Posted by: Jim | March 3, 2006

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Car Alarms

When you hear a car alarm, what conclusion do you reach?

1. A car is being stolen. Investigate and/or call the police immediately.
2. Someone may be in trouble, and has activated their car alarm as a signal for help. Investigate and/or call the police immediately.
3. Some asshole’s car alarm is going on. You hope his noisy car is being stolen, or that he is being mugged.
4. What? I can’t hear you, there’s a car alarm going off.

The fact is, we think 3 or 4, not 1 or 2. So car alarms are a completely superfluous element of our society–an element that has negative externalities and very few positive contributions.

The positive contribution is that you can click your remote until it chirps, so you know your car is locked. Then you can tell it’s unlocked by the double-chirp. This is cool! But it doesn’t require an actual alarm system to work.

Here’s what I think people should do:

1. When you buy a car, cut the alarm cable so it does not go off, or disable the alarm.
2. When you have a neighbor or person in your workplace whose car alarm frequently goes off, call the police and tell them you think a car is being stolen … every time. (OK, maybe you shouldn’t do this, but it’s fun to think about.)

But car manufacturers wouldn’t dare try to sell a car without an alarm system, as it is perceived as a necessary component.

Wake up car manufacturers! It’s not only unnecessary, it’s a nuisance.

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