections” in place. Just a shame that there’s no way on hell the current administration will even consider extending the same protections to automobile reports.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Funny thing, that: he did.

            (Or, more precisely, Congress did, and he signed the bill and nominated an official to head up the new agency Congress created.)

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Compare the number of games of golf that the current POTUS has played this month and the cost of his and her trips to and from Washington, Florida and NYC to that of the previous POTUS.

            This is already becoming an issue.

            Not that I am ideologically opposed to a part-time, golf playing President. Ike did a pretty good job.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Prime Minister Snowbama will run Canada into the ground, as is the way of socialists.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    When I traded in my Jeep the dealership noticed something on the Carfax that had happened in a state I’d never driven it to, within the past year, and thus it indicated an odometer discrepancy. It had to be from the previous owner, but its reporting got delayed by a couple years. They brushed it off and gave me the value I asked for, saying their “friend at Carfax will get it fixed”.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ Goatshadow – This! A few years ago, my parents traded in a car they’d bought nine years before from a relative. The dealer showed them the Carfax, which indicated it had been in an accident on a particular date during the two years the relative had owned it. First, we knew with 100% certainty that the car never even had been driven in the state where the supposed accident occurred. Second, the next record in the report indicated, correctly, that the car had been emissions tested the next day in our home state, over 900 miles away from the phantom accident. As with your case, the dealer gave my parents a “non-accident” value, but it still was a little unsettling.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I long ago learned to take Carfax reports with a grain of salt, after my buddy had the value of his Golf R32 gutting by two minor accidents (where he was rear ended) reported as major collisions with airbag deployments, while my wife’s Passat TDI, which had two major insurance claims on it within the first three months of ownership (backed into, hit a deer. Both resulted in $10k plus shop bills) had a clean Carfax when we returned it to Volkswagen last month.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I had a car that I had some significant accident bad luck with – rear-ended 4 times at low speeds. I went through insurance for 3/4 of them, and the county paid cash for the 4th (got hit by a cop). At the end when I sold it, only one that actually appeared on the carfax was the cash repair. You can’t explain that.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      In my experience, CARFAX is only an issue when trading. Everything is a huge deal that really sinks the value. When that same car is on the used car lot for the next buyer however it is always some old lady backed into a shopping cart or something that miraculously is no big deal. So pretty much like all the other BS that goes with buying a used car which is why typically I buy new even though that goes against the teaching of the TTAC clergy.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Getting a true mileage reading involves someone at the counter actually *going outside*. No one wants to do THAT.

    But the oil change monkey places are almost guaranteed to screw up at least one thing whether it’s stripping the drain plug, leaving it loose, leaving your filter loose, not enough oil, and the list goes on.

    In the time it takes to check all their work BEFORE leaving the parking lot, I could do the whole thing myself! But for giggles, check all the trails of oil leading from the shop. And to the street.

    But a 1,000 miles down the road with a blown engine, how are you gonna prove it was their fault?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I go to an independent VW-Audi-Porsche specialist for my Volkswagens. Since he’s a high-school buddy of mine and has gotten quite a bit of business for his shop from word-of-mouth—and has fixed my cars before—I trust him.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Exactly! Trust NOBODY until proven otherwise. Except it also comes down to who THEY trust.

        Everything’s great when your friend is doing the work, all the work, but eventually they start to focus on the *business* end, delegating the shop end, to people they trust. That’s where I’ve been burned, especially when returning for the 2nd time for work needing to be redone/warranty. I popped the hood before leaving, and my diesel pickup was more than a gallon LOW on oil!

        Shop owners need to treat all their employees as “business partners”. Hourly workers can ruin a small business all the same, whether vindictive, poor ethics, attitude or otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        If I lived near you and you told me where the shop was I would totally buy a Dub. I couldn’t find a mechanic if my life depended on it. I take my scoob to the local hotrod shop and pay the 20% labor kicker because I figure that that they will probably not think it’s worth it to mess with me.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Meh, the only person I trust to do an oil change on my vehicle is this dude.

      Doubly so on the GT350, the oil filter has a torque spec sticker right on the canister which even the dealership techs (until they’ve had to replace an engine) don’t bother to read and implement.

      When I was back in high school one of my buddies interned at a dealership and he would always tell me about the shortcuts mechanics would take on basic maintenance. Things like only replacing the front plugs on an FWD V6 or just changing the oil and wiping down the filter so it looked like it had been changed.

      Even on bigger jobs they would do questionable things – in one case a mechanic didn’t bother to use the proper materials and had a tube of adhesive and glued the whole damn engine together quipping to my friend about hoping the engine never has to come apart again.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        heh, when I had the 1,000 mile check done on my Dyna, whoever did the fluids change left the drain plug barely finger tight (spec is 14-22 ft-lbs) and cranked the oil filter down as though he was the Incredible Hulk.

        I do my own maintenance on it now.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Lol. My parents are dealing with this. My stepdad, sometime recently, went and had the registration renewed for my mother’s 2012 Sonata Limited, which now has 90,000 miles or so. Anyway, the state asked my stepdad the mileage, and instead of calling Mom to see what the mileage was, he just guessed and wrote down 66,000. I guess the state reports that data, because the 66,000-figure showed up on the CarFax, and a month ago they were offered substantially less than it was worth on trade because of suspected odometer fraud. They didn’t end up trading the Sonata and kept It, so I’m not sure how they’ll rectify that.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Unpossible, Mr. Adams. Big Brother is never wrong.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I don’t really have a problem with taking my car to the dealership for oil changes. Most of the dealers around here have installed their own “quick lubes” so you don’t have to wait on the regular service department and the dealer still has a vested interest in selling me a new vehicle down the road, which I’ve generally found makes them more eager to resolve any issues.

    Thus far (10 years or so going to the same two dealers) they’ve gotten the milage correct and I always look at the sticker the computer prints out before I drive off.

    I did “Spiffy Lube” back when I was living in Detroit but that’s because the franchise I was using was fast and competent.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I’d like to think this is karma giving Scott Adams a well-deserved kick.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Indeed. You’d think someone as smart as him would know the risks of buying a BMW SUV versus a comparable Lexus or Infiniti but I guess he was too busy playing 12 dimensional chess or whatever to notice.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Funny. That was similar to my first thought as well after reading: “My BMW X5 SUV is in the shop for its third leak-related problem THIS YEAR…”

        Brain the size of a planet and he bought a notoriously problematic high-end BMW instead of leasing it like the smart money would. Or bought the BMW instead of buying the Lexus like smart money would. Take your pick.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          A quick Google tells me Adams is worth $75M. WIth that coin I’m just paying cash too.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think you may be missing the point they made above. If Mr Adams is a cash buyer (and presumable holder) one might think he is aware of the reality of owning a German car outright (well models built after MY96).

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “WIth that coin I’m just paying cash too.”

            Sure, as Jack noted above. With that coin I’m guessing he doesn’t truly care about the value loss from paperwork error either, other than it providing another topic for a blog post.

          • 0 avatar

            With that much coin, I’m going to have a holding company that leases it as a business vehicle and writes off the lease payment as a deductible expense.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “With that much coin, I’m going to have a holding company that leases it as a business vehicle and writes off the lease payment as a deductible expense.”

            Would you really bother? That would be like me putting my couch or bedroom TV in a holding company to write it off as deductible. Who cares about 0.1% of your net worth?

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Brain the size of a planet” was a Douglas Adams thing. Scott Adams does the Dilbert comic strip among other things.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I know. But it wasn’t until just now that I realized it would look like I was wrongly attributing the quote because they share the same last name. “Brain the size of a planet” tends to pop into my head when I think of people who are rather publicly enamored with their own intelligence, and Scott Adams seems to fit this.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Everyone should watch or read the “Hank’s Dirty Laundry” episode of King of the Hill.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Even the dealers can be guilty of this.

    I bought my Hyundai Veloster new in late 2011 at a dealership about 100 miles outside my city. I did this because I (and others) had a bad experience with the local dealer.

    About a year after I purchased it, I had to take the car to my local dealer for a recall fix, as I didn’t have the time to drive all the way to the dealer I purchased it from. Everything was fine until I started getting oil change reminders from the local dealer.

    Since I didn’t sign up for any mailing list, this annoyed me. What really annoyed me though was that they said I needed to come in for my 785,000 km maintenance. Apparently, I drove to the moon and back in slightly over one year of owning my car. The real mileage was around 25,000.

    I went to the dealer and showed them the mailing they sent me. They said someone typed part of my phone number into the mileage field and that they would fix it.

    Three months later, I received another reminder and the mileage was still crazy. I tried 3 times to resolve it without luck. I was concerned about what this meant for my warranty.

    Luckily I traded the car in a couple of years back at another Hyundai dealer outside of town. They saw the obvious error, so the mileage thing was not held against me.

    I still get mailings from the local dealer about it, even though I haven’t owned the car since 2014. No wonder they have been under investigation by the BBB and Hyundai Canada in the past…

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Timely article for me as I nearly had this happen yesterday while emissions testing. Even when I read them the mileage and they looked directly at it, it took 3 tries to get it reasonably accurate (still not correct but close enough not to be a rollback concern).

  • avatar
    gaudette

    I can only imagine the joy when Jack realized he had a valid reason to link Scott Adams blog on TTAC.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    Two things Jack.

    First, the lack of a “chabuduo” culture here has nothing at all to do with immigrants, and everything to do with laws and regulations. People here used to not wear gloves at all, much less swapping them out. Know what changed that? Food safety laws and health inspections. If we as a nation are becoming inclined to a a “good enough” attitude, it is mostly in part due to eroding of then legal safeguards that protect us from unscrupulous or short sighted businessfolk.

    Second, there’s a fairly obvious solution to this problem. Sue the bastards. If enough people have been adversely affected, you could get a class action together. And you can guarantee that faced with with a class action suit, Carfax would be quite willing to streamline the process of fixing erroneous entries on their report.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I could not disagree more.

      Nobody wears gloves because they fear the arrival of the health inspector, which is as rare an occurrence as a lightning strike.

      It’s because they have internalized the reasons for doing so and they understand them. Furthermore, they feel a sense of public duty. That’s a Western idea. Most other cultures don’t recognize a sense of obligation beyond your cousins.

      • 0 avatar

        Not sure you have been to many old family East coast dinners then.

        • 0 avatar
          chuckrs

          Ah, yes. While in high school, my wife worked at a diner with a walk-in cooler. Nothing special about that, except you could walk in with the cooler door shut. Only thing she would eat there was toast and eggs, and then only if she made them herself.
          OTOH, the Greek illegal immigrant relative of the owner took a shine to her and protected her from from one of the cooks’ less than honorable intentions. I believe a threat of broken legs was involved.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            I’ll do you one better. A good friend of mine’s aunt was a manager for a Wendy’s restaurant. The aunt, like her sister (my friend’s mother), is generously proportioned and sweats a lot, so when I met her, she told us about how she would go into the back cooler when she got too hot and strip down to her bra and panties (or PAINT-ies, as she pronounced it) to cool off.

            I never ate a Wendy’s “Hot ‘N Juicy” burger again.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “A good friend of mine’s aunt was a manager for a Wendy’s restaurant. The aunt, like her sister (my friend’s mother), is generously proportioned and sweats a lot, so…

            I never ate a Wendy’s “Hot ‘N Juicy” burger again.”

            Pics or it never happened.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Haha. I’m good. But I’ll send you the address to her single-wide trailer and you can take all the pictures you wish.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “Haha. I’m good. But I’ll send you the address to her single-wide trailer and you can take all the pictures you wish.”

            Well played!

            (I couldn’t use my other usual joke, ‘Does she have a sister?’)

      • 0 avatar
        Snooder

        I’m sorry, but that’s just xenophobic bullcrap.

        What they have “internalized” is fear of punishment and respect for regulation. Nothing more, nothing less.

        You think some snot nosed 16 year old on his first summer job gives a fuck about anybody else, much less some ephemeral notion of patriotic duty or communal responsibility? No. What he cares about is not getting fired. And the same for his boss. You really think a successful business gives a shit about anything but profit? No. He does what it takes to make more money. Sometimes that means keeping his establishment clean and tidy because it attracts customers. And sometimes it means cutting corners to save a couple of bucks. And what regulations are there for is to counterbalance the profit motive

        And beyond all of that, we do not need to speculate about this stuff. History exists, you know. We can learn from it. “Western culture” did not just spring up out of nowhere. It is a specific construct of law and regulation.

        Germany used to be the worst collection of backward tribalism in all of Europe. You know what changed? Bismarck came came to power and drove the modernization of Germany through through a belief in the power of laws, rules and regulations.

        All “western” cultures have similar stories. Of laws and regulations being layered over the base instincts of humanity to corral and guide. So why the hell would you think that somehow there is no longer a need for those regulations? If culture changed due to rules, it can just as easily change due to a lack of them.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          “You think some snot nosed 16 year old on his first summer job gives a fuck about anybody else, much less some ephemeral notion of patriotic duty or communal responsibility? No.”

          Speak for yourself. I had my first 20-hour job when I was fourteen, at a bike shop. Nothing I touched or worked on left my hands without being checked top to bottom. I never let sloppy work leave my station, even if it was someone else’s sloppy work.

          Later on that year I got a job as a dishwasher at a pizza place. I never sent a dirty dish to the stack. I looked at every one of them.

          There have been times I’ve slacked off at work, but never when it could affect someone’s health or safety.

          • 0 avatar
            Master Baiter

            “Later on that year I got a job as a dishwasher at a pizza place.”

            That was my first job. Totally manual; no automatic dishwasher involved. Buck 50 an hour back in 1975. Learned you have to wash the BACK of the dish carefully too, as stacking them gets grease on the back side.
            .
            .

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            A lot of folks lack any pride in a job well done or much of a work ethic. That breeds cynicism and an absence of any need for healthy introspection, which eventually manifests itself in self-loathing. It also imparts a need for this ilk to feel heroic and have other like-minded people see them as such. This is prevalent on the Left.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            haven’t you said more than once you’re on the autism spectrum?

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            I see Mr. South end of a northbound horse found the bad hay…

  • avatar
    ptschett

    I’m reminded of a sci-fi short story, “Computers Don’t Argue” by Gordon R. Dickson…

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Given the circumstances, I fail to see what is unethical about the fixing process you describe…

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    In Jack’s ‘Murica –

    Big data (in all of its iterations will be brought to heel & forced to comply with a basic and decent obligation to not f*ck peoples’ lives up, or there will be he!! to pay, legally and financially, and certainly not allow for illegal incursions into fundamental privacy, particularly of the flavor that violates constitutional rights *A position I agree with),

    but,

    The oil change place should be able to just dump used automotive fluids, oils, lubricants, solvents and other liquids in the creek behind the shop, down the storm sewer grate, or even down the break room sink – because over-regulation is killing the American Dream and strangling “free markets”).

    Donald J. Trump
    @realDonaldTrump

    – Next week, in addition to my other terrible, many executive orders, I will authorize oil-lube shops to dump used motor oil into storm and sanitary drains, like so much untreated coal-mining byproduct into Appalachian fresh water streams. #MAGA!

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Serious question.

      When you write “murica” what are you trying to convey?

    • 0 avatar
      markf

      Trump mention, check
      “Evil” Republicans want to pollute everything, check
      “Murica” reference, check

      Give it rest, please. You are a bore

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “Give it rest, please. You are a bore.”

        And the glare from the top of his egg-shaped head is blinding me.
        .
        .

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Markf & Masterbaitor – I detest the establishment, whether Clintonites, Bushes or their media lackeys.

          This does not mean I think Trump is the antidote just because he alleges that he’s not the establishment (even as he completely surrounds himself with a virtual cesspool of scumbags in his administration).

          You two need to wise up, take a good, hard study of the landscape, then put a quarter in yourselves because you got played.

          You both need to read some Bastiat, Proudhon, Hayek, Molonari, Locke, Rousseau, and von Mises.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Skip the von Mises. It’s ideological cancer.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            There are many great philosophers I was remiss to leave off that list, but the one I must mention is Immanuel Kant, as he bridged the gap between the pure empiricists (e.g. David Hume) and pure rationalists (e.g. Rene Descartes).

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Most of my beliefs about the world can be traced straight back to Hume (through a long line of mostly British empiricist-ish philosophers) so I’m glad you brought him up.

            Kant is 90% self-inflated bullsh!t and 10% absolutely pioneering insight, worth reading for the latter.

            Von Mises is not a philosopher at all, but a quack economist whom the world has been proving wrong for centuries (most of them before he was alive). His stuff is best suited for keeping your wood stove at optimum temperature. At least quack philosophers, like Nietzsche, make for entertaining reading. Economists can’t even get that far.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            The old “you got played” canard or my other favorite “you got conned” Trump may be part of an elite, but he is not part of the political elite, the career politicians who get elected and due nothing but perpetuate their own careers.

            This is why Trump got elected and will win reelection, because he gets dismissed by elites and so-called anti-establishment types both of who think they are smarter then everyone else.

            Trump got elected because people knew he was different and that he would (and is) do what he said. Dismissing his cabinet and advisors as “scumbags” just shows how clueless you are. You have been played by the MSM, regurgitating their nonsense
            I have read Hayek, Lock and Rosseau, aside from trying to show people that you are smarter not sure why you feel the need to tell people to read them.

  • avatar
    scent tree

    Garbage in, garbage out. Be advised that the system tolerates garbage coming in, because it might result in an outcome that is also garbage.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    Jack – was going to comment on your blog directly on the ‘chabuduo’ topic but the comments were closed. In any case, the running not-joke I’ve heard is that the Cultural Revolution killed off or drove away all their smart people, and they’ve had to make do ever since.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Kafka and Orwell need their bearings lubed since they are rotating at high RPM in their graves.
    Yes “the information from THE COMPUTER FILE” is never incorrect.
    About 20 years ago I bought a moto-cross motorcycle. Since nearly every vehicle in California needs to be registered, except riding mowers, fork lifts and railroad locomotives, the dealer sent the paperwork to Sacramento. There, in the impenetrable depths of the DMV, someone keyed it in as a street legal motorcycle. This created an electronic hiccup as the bike did not have the proper VIN for a street machine. It took 5 years and many visits to the local DMV offices to get it corrected. Meanwhile I could not legally sell or operate it, except on private property.
    And don’t get me started on food safety and ‘that’s good enough’ repair people.
    For one thing, I’ve seen this for many decades. Mostly from 3rd or 4th generation Americans.
    If you are working for a company/franchise and want to do a good job, you will most likely be frustrated as getting it done faster (cheaper) is standard.

  • avatar
    SV

    Carfax sucks. I was in an accident last year and the Carfax history is falsely reporting an airbag deployment, which hurts the value of my car even more than it otherwise would with just an accident history. They told me the only way to get the history amended is to correct the police report, which is not something I have high hopes of accomplishing.

    That said, the police officer who wrote the accident report was a white guy, so I guess the dirty illegal Mexicans/Syrians/non-Aryans sabotaging me must be working for Carfax.

  • avatar
    silentsod

    I read the same article and my takeaway was thank goodness I service my own cars and when I have tires mounted I take the wheel and tire set to get put on instead of the vehicle itself.

    I wouldn’t have connected it to a permeating chabuduo culture, just that the low wage oil change jockey doesn’t give a shit which I would expect to be a not new problem (underpaid and not highly motivated) and the issue is the dumb data collection and flagging system. Then again, I may just be too young to remember a time where even the low wage grunts gave a crap at a high rate (90%+).

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    *Great* article, Jack!

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Passed on a deal for a dirty but tight Mazdaspeed Miata b/c some jackass at an out of state dmv mistook a 3 for an 8, so the title and Carfax said 80k, even though it only had 30k. So I am thinking I could drive it for 50k for free, but I kind of think that might be odo fraud, or go through the trouble of correcting. Ended up passing on it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    So Scott Adams, a man who is richer than God and has more spare time in a week than most of us had last year, can’t be bothered to EITHER a) check his receipt before he leaves the Big O OR b) get a second opinion when some dealerbot tells him “your car is worth scrap,” and that somehow turns into a rant about how recent immigrants are the ones that are lazy? This is the worst thing you’ve written in a while.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Scott Adams is a misogynist, intellectually-dishonest Trump supporter and a general all-around unpleasant human being, albeit one who is well-spoken and has written more than a few funny comics.

      I’m not completely surprised to see Mr. Baruth reference him. I’m also not completely sure if the author isn’t a) pulling our collective leg, b) is suffering from Hamlet syndrome and is starting to believe this kind of nonsense, or c) feels enabled because the recent shift in the political dynamic makes it easier to air your one’s own bigoted opinion without consequence.

      The ‘“chabuduo” culture’ line walks the line, frankly. Even if the intent was to bait and not be a bigot, I’m not impressed.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Right.

        Because chabuduo is a concept invented by white people to make fun of all yellow people.

        Get over yourself. You’re not at the center of the universe. The Chinese don’t care about you. They have their own ideas and complaints that are entirely unaware of your stunted worldview.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Get over yourself. You’re not at the center of the universe”

          That’s not the point: I agree with your points about the carelessness of data and the very short kill chain in modern technology that makes the effects of carelessness worse.

          But—and I may be being charitable, here—don’t agree with your blowing the dogwhistle by making this a race/culture/whatever-ethnocentric-hair-you-wish-to-split issue. Carelessness is carelessness; you’re the one bringing ethnicity (there, not race—happy now?) into it, whether to inflame or because you’ve a chip on your shoulder.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            no kidding. look at the “build quality” of pretty much any domestic car from the ’70s. We didn’t need to “import” any careless attitudes.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “Scott Adams is a misogynist, intellectually-dishonest Trump supporter…”

        I call BS on that statement. He correctly predicted that Trump might win based on his messaging and Adams’ experience as a hypnotist. He’s also wisely a skeptic with respect to climate change hysteria. I’d hardly call him a Trump supporter.
        .
        .

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          When the vast majority of scientists agree that something that is occurring.

          When past history demonstrates clearly that human activities impact weather.

          And that reducing or eliminating those activities can have the reverse effect.

          Then it is not ‘hysteria’.

          • 0 avatar
            Sceptic

            There is a lot of misinformation spread around by the media and self proclaimed experts.

            It is obvious that human activity has affected the Earth’s climate throughout millennia. It is the current extent of this effect that is in question. There is no consensus among scientists, but realistically it’s unlikely that all emissions and polution cause more than 5-15% of the increase in temperature. A medium size volcanic eruption throws more gas and particular matter into the atmosphere than all the industrial production, transportation etc. during a year.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Sceptic,

            Randall Munroe was nice enough to put the numbers into a pretty picture for you.

            https://xkcd.com/1732/

            and don’t try to pull the “volcanoes” thing; major eruptions often cause a SHORT TERM cooling effect because of that solid matter they eject into the atmosphere. But solid matter doesn’t stay airborne for long.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @skeptic – “there is no consensus among scientists”

            https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

            Consensus on Consensus – Cook et al. (2016)
            Authors of seven climate consensus studies — including Naomi Oreskes, Peter Doran, William Anderegg, Bart Verheggen, Ed Maibach, J. Stuart Carlton, and John Cook — co-authored a paper that should settle the expert climate consensus question once and for all. The two key conclusions from the paper are:

            1) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, it’s somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists.

            2) The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.

            Skeptical Science’s 2013 ‘The Consensus Project’
            Scientists need to back up their opinions with research and data that survive the peer-review process. A Skeptical Science peer-reviewed survey of all (over 12,000) peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ and ‘global warming’ published between 1991 and 2011 (Cook et al. 2013) found that over 97% of the papers taking a position on the subject agreed with the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of the project, the scientist authors were emailed and rated over 2,000 of their own papers. Once again, over 97% of the papers taking a position on the cause of global warming agreed that humans are causing it.”

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “He’s also wisely a skeptic with respect to climate change hysteria. I’d hardly call him a Trump supporter”

          And you would be wrong. He’d made claims that HRC would have him killed, his climate skepticism borders on denial, and his views on women’s subservience to men is pretty galling. He’s only ratcheted this kind of stuff up a notch since the election.

          Adams is a pretty funny comic writer and this is a genuine issue he’s discussing but some of his views and behaviour are pretty retrograde. In all honesty, though, my issue is with how this is being framed.

          • 0 avatar
            markf

            “1) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, it’s somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists.”

            Those are 3rd world, banana republic numbers. 97% agree is what you say when you know you can defend your ideas……

            What percentage of scientist agreed the Earth was the center of the universe when Galileo was being persecuted?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            markf – please point out 3rd world countries that have the scientific ability to generate 12,000 PEER REVIEWED articles.

            I’m not defending MY ideas.

            I’m defending 12,000 articles posted on the topic.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “hysteria?” It was near 70 today in Detroit, which- while rare- is not unheard of. However, what’s predicted for tomorrow *is.* Tomorrow we have the threat of severe thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes.

          In f**king *February.* THAT’S NEVER HAPPENED! It’s supposed to be cold and maybe snowing!

          but I can see you’re one of those jagoffs who can’t tell the difference between “climate” and “weather,” and can’t tell the difference between “opinion” and “fact.” and think the opinion of some useless internet rando like you is just as valid as the data from people who’ve spent their entire careers studying this stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Certainly unusual, but an F1 tornado touched down on Mount Washington in 1998. I was caught in the subsequent flooding coming home from a mall.

            youtube.com/watch?v=F0TqmCS6UWU

            This area though is known for microclimates which Detroit may not be.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            “It’s never happened”…

            Your point of reference doesn’t even amount to a grain of sand. You do understand that… right?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Generally speaking, why always with the name calling? Aside from knowing what Dilbert is and reading a few of the man’s posts last fall I don’t know who he is and I don’t get the point of the labeling. He, I, and many others could resort to childish name-calling but it is nearly never accurate nor is it productive.

  • avatar
    Fred

    If you keep your car for 10 years and 100,000+ miles it’s pretty much worthless for trade in value. So who really cares what Carfax says.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Very nice, and subtle, Blade Runner reference. Well done.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Think about it for a moment… most people around the world are hard working, yet most people around the world are third worlders. Most people around the world are family oriented, yet, most are third worlders. Most people down through history were hard working, family oriented folk… yet most of them were never more than dirt poor peasants.

    So being hard working and family oriented are wonderful things; those are necessary characteristics to have if you wish to become a first world nation, but by themselves they do NOTHING to lift a society up off the floor. If those were enough, the world would be a MUCH better place than it is.

    The largest difference between the successful nations and the unsuccessful nations comes down to one thing: culture.

    The core beliefs that shape the lives of the people. The successful nations’ cultures are predominately internal locus of control cultures; -cut and pasted-The extent to which people believe they have power over events in their lives. A person with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes, while someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything. more cut and paste-Students with an “external locus of control” generally believe that their successes or failures result from external factors beyond their control, such as luck, fate, circumstance, injustice, bias, or teachers who are unfair, prejudiced, or unskilled.

    Take Hispanic culture, it is predominately external locus of control oriented, and the majority of Hispanics are fiercely proud of their culture and intend to keep it.

    This is very bad news for America.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @TomHend
      By definition any country outside NA and Europe is the ” Third World”. You have many Countries making great strides in their standard of living. On the other hand in mainly African countries nothing changes, so they are the ” 4th World”

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @TomHend – 1st,2nd and 3rd world are cold war terms. Basically any country aligned with USA/West are 1st world. Any country aligned with (at that time)Communist Russia was 2nd World. 3rd world just happened to be the sh!t left over that possessed zero economic or strategic basis to the 1st or 2nd world.

        It is hard to be “internal locus” or “self-determined” at a subsistence level of existence or at the whim of kings, warlords and other assorted rules that don’t care if you live or die.

        Are you familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?
        You can’t get to “self-determined” until all of the lower needs are met.

        Culture plays a part but isn’t as key a feature as you’d like to make it out to be.
        Here is a simple Top 10 of why countries fail:
        – Lack of property rights – destroys incentive to succeed.
        – Coercion – self explanatory
        – A tilted playing field i.e. good jobs for certain classes, religions, races
        – Those in power get greedy – those in power control an economy and create self enriching monopolies
        – Elites block new technologies – new tech is disruptive to the status quo. One could even argue that not adapting to new technology will cause the downfall of a society.
        – No law and order
        – A weak central government
        – Bad public services
        – Political exploitation – not much different than what we see under the caption of greed or elites ruling the roost.
        – Fighting over the riches of a country

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      The thing is, those same sentiments were expressed about literally every wave of immigrants to the US.

      The Germans, the Irish, the Italians, the Russians, the Jews, the Poles, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Puerto Ricans.

      Literally every single time, dating back to the Dutch knickerbockers sneering at the overly religious English upstarts, the oeople already here have raised terrible alarms over how “different” the natives culture is and how it makes them unfit and incapable to adjust to American sensibilities.

      At some point, we have to be able to learn just a bit from history and recognize prejudice for what it is. Yeah, the “new guys” are weird and different. But you know what, if they are willing to sacrifice sacrifice and out in the effort to come here, they cant be all that bad. Everyone else assimilated, and so will they. As long as we maintain the structures and framework that aids assimilation. Like a strong public school system. Or a rigorous, well respected, and enforced body of rules and regulations.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Snooder has it.

        This comment should be cut and pasted onto every column Jack writes that includes the word “immigrant.”

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          Fine with me, as long as you understand that it is pure fantasy.

          If you don’t understand the difference between additive immigration 150 years ago, when most of the country was unsettled and the existing settlers were reproducing at more than replacement rate, and the current situation of importing millions of people who don’t particularly like America while the existing citizens have 1.2 kids per couple, then you are going to find the future to be a very surprising place indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            I just got back from a trip through Belgium, Germany, The UK, and France. Here is the thing, you can argue that we should allow unfettered immigration from places like Syria because of a moral obligation. You can argue that the effects are a net positive. But when you go through these places you can not argue that there is not an impact to the culture of those places. It is a debate that is going to happen and we will have to have.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “don’t particularly like America”

            Citation needed. Preferably not to Breitbart.

            And, to boot, what people were saying about your German ancestors in the early nineteenth century — so much so that many of them felt the need to go to what is now the Midwest to get away from the previous group of immigrants.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            It will be interesting to see what the USA will be like in 30 years when there are less whites (non-hispanic whites) in the USA than other “cultures”.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Probably a bit like Fourteenth Century Europe.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundred_Years'_War

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @28-Cars-Later – I fear that you are correct.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I’m glad you brought this issue to our attention, but I think the last part was a bit of a leap. While I agree that too much immigration in too short a time will move the culture in the direction of the shit-holes that the immigrants came from, I’ve seen more than enough Canadian-born people of European descent who don’t care enough to do anything properly to know that this sort of thing will happen regardless of the ethnic background of the employees.

    I was also one of those children who did every job given to me as perfectly as I could, and took great care of everything I own, but I know I was atypical. A glance at the underside of someone’s compact disc would confirm that almost every time.

  • avatar
    Bill

    As Jack suggests, Photoshop can be used to solve this kind of problem; although it’s certainly unpleasant for the victim of someone else’s incompetence to be put in the position of committing fraud to fix an error.

    Before my brother died he executed two powers of attorney: one for financial matters and one for health care decisions. We got both notarized. When I wanted to have his body cremated, they needed to see the power of attorney, to prove that I had the authority to make the decision; and they pointed out to me that it was invalid because the notary had only signed and dated it, but had failed to affix his stamp.

    Fortunately, I had another document that had the correct stamp. And fortunately the transaction was handled by email, so the cremation service saw only scans, not original documents.

    For the record, the notary was just as white as Jack and I are.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Back in my law school days, which were at the tail end of the mortgage bubble, I represented (as a clinic student) a couple that thought they had applied for a mortgage with certain terms and got much worse terms instead (notably a balloon payment that was not in their original disclosures). Photoshop had been used (not particularly well) to put their signatures on the application documents for the product they got. The bank folded like a house of cards once presented with the evidence of the loan officer’s fraud. No one involved was a recent immigrant.

  • avatar
    Frank Williams

    Many, many moons ago I bought an Audi 5000 that had been a demo driven by a dealer’s wife in Texas. In the 21 months I owned it, it made 17 trips back to the dealership. I finally filed a Lemon Law complaint about it and won. Audi had to buy the car back from me.

    Fast forward several years, to the point where Carfax is picking up momentum in the marketplace. Just for shits and giggles I looked up that Audi. It was listed as having been sold somewhere in the northeast as a “program car.” There was nothing listed there to indicate all the problems I had with it, the Lemon Law complaint, or that Audi had been required to repurchase the car. To anyone looking at what was on Carfax, Audi had owned the car the entire time.

    Nope, I don’t trust anything I see on Carfax. Not only are things misreported, the data on there can also be manipulated to the detriment of the consumer.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I took a look at the MyCarFax maintenance schedule for my car. One major item they list at every service interval is to inspect the fuel tank filler cap and o-ring. I have an EV and there is no fuel tank, no fuel tank filler cap, and no fuel tank filler o-ring. They also list a transmission fluid check. There is no transmission on the car.

  • avatar
    ponyboy69

    我妈了个比。。。

    One time at the port of Dalian I saw a guy welding a railing wearing nothing but crap plastic sunglasses (like you see in the drugstore for $7) for eye protection. I wanted to tell him he was making himself blind, but I knew by that point he wouldn’t have believed me and would just have gotten mad.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    195 and counting. You deserve a bonus.

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