The Tale Of The Golden Key
The year 2014 may be remembered as the year in which I lost one of the two keys to my Mazda hatchback. In the driving days of my parents, when cars rusted out after a few short years or were otherwise planned for obsolescence, a lost key meant a trip to the hardware store, where another would be cut for a couple bucks. But now we are in a much improved era. The dealership tells me that a new key will run me $150. You laugh, nervously, as I did, not realizing that $150 is rather inexpensive; if you happen to own a Saab, a new key actually requires you to trade in a child (or, at minimum, a beloved pet).
It turns out that car keys are now made entirely by hand in northern Europe, where worker’s wages are indexed to the cost of private dachas in the Russian countryside, into which these highly valued employees are expected to disappear for their 25 weeks or so of vacation. The keys are encrusted with diamonds, then sent by private jet to the Vatican where the Pope blesses them. Oh, and there’s “a chip inside that communicates with the engine,” says my dealership. This, I’m told, is so no one can steal the car. (I’m willing to bet that thieves have figured out a work-around).
Of course, everything that I’ve heard from the IT community is that chips are getting tinier and cheaper. Unfortunately, they still only support Internet Explorer version 8. (That there is a little inside IT joke for you!).
I declined to buy a new key. Instead, I plan to lobby the Pope to have a sliding scale when it comes to blessing car keys. (Must come up with a pricing matrix for key-blessing. Needless to say, the Vatican will bleed those Tesla key owners dry!).