The Current Economic Situation described… With Microcars

 In another world; Microcar Collectors and Enthusiasts have their own community.

Like Airplane Enthusiasts that can be part of a community that has a Runway as the main drag so you can park your Plane in the garage, taxi out and take off, the Microcar Community has homes with Garages as the centerpiece of the house and sleeping quarters upstairs or out back.

Vehicles that can exceed 55 mph are banned and tickets are regularly given out for vehicles that are not going slow enough or emitting enough blue smoke.

 

Every home has a microcar enthusiast in it.  They may own a microcar, they may own several or they may WANT to own one.  Many have tools to work on their cars, some have no tools or no mechanical expertise to do so.

But the neighborhood is friendly and what good is a friend if you cannot borrow their tools?

So a great swap goes on continuously, the same tools are loaned out to neighbors again and again, no one has to own every single special tool needed, they can just go next door or down the block and BORROW it.  As long as it is returned in a reasonable period of time, everything works out well.

Of course there are always people hanging around drinking beer and commenting on the current state of someone’s work or making suggestions on how to fix something.

One day someone says “Frank loaned his Matra 506 tool to Ed, I bet he never gets it back!”

Someone else says “Ed always returns the tools he borrows, I’ll take your bet!  Not only that, I will give you 50:1 odds that he returns it in a week!”

“OK”, says the first guy, “I bet you a ….BILLION DOLLARS that Ed does not return the tool.”

So a new pastime has emerged; betting on who will return the tools borrowed and when they will return them.

Meanwhile one of the Microcar Owners decides he wants to sell his Isetta.

He turns to his neighbor and asks him if he wants to buy it.

The neighbor says “Yeah, sure I will buy it, but can I give you $1000 down on it until Friday when I get paid?”

“Sure” says the Isetta owner, “Besides, the car is down the street at Frank’s house, he is working on it for me, I will let you know as soon as he is done”

Now that the neighbor has “purchased” an Isetta, he remembers that his friend BILL has always wanted one and said he would pay a “good price” to get one.   So the neighbor contacts Bill and agrees to sell him the car he just “bought” for more than he paid for it, Bill agrees to give the neighbor a sizeable downpayment for the car and is told he will get it later that week, maybe on the weekend.

That night, Bill starts thinking about the car he just bought and is going to take delivery of soon.  He is pretty sure that there are many other enthusiasts out there that would like an Isetta but can’t afford one.  So the next day he starts selling “shares” in his Isetta, he prices the shares at 1/10th of what he “paid” for the Isetta (which he has not totally paid for yet, nor received), so if he sells 10 shares, he has the Isetta paid off.  However, instead of selling 10 shares, he sells 100, on the assumption that most of the people will never actually want to drive the car or have it in their garage because their garages are stuffed to the rafters anyways.

And all across town, people are sitting on their porches or shooting the breeze and reminding everyone else about their “bets”;

“You are gonna owe me a Billion Dollars next week!” says one guy

“Ha Ha!” says another guy, “That’s nothing, I got 50:1 odds from another guy so he is gonna owe me 50 BILLION dollars, I’ll gladly pay you a Billion!”

They clink their beer glasses and continue to imbibe.

Later they all go to their computers and start buying new TVs and Messerschmitt Tigers since each one of them is expecting to be a Billionaire very soon.

The next morning everyone staggers outside to pick up the paper that was delivered and the front page headline is: 

“FRANK IS DEAD”

The lead article goes on to describe how FRANK, the pillar of the community, the guy who knew how to fix everything had suddenly died in a freak accident involving someone else’s Isetta that he was working on.  Apparently he was ready for a test drive and accidently put the car in 1st gear instead of Reverse and smashed into the back wall of the garage. Pinned inside, Frank frantically tried to find reverse but could not.  Now at the mercy of an old wive’s tale, Frank had no choice but to accept his fate and he died of embarrassment.

The Police arrive and lock up the house and put yellow tape around it so no one goes in to steal any of Frank’s tools and cars.

Unfortunately for many people, Frank had borrowed a LOT of tools!  So those people were not getting them back anytime soon.

Not only that, SEVERAL people had given their cars to Frank to work on and those cars were still in the garage!

One of those cars was the Isetta that was sold several times without actually physically getting delivered.

Once word gets out, all the people that had purchased shares in the Isetta wanted their part of the Isetta.  And they wanted it NOW!

And Bill wanted the Isetta he had put a deposit on, but never paid for in full.

And the neighbor who had the $1000 deposit on the Isetta had to deliver the car to Bill, but first had to get it from the original owner, who…..had given it to Frank to work on.  That was the car that Frank died in.

And it turns out that other people had done similar things with their cars, and some of those cars were in Frank’s Garage (that was now locked up).

Remember all the guys making the bets?   They just got the bills for all the stuff they bought because they thought they were all going to be Billionaires.   They all turned to each other and tried to collect on what they were “owed”, but it had become so complicated that no one could figure out who owed what to who, further complicating matters were people who said that they would be happy to pay their share, but FRANK “owed” them a Billion Dollars and now that he was dead, they could not collect and in turn, could not pay.

So now no one loans tools to each other, they don’t trust that they will ever get them back.

No one is helping each other work on their cars, they are too afraid they won’t see their cars again or that someone will steal parts off their cars.

No one is selling cars, no one is buying cars.

No one trusts each other any more.

What was once a robust community of like-minded enthusiasts is now in tatters.

Who is to blame? Frank? (for dieing..)

The greedy buyers?

The greedy sellers?

The beer?

What will bring it back?

I say more beer.
BEER, is there anything it can’t fix?

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