Thursday, June 2, 2011

CSI Case - The Missing Lock on the Letter Box

I am a Crime Scene Investigator of my own 
Locks. It is used to ensure the safety of the content inside, away from prying eyes. But what surprises me recently was the lock being stolen instead of the content. I walked down to my usual mailbox, and discovered the lock was missing! The iron latch was broken, leaving the tip upwards causing the box cover stuck permanently closed. Suddenly I felt like a Crime Scene Investigator. I looked at my mailbox and discovered the crime scene to be clean except only the bended iron latch.

Crime Scene in a Box
My first impression was someone wanted the mails inside my box. But the box cover wasn't open at all. The lock was nowhere to be found. My mind quickly flashes back to the time when I first put on the lock. Originally, the lock was meant for the front door. But I misplaced my keys one day, and only had 1 left. And the cheap lock that was used for the mailbox couldn't function anymore, so I replaced it with the lock from the front door. Who knows that lock to be so valuable!

Ask for your friends' opinions
The funny thing is, I was surprised no one came out from the neighborhood to check when there's a broken sound. I'm sure the culprit must have done it with a loud bang. Or maybe that time, everyone was sleeping. But truly, even locks nowadays thieves want to steal. This incident made me looked at the bigger picture of our country's social/political scene. A testimony was recorded that the lock was stolen probably during thunderstorms or in the daytime. I also went and asked for my friends' opinions. One of them said this happens probably due to my "celebrity" status, and a fan is out there to get my mails to know more about my life. Puh-leez, as if!

Surveying the neighboring mailboxes
Value in the Lock
There must be desperate people out there who needs money. Even for RM50. That's the money I would spend to replace the iron latch and also the price of the missing lock when its being traded in the black market. So I went over the neighborhood and asked about anyone who repairs a mailbox. There are so few locksmiths who does this kind of work. Mending metals and stuff. Most are very specific with just duplicating keys. Finally I found one, and he understands what I want.

I went around the neighborhood and surveyed their mailboxes. Some were dented. But there's one particular that seems to be in "pristine" condition, and doesn't look like anyone tries to break it. There's one that caught my eye, it was with a keyhole, instead of requiring a lock. Maybe I'll get one just like that! No need lock, since locks are what caused this damage in the first place. But when I enquired the locksmith about it, he said that the mailbox with keyhole is already in place in the beginning and not fixed in there. So I have no choice but to settle for the lock and key.

The locksmith at work
Call in the Specialist
The appointed locksmith was supposed to be at the place to fix, but he was late because he got lost and had to send his daughter from school. Seems like a lot of work for a locksmith to take out his tools, and using his strength to pull out the damaged metal of the mailbox. He also needs to be precise in his measurement of my mailbox for him to fix in a new iron ledge. He actually took out a door ledge, it seems, and bended it into an L-shape so as to place it directly to fit in the hole where the lock will be placed.

Learning through Observation
Thank goodness I am the sort who likes to observe a workman works, because after he finished his work, I found out that the new iron ledge does not allow my newly purchased small lock to be placed - the new lock is simply too small. I need a bigger one. I secretly "cursed" that damned locksmith for making the iron ledge much bigger, that causes me to change to a bigger new lock. But after awhile thinking it, this could be good, for then anyone who wants to break the ledge would have a harder time to do so because of the added diameter to the iron ledge.

Give business to those I feel for
I quickly went back to the shop where I first purchased the small lock at RM5. I want to give this guy some business, for he's extremely timid and soft-spoken, like a little puppy you want to protect. I feel he's also an honest person, compared to the last locksmith who had just finished repaired the mailbox. The timid guy took out a box and searched for the lock I requested - the one with the black bodice, and not made from copper or any metal. He doesn't have any! So I made the suggestion that he keep my RM5, and looked for the lock I wanted, and tomorrow I will come back to get it. But he insisted that he doesn't have that kind of lock. Finally, he returned my money and I gave him back the lock. Too bad, I couldn't give him any business.

Total cost of damage and repair - RM77
Seems like my final choice is back to the shop where the previous locksmith had just fixed my mailbox. He wasn't around, but the wife was there. We talked, and she said she had a few customers who experienced the same thing like I do. I told her to give me the not precious locks, the ones nobody would steal. She suggested I used the grey one, but to me, it looked quite fancy, which scared me a bit - for I wish not the mailbox to be broken again. But she assured me no one would steal such a lock, for its just plain iron. The lock costs only RM7. Before that, I went to Mydin and bought myself a hammer, thinking I could straighten out the dent. But really, there's no point after observing it. The iron ledge had been damaged permanently. The stolen lock was valued at RM20.

New, cheap lock
So what lesson do I learn from this incident?
1) Don't buy expensive locks. Simply don't buy anything expensive at all, period. Only intangible purchases like education is the safest bet to put in your investment, no matter how expensive. How about joining our Artiste Training Course (in Acting, Film Direction or Modelling?)
2) Be aware that there are people who wants to take other people's belongings - even insignificant stuff like a lock for it can be traded off. But the knowledge you've learned from Artiste Training Course can never be taken away from you.
3) There's value in everything, even knowledge.