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The Almighty Buck

Hi-Tech Repo Man 241

jhaberman writes: "MSNBC has an amusing article. It is a ride-along with a Silicon Valley repo man. You know, those guys who swipe cars from people who can't pay. He is taking cars right out of all the big players (Apple, Intel, Cisco, Sun) parking lots! Needless to say, he has quite a bit of work right now. Hilarious."
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Hi-Tech Repo Man

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    $60000 for a car and it cant even play an mp3

    Jeez, talk about 'PROFIT MARGINS'
  • A disgruntled Cisco ex-employee turned repoman would though... ohh, vengeance is sweet. Repo'ing your managers SUV has got to be the icing on the cake.

    Not that I speak from experience or anything. Anybody looking for an IOS coder and reasonably priced Ford Explorer? Let me know.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Lottery tickets

    Surely they mean VA Linux shares? Ohh... same thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah, that seems to be every gun-totin' Texan's fantasy: for some "bad guy" to violate his home and threaten his family. That way our stout hero gets to defend his family, his property, the US of A, and Jesus. As a plus, he gets to feel the thrill of taking a human life and gets the bragging rights to use with his drinking buddies. YeeeeeeeeeeeeeHaw!!!

    Too bad that, every now and then, it turns out to be his college age son coming home from his dorm to sleep at home because his roommates friends are making it impossible for him to sleep. Oops, looks like his guts are splattered all over the walls. Pity he didn't call first.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you die tomorrow, you won't get any extra points for having a fat bank account.

    However, you may get to the bonus level if you have more than a million dollars.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2001 @09:06PM (#244387)
    Why not? They chose to work in a high-risk speculative field for the chance to make it rich. It was their personal choice to do this rather than a more stable, boring job in a more average community. If you want to gamble everything on living high, you have to accept the responsibility for loosing big.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:23PM (#244388)
    Has he taken the Andover Slashdot cruiser yet?
  • by zztzed ( 279 )
    Of course, he's fucked either way.

  • Interesting to see that the Buddhist stance includes sublimation of desire of a few non-material things too. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks.

    Personally, I find that happiness is good brain chemistry. Some people have it and some don't. For those with good brain chemistry, nothing will make them unhappy. Once in a while one of these people make it to prominence. You've seem them. A lot of them are fitness gurus. Some of them are insufferable.

    For those with bad brain chemistry, only turning around that chemistry will make them happy. This can be done in the short run with drugs or in the long run with therapy. Therapy can be self-administered, even without knowing it, and I'm sure training in getting rid of desire is really good therapy.

    I'm just not sure that, without all the mysticism involved, getting rid of desire is all that healthy. Desire, it seems to me, is tightly linked to motivation. Without desire of any kind, it is hard to see getting out of bed in the morning. Even if that bed is going to be repossessed.

    Life is a big old mystery. Every day we learn more about it by living it. If our possessions are taken away, and it makes us unhappy, at least we are humbled by the experience. How can life be improved without the experience? Color me skeptical.

  • Of course that doesn't change the fact that someone with a million-dollar house is by definition quite wealthy. The simple fact that they live in an expensive neighborhood (so they aren't wealthier than their neighbors) doesn't change this. Most people could not afford to move into such neighborhoods to begin with...
  • Erm, isn't that the entire point of the term lease? The bank owns the car, and you are leasing it from them; you have not bought it from them, and thus ownership hasn't transferred from the bank to you.
  • Just because someone is living high doesn't mean they're wealthy....more likely the opposite.

    Perhaps, but they're still relatively wealthy to even be able to purchase a million-dollar house, even if it took all their money. Most people couldn't afford a million-dollar house even if they were living well beyond their means.
  • by Eric Green ( 627 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @09:19PM (#244394) Homepage
    It all depends upon how long you want to keep your car. If you are going to keep your car for 10 years, it doesn't matter how much it depreciates once you drive it off the dealer's lot -- what matters is how well it holds up for that 10 years. The best way to have that happen is to buy it new and properly care for it for that entire time. That's what my family typically does. My Mom's 1988 Honda Civic station wagon was only recently retired, with 288,000 miles. Her 1995 Honda Civic 4 door (she sold the station wagon to my brother at that time) has over 120,000 miles on it right now, and she plans to hold on to it for another 5 years. She can do that because it was taken care of, and she doesn't have to worry about whether the previous owner ran it for 60,000 miles without an oil change, and ....

    The problem is that we here in America rarely take the long view. It's always "Buy something, hope it lasts a few years, buy something else to replace it." I grew up in a part of the country where keeping old cars running for a long time was a part of the way of life. For some reason we've lost that part of our culture in our "buy buy buy" consumer feeding frenzy.


  • Read The Millionaire Next Door [] to see how the average millionaire makes (and keeps) his money. The best part is that the average millionaire made his million or more in 25-30 years. The other interesting thing is that the book you refereced touts "how to get rich and get rid of your job." The average millionaire today still works hard at his job because he loves what he does. Humans were meant to work...and when they have protracted idle time, they get *really* bored and jaded. Trust me...I know from experience :)

    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • From Frank Herbert's Dune series:

    Here lies a toppled god-
    His fall was not a small one.
    We did but build his pedestal
    A narrow and a tall one.

    --Tleilaxu proverb

    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • ...and still no sympathy. I graduated in June, CS degree from Auburn University [], hired and started August 1 with net32 []. The coapny sells dental supplies over the web to dentists and hygienists. They cut 50% of the staff--including me--in mid-December. 5 months on the job and I got the ax. I didn't study very hard but I worked my butt off at net32. I still got cut, and after living off savings for 2 months, got another job, still doing web and cgi work.

    I have no sympathy for people who don't save and plan ahead when it's well within their means to do so. NONE. I can afford that opinion because I *have* been there. I had enough savings that when I totaled my car two months after starting my new job, I could go out and by another with savings. Understand that I've been working 7 out of 9 months, and I could by a 1991 740 turbo wagon (Volvo) with most of the options OUTRIGHT. I still have savings. I live in a 2 br apartment by myself. I work hard, and I spend next to nothing. On top of that 10% of my gross salary goes to tithing, so you can't say that I'm a miser.

    I repeat: I'm exceedingly careful with my money. I don't make a lot, but I make enough. If people don't manage their money properly, it's no concern of mine, but I don't want to hear them whining about how badly they were mistreated.

    I'm not going to be sadistic and laugh about poetic justice like the guy who started this thread, but it certainly is poetic. I do this work because I love it. I got cut, I bounced back, and I'm happy again. It's a lot easier to go out and get another job than it is to sit home and collect unemployment and whine. If you have to go elsewhere to get a job, do. If you're that sharp, they'll pay for you to move. Try Utah...try RTP.


    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • :}

    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • People are gonna get sick of my saying this but read The Millionaire Next Door []. Just because someone is living high doesn't mean they're wealthy....more likely the opposite. Most truly wealthy people live well below their means....the people who *can* afford to live in fancy neighborhoods generally don't, and vice versa.

    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • In college I bought an old Sony Vaio PCG-505GX from Mort (from slashnet) for $ was only 1-1.5 years old. I eat like a snake. I pay rent, gas, insurance. I've bought 2 plane trips to Arizona and one to Alabama in the last 9 months, along with a Sony camcorder and a WinTV card. All that, plus the tithing mentioned, plus having to support capital gains taxes....and I still have money left over--even after being layed off and losing a car.

    It's unfortunate that most people don't exercise financial restraint and responsibility, but not doing so does not entitle them to whine about their misfortunes :)

    if ($user =~ m/shaldannon/i) {
    print "\n-- $user :)\n"
  • by Paul Komarek ( 794 ) <> on Friday May 04, 2001 @10:55PM (#244401) Homepage
    "...Dynamic 601-b self-loading boom..."

    Interesting to see a geek at work in a different field. I'm assuming, of course, that Mr. Kevern told the reported the model number of the self-loading boom off the top of his head.

    -Paul Komarek
  • Nah - if he was a real geek he'd have got the 701 series upgrade with 5000lb of wheel lift!

    No, not until he can pay cash for it.

    Cheers, Ulli

  • by pedro ( 1613 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @08:30PM (#244404)
    Zillions of studies have been done on WHY millionaires are rich.
    THE single largest factor has been a general disdain for extravagance.
    Use less than you get, and you accumulate wealth. Simple. Why is this so hard for so many people to understand?
    Extravagance doesn't inform the soul. It doesn't please your partner. It might get you laid, but that's all. Laid. NOT loved, which is infinitely more valuable.
    It does only one thing really well..
    The attractance of Jackals. Land Sharks. Sycophants.
    Millionaires are generally rich because they possess and excercise something approximating a value system.
    Dot Com bozo's were generally into status, and the getting of STUFF. Illusion.
    THAT idea is the germ of self-inflicted brain death.
  • by pedro ( 1613 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @08:10PM (#244405)
    Excuse me, but Shadenfreude is a (DUH!) German term, tangentially related to enjoyment at seeing the self-inflated succumb to their own hubris.
    There's nothing 'only in America' about it.
    These people *knew* they were in a speculative bubble, and just chose not to recognize it. They gambled that they'd cash out some tasty stock options befor the souffle' fell, and they lost.
    I have ZERO pity for these people. None. Nada.
    Having known some leeter than thou yuppie wannabe scum personally, I feel that these folks are getting off far too easily.
    Eventually, the greedy have to pay.
    The dotbomb debacle was swift, sure justice, and I've enjoyed every second of it.
  • by Sabalon ( 1684 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @08:32PM (#244406)
    The sickening read of this article basically states what a high kick this guy gets off the human misery that is a round of layoffs, just so he can make a few bucks.

    Not really. What he was saying is that he feels bad when he has to repo a car from a mother of two that is doing the best she can, and that it's the .com's own damn faults for going haywire when a much more modest care would have not got them in this situation.

    Not so much he gets a kick, as it's hard to feel sorry for them.
  • by bobalu ( 1921 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @10:15PM (#244409)
    you just might think "i don't care, i want a #&*@ ferrari before i die!".

    'cuz life sucks and then you die. or you just get too old and/or fat to get in the bloody car anyway. i mean, point well taken and all, but i find my toys are excellent motivation to get my ass out and working. besides, a little self-confidence and risk-taking is really essential at some point if you're trying to do something career-wise.

    don't get me wrong, i have little sympathy for people eating $100 lunches while their car gets towed away, but sometimes you just have to make a fashion statement, and if it doesn't work out well hey, try again next time.
  • I can afford it :-) Sure, I work for a 'dotcom', and we're doing pretty darned well, but I'm not stupid enough to go out and spend a lot of money I don't have. Heck, I'm about to take a honeymoon, and it's all paid for. Now, did that come from money from the 'dotcom' craze?

    No! I saved this money into a savings account and some stocks for YEARS, just for either a honeymoon or a serious vacation. Go figure, I have a lot of 'dotcom' friends the repo man will meet, while I have no bills I can't handle on much above minimum wage, and I've even gotten ahead on most of the payments on stuff I do have (car insurance, house insurance, etc) so if I DO have to get a new job, I'm not scrambling for cash.

    I have zero sympathy for 'dotcom' geniuses who dug themselves into a hole. Dad worked in a factory his whole life, and I learned what it means to have a backup plan for when it all goes to hell! Thanks dad!
  • Sure, some people have made bad financial decisions, and must make good on their debts. Reposessions is important and necessary. But neither he nor we should be taking joy in the suffering of others. Real people's lives are falling apart. It may be their own fault, but it's still sad.

    A reposession man should no more be happy about layoffs than an undertaker should be happy about an epidemic.

  • It's just an extension of the dotcom craze - borrowing and spending huge amounts of money you don't have, nor have a hope of ever having.
  • That would be kind of hard - since he *owns it outright*. Grand Theft Auto doesn't tend to look good on a resume.
  • Two cars are so new their license plates still have dealer tags.

    New cars in California, at least in Sillicon Valley, don't have "dealer tags" on their plates. A dealer sticker is placed in the front windshield, and the dealer also typically puts cardboard advertisment where the plates should go (though it's perfectly legal to remove them, and many people do).

    Makes me a bit suspicious about the accuracy of the rest of the article...
  • Forget Keating... he got the press and trial but the biggest of the s&l failures was Silverado... with Mr. Neil Bush on the Board. That's the son of GHWBush and bro to Dubya for y'all a little slow on the draw. Course Neil only got a little fine as a result of a civil suit brought against Silverado. No Congressional hearings were held in a case that cost Amercian taxpayers $2 Billion (that's with a B, 2 thousand million for you on the other side of the pond) compared to countless hearings about whether a stain was or was not on a certain dress.

    And frankly... the pilfering of loot from suckers by dot com boards and executives does not even come close to what the S&L's sucked out of the economy. Pud can rant about dot bombs til the mad cows come home... but simply put...Lump em all together and ya still don't have $300 Billion (that's with a b, 300 thousand million for you on the other side of the pond) paid by American taxpayers to clean up the mess left by Bush and Keating during Reagan's administration.

    And in the end... a fool and his money are soon parted... and the P.T. Barnum's and Fidelity's (go check their financial statements) make out as your money gets fleeced from the sheeple of America. And BMW of America has to create a certified used car program like Lexus of America already does.
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) <> on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:37PM (#244423) Journal
    only in about 3 bass-ackwards states buddy. Protecting your property IS NOT a valid excuse for homcide.

    Also if the repo man is ANY good the only way you'll find out is when he honks driving out of your driveway or when the dead-beat tries to drive his car again :)

    I say this as a retired repo man from the Bay Area Calif :) A shitty job but it DOES PAY WELL.
  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @10:12PM (#244426) Homepage
    Let's see... $40K in debt after four years of college, plus the costs of having not earned $60K per year during those four years.

    Versus Repo Man, who socks away $60K for four years, compounding interest.

    I'll guarantee that Repo Man will have more money at retirement.

  • by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @12:40AM (#244430) Homepage
    The justice is that your Calvinistic sense of entitlement was part of a vast "I got mine, screw you" sense of indifference to those who weren't in the red-hot tech industry.

    My family is from Latin America. I have relatives that, I assure, have studied as hard and worked twice as hard as you do, and never even had a chance at the kind of lifestyle you were enjoying. There are physicists and doctors from the former eastern bloc that drive cabs in the US. During the boom, folks like you (although not necessarily you) smugly claimed that they *deserved* their wealth, which (since wealth is relative) is an implicit claim that others deserve their lack of it. That is what makes the comeuppance so sweet.

  • Many of the people in the article were living beyond their means and ripping off lenders. Considering the best place to find luxury cars in the article was swanky restaurants. If they cant pay thier loans, whey are they buting $100 meals?
  • When some people were doing very well during the InterNet bubble, there was no shortage of articles admiring and envious of those smart and lucky to make a fortune.
    Now during the downtown the media is going to the other extreme and amusing us on the misfortune and greed of others.
  • by Dredd13 ( 14750 ) <> on Saturday May 05, 2001 @05:52AM (#244440) Homepage
    Since a lot of people refer to the plates themselves as "tags", its not a big stretch to assume the "dealer tags" are the cardboard advertisements that would be sitting in the license-plate frame.

  • by Raven667 ( 14867 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @11:07PM (#244443) Homepage

    That's not good at all. If these companies really wanted to help they would encourage their people to give the cars back and help out with the carpooling.

  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:52PM (#244446)
    I thought Taco painted it, and it was officially "Slhasdto teh Kwoosserr."

  • I chatted with a guy who works for a telecommunications firm in Little Rock, AK. The repo business has been big business for as long as he's been there (long before the dot-com crash). Seems that the ratio of people who care more about appearances than a decent standard of living is pretty high.

    Its not uncommon to find a twenty something guy who drives around in a $40,000 car and a nice pair of clothes. But those are the *only* decent clothes he has, he lives in an efficiency (bare bones cheap housing) and works full time at McDonads and Wendys to pay for his car.

    The guy I talked to parks in a lot that takes 5,000 or so cars, and half a dozen visits from repo guys are not uncommon. He also said its a great place to sell used cars. :)
  • "One day I came home, and accidentally stuck my car key in the lock instead of the house key. To my surprise, it started right up. So I took it for a spin.
    I parked it in the middle of the Interstate, and started yelling at all the drivers to get the hell out of my driveway."


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • "The more you drive, the less intelligent you are"

    I ride a bike, and read on the subway when the weather sucks :P


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • obNitPick:

    When you purchase (not lease) a car, the vehicle is titled in your name, and the bank has what's known as a "Security Interest" in it. You still own the vehicle, but it has had a lien placed against it to provide some legal assurance to the bank that they will get paid (other than your word, shouldn't that be enough? ;). Basically, that interest says that the bank can repossess the car if you're not living up to your end of the bargin (making payments), and only after a decently long procedure to do so.

    The reason the bank holds the title is a function of the poor security for titles in most states. At least in Texas, all that's needed to release a lien is a signature of the "lienholder or authorized representative." If you had the original title, there'd be no (easy) way of proving that the signature on the title to release the lien wasn't valid, so why should the bank even bother? The fact that you own the vehicle is documented not only on the title, but on the non-negotiable/transferrable "Receipt of Ownership," or a valid-only-for-you title.

    The bank owns only the remaining balance in your vehicle insofar as they're the ones to whom you owe the money. Just like owning a house which is deeded in your name but which a mortgage lien has been placed against, you own the actual property and the bank owns the money that you owe them. This is why if your vehicle is repossessed (or your house foreclosed on) and they sell it at auction and recover more than you owe, the bank is required to refund to you the overage (usually minus any "fees and expenses" which almost always come out to the exact amount of that overage, funny that), since it was originally your property. Again, the only reason your lender can take the property is because of the security interest that you contractually agreed to.

    See also secured and unsecured loan.


  • The science of matter over mind... It seems that Mr. Nesmith's predictions of the early 80's may be true...
    "You ever feel like your mind is going to explode???... You ever been to Utah?" - J. Frank Parnell
    "Find one in every car, You'll see" - miller

    Attention Moderators: before going ape on my karma, please check out [] for a better understanding of my comments as well as the parent threads... Great movie with an even better soundtrack!!
  • People who exercise options and just hang onto the stock are being incredibly stupid, or are severely misinformed. There is *NO REASON AT ALL* to do such a thing. Simply holding the options harbors no risk at all. There is absolutely no need to exercise until you want to sell.

    You can exercise, and then have your broker shortsell on the exercise date to recover your costs. Or before, if you want (slight risk if the stock goes up before exercise date).If you short it and your exercise date is a day or two later, and the stock drops, all the better (you incurr a slight capital gain on top of the option benefit, but that's good)

    Blaming the fall of silicon vally on this option benefit tax is rediculous; again, there is absolutely no reason to exercise the options until you are ready to sell. The options themselves harbor no risk, but if you exercise, you open yourself up to a dangerous tax liability.

    Also... (this is how it works in Canada)... capital losses can only be used to offset capital gains... so the massive capital loss you get in your scenario doesn't help you at all unless you happen to have some large capital gains elsewhere.

    I made the mistake of not selling all the stock I exercised, and it cost me dearly. It's silly that I have to pay tax on money I never really had... but I knew the risk beforehand. If you ask me, stock option benefit should be capital gains, not income... but unfortunately, it's not.

  • Let's say you exercise 2000 options, say, to buy a stock at $1, and it's now at $11 . The benefit you will be taxed on is $10 x 2000 = $20,000 of added *income* (not capital gains). If you then sell, say, 500 shares at the same price, earning you 500 * $11/share = $5500 bux to put away for tax. There is not a dime of capital gain in this situation. Your 'purchase price' for the stock, for gains caluclation is the fair market value on the day you exercised, not your option price, because you already incurred a taxable benefit on the difference between the fair market value and your option price. You don't get taxed twice for the same thing.

    To repeat, the instant-money you make from exercising stock options is not a capital gain, it is a taxable benefit (income). You did not invest and have your capital increase in value, you purchased something that was worth more than what you paid (just like if you buy a house for $1, they tax you on the market value of the house anyway).


  • So what you are really saying is, if you have to exercise, and you think the stock has a good chance of more growth, you should let it stay, but have some standing sell orders in case the stock drops, to cover your tax liability.
    That makes good sense, but of course, if it DOES drop, you end up with less money than you otherwise would have had...though you can cover your taxes. It's just another calculated risk.

    And about getting the advice of an accountant.. ABSOLUTELY, WITHOUT QUESTION, you should do this. I sure wish I had. (I ended up paying a great deal more tax than planned this year simply because I didn't know I had to file a simple piece of paper with my employer to defer an option benefit into next year. Or more accurately, because I waited too long to get professional advice.)


  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @06:37AM (#244458)
    Okay. Yes, options have a time limit, usually several years, or near termination of employment. I don't believe it is common practice to have options that must be exercised soon after they vest.

    Holding onto stock in a hot market is smart, yes.
    Not having the cash to cover a tax liability you cannot escape is *stupid*. You should at least sell enough to cover the tax on the option benefit, else you simply put yourself at greater risk.

    This is not about foresight, it's about risk. If you invest in some hot company on the market, you only risk your investment, no matter how volatile the stock is. Better even, if the stock bottoms out, you can at least use the capital loss against your other capital gains.
    A stock option benefit is a different matter altogether. the moment you exercise, you incur a taxable benefit. You WILL have to include it in your income for tax purposes, and WILL have to pay whatever tax you owe on it. So it only makes sense to ensure that you can pay up, otherwise, you are taking a big risk.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @07:44AM (#244461)
    At the company I work for, you can only hold options for four years after you receive them. They have some additional screwey properties that mean you might very well want to exercise them long before the time limit, but I won't go into that here...

    I really wanted to address the point of selling enough stock right after you excercise to pay for the taxes. The issue I have with doing that (and I think one reason why perhaps a lot of people didn't sell stock as soon as they exercised) is that then you pay short term capital gains taxes if you sell the stock right away, whereas you only have to wait a year to pay long terms capital gains and a LOT less in tax! If I had exercised anything last year I'm pretty sure I would have been screwed over as well, since I would have figured just waiting one year was probably safe...

    Now that we are all wiser, what I would do after exercising is to set aside a certain amount of stock with a sell limit set at an amount to cover my tax liability should the stock price drop. That way I potentially get the benefit of selling all my stock at the long term rate, but also am covered in case the stock really tanks. Of course, using that system you could be hosed by temporary dips but I figure you could set the selling point fairly low if you had some other savings or assets you knew you could rely on to cover losses (though of course as the original poster said, it's pretty painful to have to pay for money you never saw).

  • by BadmanX ( 30579 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:15PM (#244464) Homepage
    Lottery tickets in the glove boxes of expensive cars purchased by once-rich executives. I love it.

  • by Polo ( 30659 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:34PM (#244465) Homepage
    The key sentence was:

    • like most other repo men, he owns his car outright.

    Too bad I can't say the same about all the code I've written... :-)
  • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @10:31AM (#244469)
    Well, actually he is restoring the cars to their rightful owners, which might make it a bit better (remember, if those people default on their loans, _you_ will get the pleasure of paying for it one way or the other).

    And the systems built by a lot of the bombed dot.commers were neither beautiful nor sophisticated, nor used by very many people apparently. Paid for by money conned out of the inexperienced and gullible in a lot of cases too.

    So the choice isnt exactly as clear cut as you might think.
  • Justice? No-one owes you a job, no matter how smart or hard working you are. It's up to you to handle your own life, and find your own way to make a living. It's your choice if you stay in the midst of the layoffs living off your savings - other people might choose to move someplace else where they can get a job.
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @08:21AM (#244472)
    Nah - if he was a real geek he'd have got the 701 series upgrade with 5000lb of wheel lift!

    Yeah, baby! []

  • Not according to the article. Between 30 and 60,000 if I recall. Techies do that well almost out of college these days. 60K just doesn't seem enough for the amount of actual work involved.

    Yeah, but the Repo Man's car is paid off, and he's tracking down the techie's car for a nice "pop".

  • But their hardware runs well without Windows; find it here. []
  • A reposession man should no more be happy about layoffs than an undertaker should be happy about an epidemic.

    Right - but from the article it sounds like they're getting paid per reposession. Sounds like a perfect way to attract people who delight in others' suffering.

    Similarly, states which use volunteers to perform executions are obviously gonna attract sadists to the job.

  • when they still work for someone else?
    I wouldn't call this work.

    when they still have to act a certain way,
    Havn't noticed any change.

    dress a certain way,
    t-shirt and shorts, no shoes, same as always

    or be in certain places at certain times?
    Meetings suck, but if I didn't go I wouldn't cop too much shit.

    when being without a few paychecks would mean losing your toys, or even your home?
    have neither a home nor toys I own (well, there is that laptop..)

    when I started enjoying success in a high-tech job I didn't go out and buy a bmw.
    me either

    I drive a 60's model volkswagen.
    dont drive.

    I didn't "buy" real estate in california either.
    why would you want to live here for longer than you have to? It's a fucking suburb, everything is too far apart, there's nothing to do here, the pubs close at 2am, and most of em only serve beer and wine anyway.

    what the fuck were you people thinking?
    They weren't, they were reacting to the wants and needs that have been driven into them by society.

    that you shit gold and pee perfume?

  • by 1010011010 ( 53039 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @10:02PM (#244482) Homepage

    "Sun Microsystems. We put the dot in 'OH SHIT, WE'RE BROKE!'"

    - - - - -
  • As tragedies go, some rich people getting a little less richer is hardly
    much to brag about. Almost all those people are skilled professionals and will get new jobs soon, and do fine, just not with millions rolling all around them.

    The repo people don't get the kick from the human misery, but from the business opportunity and chance to put some more and better food on the table. These guys make $30-60k, live in Silicon Valley, and you expect them to feel sorry for overspending tech workers?

    Like the guy said, when it's real human misery, he does feel bad about it.
  • by joq ( 63625 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @08:10PM (#244486) Homepage Journal
    Nice to know how practical one needs to be in life in order to still maintain a sense of happiness. So while this may be -1 trolled here I figured I would inject some substance on materialism.

    Acquiring material things or not acquiring them; happiness or unhappiness; interesting or uninteresting sounds; praise or criticism: They are all the same to me.'

    It is easy to understand how it can be a problem not to acquire things, to be unhappy, to hear uninteresting sounds, to have a bad reputation, to be criticised. These are commonly recognised as problems. But you might not recognise acquiring things, having comfort and happiness, hearing interesting sounds, having a good reputation and being praised as problems. However, they are all the same; they are all problems.

    But the object itself is not the problem. Having wealth is not the problem. So, what is the problem? The problem is the mind desiring and clinging to wealth - that is the problem. Having a friend is not the problem; the mind clinging to the friend makes having a friend a problem.

    Desire makes having these four material things, comfort, interesting sounds, praise - a problem. If there's no desire, no worldly concern, having or not having these objects does not become a problem.

    You might be sleeping comfortably one night when suddenly your sleep is disturbed by a mosquito biting you. If you have strong worldly concern, strong desire for comfort, you will be very annoyed at being bitten by the mosquito. Just being bitten, by just one mosquito. It is nothing dangerous, nothing that can cause any serious disease. The mosquito takes just a tiny, tiny drop of blood from your body. But seeing that mosquito's body filled with your own blood, you are shocked. You become angry at the mosquito and are upset all night. The next day, you complain about the mosquito all day long. "I couldn't sleep for hours last night!" Losing sleep for one night, or even a few hours, is like losing a precious jewel. You are as upset as somebody who has lost a million dollars. For some people, even such a small problem becomes huge.

    There are also people who desire so much to be praised and respected by others. If you ignore such people and walk past them with your nose in the air, or say just one or two words disrespectfully, something that they don't expect to hear, it causes great pain in their minds. Or if you give them something in a disrespectful manner, whether purposely or not, again there is great pain. For such people with so much expectation, so much clinging, the pain from even a small physical action that they dislike is great. It feels like an arrow has been shot into their hearts.

    Suddenly anger arises strongly. Suddenly their body becomes very tense. Their face, relaxed and peaceful before, now becomes kind of terrifying - swollen and tight, with their ears and nose turning red and the veins standing out on their forehead. Suddenly their whole character becomes very rough and unpleasant.

    The greater people's desire to receive praise and respect, the greater the pain in their heart when they don't get it. It is similar with the other objects of desire. The stronger the desires for material things, comfort, interesting sounds, and praise, the greater the pain when they experience the opposite.

    If you expect that a friend will always be pleasant, smiling, respectful, kind, and always do what you wish, but one day they unexpectedly do some small unpleasant thing, that tiny thing causes an incredible pain in your heart. All this is related to worldly concern, to how strongly you desire something. The less desire you have for the four desirable objects, the fewer problems you will have when you meet the four undesirable objects. Less desire means less pain. If you cut off clinging to this life, there is not hurt when you experience criticism or do not receive something, because there is no clinging to praise or receiving things.

    In the same way, when you do not cling to the expectation that your friend will always be nice to you, always smile at you, always help you when asked, there is no hurt when your friend changes and does the opposite to what you desire. There is no pain in your heart. Your mind is calm and peaceful. By cutting off the desire that clings to the four desirable objects, you don't have a problem when the four undesirable situations happen. They cannot hurt you, cannot disturb your mind.

    The thought of the worldly dharmas clings to the four desirable objects of this life. Without this thought, there is so much calmness and peace in your mind that meeting the four undesirable objects doesn't bother you. And meeting the four desirable objects also doesn't bother you. If someone praises you, it doesn't matter; if someone criticises you, it cannot disturb your mind. There is stability in your life, and peace of mind. There are no ups and downs. This is equalising the eight worldly dharmas.

    How do you keep your mind peaceful when problems happen? How do you protect your mind so that experiencing the four undesirable things does not disturb you? By realising that clinging to these four desirable objects is the problem. You have to realise the shortcomings of these four desirable objects and abandon clinging to them. This is the basic psychology. If you use this method, undesirable situations will not disturb you.

    Learn life []
  • Hey, don't get down about it, look at it this way: somebody has to free() the malloc()s.

  • All your cars are belong... nevermind. Couldn't help myself.

  • One thing I haven't seen here is the flip side. People are saying "they should have lived in their means" yet many of these people DID live in their means. The tax code, however, screwed them out due to some quirks in it. If you owned options and exercised them, many times you have to pay taxes on the price of the stock AT THE TIME YOU EXERCISE the stock, not how much you sell the stock for. This is taxed as income, and there is pretty much NO WAY TO AVOID IT. If the stock goes down after you exercise it, then you can take a capital loss off the stock, but you can only write off $3,000 a year for that. So, if you excercise 1000 shares of stock that was values at the time at $100 and your strike price was $10, then it dropped back to $10 and you sold, then you would owe taxes on $90,000 of income you never saw. Put that on even a fairly good income and you would see why many people in the valley are screwed. Lots of people didn't see it coming till it was too late as they have never seen this type of money, and the tax advisors never told them about the risk of excercise and holding stock. People know about it now though...
  • Remember: In Texas, if a man comes into your home, it is legal to shoot him in the ass, but not legal to fuck him in the ass.

    Don't get those two mixed up.


  • by bill.sheehan ( 93856 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:53PM (#244504) Homepage
    Only in America do we put people on pedestals because it's so entertaining to watch them fall. Most of these unfortunates are young. They've come far and fast by having the right kind of smarts at the right time and place. That they didn't know they were living in a speculative bubble and far beyond their means is due to inexperience and hubris, not malice.

    We've enjoyed the longest peacetime economic expansion in our history, but it's over. The saying is that a recession is when someone you know loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. There but for fortune...

    Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold...

  • What's wrong with this story: Techie gets laid off. Techie can't make his car payments. Techies car is repossessed in the company lot.

    Well, if you read the actual article instead of the /. blurb, you'll find that's not what the reporter wrote.


  • They've come far and fast by having the right kind of smarts at the right time and place. That they didn't know they were living in a speculative bubble and far beyond their means

    I refuse to believe that anybody smart (heck, anyone with an ounce of intelligence) couldn't tell that LEASING three cars for his girlfriend was a stupid idea when he was a salaried employee for a company that was extremely overvalued (they all were) and not a rich millionairre with cash in the bank.

  • Sounds like one might make a nice B2C auction site for the repoed cars. Of course, whe the economy perks up again, will crashland...
  • True enough. But I spent 3 years working as a medic for a busy city fire department, and I took a lot of pleasure in it.

    Not once, however, did I ever say "Woohoo! Another near-fatal car wreck involving three children! Today's my day to be good at giving IV's."
    ------------------------------------------ --------
  • While right now the tech industry is in a slump, and I'm lucky to be one of the techs who was intelligent enough to live within my means, I still have to resent the tone of the article.

    "Whenever another company announces layoffs, we get all excited". Straight from the article.

    Yes, it means you get more business, Mr. Repo man, but slow down for a second and realize that the 8,000 layoffs mean two things. 1) They mean that 50 workers who lived too lavishly will pay for it. 2) They mean that the other 7,950 workers who were just trying to get by in the most expensive place on this coast to live, are now probably apartment/home-less.

    The sickening read of this article basically states what a high kick this guy gets off the human misery that is a round of layoffs, just so he can make a few bucks.

    The article portrays the tech workers in a very bad light by focusing on the lavish, stupid guys. But frankly, when I read the article, it puts this repo guy in a FAR worse light.
    ------------------------------------------ --------
  • So what? We're talking about Micro$oft bashing here. There are no frontiers or any sort of rules for that. Let the guy show his indignation.
  • by Puff65535 ( 135814 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @07:26PM (#244536) Homepage
    Funny, even before the dot bust one of the perks I got working for a chip maker in colorado springs is "repo man protection". &nbsp Seems some of the fab workers had/have credit trouble so about the only thing security actually does besides endangering all donut species is chase tow trucks out of the parking lots. &nbsp Since some of the good ones can get in and out faster than security can respond, and w/o leaving license plate images on the security cameras (so trespassing charges can't be filed) there is a special locked parking area for those that really don't want to take chances. &nbsp Sounds like this practice may become more common

  • Sounds pretty rough.

    Lots of people decided to get into the tech world for solid reasons-- like, tech is what they enjoy and do well. But for the last few years, the tech sector has been pulled through a violent boom/bust by Wall Street investors, buzzword babbling bimbos on CNNfn, and "visionary geniuses" revealed as blowhards. All their hot air made for a turbulence ride even down at ground level. For a while it was fun like a roller-coaster, but now it mostly makes you puke. I think a lot of us would have preferred to skip the whole up-and-down, "new economy" bullshit trip and just do good work.

    I hope things look up for you soon!

  • Speaking of money, I forgot to pay the rent again! ;)

    Pray you don't come home from work one day and find your apartment building is gone. Those damn repo men can do anything these days.
  • by chipuni ( 156625 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @10:42PM (#244539) Homepage
    Before I came to Silicon Valley, I studied hard. I got a Master's degree in Computer Science from a top engineering school. I got several years of study toward a Ph. D.

    I worked my way up from the bottom of Silicon Valley. When I started as a programmer here, I was making a salary below the poverty line, because it was the only company that would hire me. (I didn't have experience.)

    After a year and a half of that, I finally got my first 'break': a major company wanted me. I moved to them for a year, and I was miserable. Better salary, but a lot more bullshit on the job.

    I got my second, and what I thought was my greatest 'break'. A small company would hire me for the same salary that the major company was giving me. I didn't change over for the money. I did it for the chance to do something more intesting, less boring, and with bosses that didn't have Redwoods up their asses. (The business was a consulting business. No one expected to get super-rich from any stock options, even if the company ever went public.)

    For eight months, the small business thrived. It was the best time of my life. I was creating software that was helping people. I was working with creative, intelligent people. Then the dot-com crunch hit everything.

    I was renting a house with two other geeks. The owners were relocated back to the Bay Area, and they needed to move back into their home.

    The small business had a 15% layoff. Then an 80% layoff.

    I'm now crashing at my girlfriend's house. All that I own, except my car and my computer, is in storage, and I'm living off my savings. The crash is keeping me from getting a job, even though I'm writing more than twenty companies every week.

    Now listen to me. I fucking studied hard, I fucking worked hard, I fucking kept on learning, and now I'm on unemployment insurance. What the fuck justice is this, you asshole?

  • Those that has support the concept of a trickle down economy will be happy! Proof of concept is here and now.
  • It was their personal choice to do this rather than a more stable, boring job in a more average community.

    Focusing on their job is missing the point. You can work in high risk field and still be handle your personal finances responsibly. You can be an entrepreneur and still drive a ten year old Ford Escort. This isn't about risk, it's about irresponsible behavior -- and the utterly mindless worship of status symbols.

    The guy who cried over a threat to repossess his Lexus SUV which he hadn't made payment on in a year is a classic case. It would never occur to him to get rid the damn thing when he could no longer afford it, would it? No, that might mean a loss of face in front of his friends. Never mind it's worth more money than many people make in a year.

  • Aside from the troll aspects of the p[ost, I know of a number of people in different parts of the country who had a decent life, then all the yuppies (or whatever you call them these days) moved in and messed it up. Often all the locals are screwed over and forced to move out before the yuppies market crashes.

    I have seen it in a number of areas of the country. Heck even in SF, where you can have studio apartment for thousands per month. Shear insanity. talk about herd mentality (we are all individuals!)

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • I'd like to give him a taste of his own medicine!

    Off the job, he drives a rare 1971 AMC Javelin that he restored himself; like most other repo men, he owns his car outright.

  • "and you'll see that many hidden millionaires prefer to buy used cars." I've never bought new for that very reason. The car I am driving now, I bought a 100K miles. I had the engine rebuilt. I keep it up and it is reliable and looks great. Total cost of the car and rebuild was less than 6K. I've put on another 85K miles. I own it outright! What would normally be payments are going right into the stock market sale! Even with the market drop, my average investment is up. After buying on the current market sale, I have lots more shares to hold on the ride up. When I retire, I plan on buying a NEW RV. At that point, there isn't much left to save for. I'll be able to enjoy what ever I want.
  • Um, I live in Portland, near the shipyards. Um what are those shiney colorful things with 4 wheels they unload off the ship with the big word Toyota on the side? True some Japanese cars are assembled in the US but not all.
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:34PM (#244553)
    In related news...

    Mr. Kevern is offering prizes to all dealerships to hand over the names and addresses of all Microsoft employees buying 'clean' cars (ones without payment protection plays).

    While Mr. Kervern does not believe all Microsoft employees intend to default on their repayments, he feels he has a right to be ready just in case.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @09:02PM (#244554) Homepage Journal
    I heard about this on KCBS, but was probably more stunned that it rated front page on /. than the story did. Interesting news for anyone in the market for a used Porsche, BMW or SUV.

    Meanwhile, in other news... Bugs Bunny episodes are going to be banned [] for being "racially charged." Now that's news for nerds, stuff that's interesting, I'd think. I may be wrong.


  • you just might think "i don't care, i want a #&*@ ferrari before i die!".

    Naah. When you pull back on the wheel of a Ferrari, nothing happens!

    Part of my lack of understanding of people who spend beyond their means to get nice cars is that, well...the speed limit is 70 mph, and you just can't have much fun [0] in a car.

    [0] The back seat of a Ferrari is inadequate for having fun ;-) ;-)

  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Friday May 04, 2001 @07:32PM (#244557) Journal
    Most of these unfortunates are young. They've come far and fast by having the right kind of smarts at the right time and place. That they didn't know they were living in a speculative bubble and far beyond their means is due to inexperience and hubris, not malice.

    Still their own stupid fault. I'm young, slightly immature, and certainly inexperienced...yet I have the intelligence to realise that borrowed money is expensive money, and living beyond your means is risky business. The repo man won't get my vehicle because I paid cash for it. I'd rather have a less expensive used car that's cheap to insure and paid for than a luxury vehicle or big SUV that I have to make payments on. I get sticker shock from the depreciation cost of driving a new car off the lot, so I don't do it ;-)

  • Looks like you should read this [].


  • by Alatar ( 227876 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @07:11PM (#244562) Homepage
    He's a *repo man*, for God's sake...he's not exactly in the pity business. Think for a second about what he does...he takes luxury cars away from people who have not made a payment in ages (it takes many rounds of letters back and forth before they send the repo man out). Look in the article..."million-dollar house and can't make a car payment". It's hard to feel sorry for such people, seeing as they made in a month what it takes the honest tradesman (which is what repo men are) to make in a whole year. A little payback is sweet, and besides, the less yuppie-driven SUVs on the road, the better.
  • You put them on a pedestal so you can see up the skirt better, not to watch them fall....
  • avoiding tense situations... A repoman spends his life getting into tense situations.
  • You can exercise, and then have your broker shortsell on the exercise date to recover your costs.

    At which point you have performed a 'constructive sale' and are liable for tax as if you had sold the shares.

    If you talk to a high level broker they have legal scams that wont get you into jail. Only catch is they won't speak to you unless you have at least $5 million to invest.

    Trying to find an adviser that understands the AMT system is next to impossible. The idiots at H&R block are not going to be taught the stuff on their 15 minute 'training video'. Basically once you have paid a big AMT bill on stock that dropped you can get the money back but it sorta involves exercising more stock that does not crash.

  • People with as deep a connection to your homeland as yourself confuse me. Move to Seattle if you like nice scenery. Move to Texas if you like cheap housing and sprawling land. There's a lot to be said for freeing your mind from territorialism.

    Look at me, I left the comfort of Scandanavia to live at the North Pole.

    Dancin Santa
  • And people say our economy is in fine shape, just a little off right now?! I think this proves that even the big money guys are over-spending, and not meeting their payment obligations. Let's just hope there's enough people out there with enough common sense to know how to properly budget their money. Maybe the coming recession won't be *that* bad.

    Speaking of money, I forgot to pay the rent again! ;)

  • I'm betting that they get paid by how many repos they do. From his point of view he is only doing a job. A job that wouldn't be necessary if people planned for downturns in their future. He said he felt sorry for the ones who probably couldn't have done any better. But why should he feel sorry for the stupid people who spent money they never had. The worth of your stocks and options is zero until you actually sell them and have the cash. Anyone who lives any other way isn't worth feeling sorry for.
  • by sagacious_gnostic ( 319793 ) on Friday May 04, 2001 @06:29PM (#244600)
    I don't think he'd dare... even a repoman would not be seen driving that thing.
  • Hell, you can buy Z8's at DigiKey for a lot less than that. Price depends on what on-chip peripherals you want, and stuff like that. Check the Zilog website. Or (and this isn't that bad an idea) salvage 'em off the circuit boards on many failed hard drives.

    (this is a geek board, right? What's with the yuppie car thread in the first place??)
  • by Tech187 ( 416303 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @07:39AM (#244607)
    Actually, there is a difference.

    Silicon Valley attracted a whole lot of scum in the past decade. Some of us, who knew about Silicon Valley fifteen years ago, maybe even know the difference between TTL and CMOS logic gates, are a little pleased that some of that scum is now being hosed off the pavement.

    It's not really 'revenge' or a manifestation of envy so much as the satisfaction of knowing that in the end everything generally does work out fairly.
  • You know, I wonder if I can get in on some of those repo sales. The silicon valley people have some insanely nice cars. Imagine getting a BMW with a built-in server-class computer? Pennies on the dollar man
  • Look here. []

    And here. []

    Actually they're more like advertisements, but I thought they were a pretty good look for getting an idea as to what the guy is working with.

  • by mcpkaaos ( 449561 ) on Saturday May 05, 2001 @01:31AM (#244622)
    I don't mean to bash on you for what you said, but it is worth mentioning that while this repo-man gets excited when he hears about layoffs, I doubt his motivation is greed. Adrenalin rushes aside, you might think his motivation was the fact that he is a 45 year old man with 3 kids to feed. When you consider the salary range quoted in the article (I think it was 30-60k) and the fact that this man, too, lives in Silicon Valley, you might cut him a little slack and understand he needs every penny he can muster just to support his family.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.