Many years ago, I was driving a Transit (badly) through St John’s Wood in London and misjudged the width of the van, knocking out the taillights of a parked car. I stopped and left a note so the owner could get in touch with a bill (he/she didn’t, which surprised me). A few years after that, I was driving my mum’s car through an exceptionally narrow street and scraped someone’s bumper. I stopped, left a note, and paid for the repairs to the other car – which I regretted, as judging by the bill the owner replaced the standard bumper on his Ford Fiesta with one made of gold, rubies and diamonds. Despite that, I’d do the same thing again. To me, it’s obvious: you smash something belonging to somebody else, you pay to make it good.
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point in the last week or so somebody has scored deep lines along one side of my car while I’ve been parked in Tesco (I know it was Tesco – I’m a parent, I don’t go anywhere else). The car’s worth approximately 5p; the damage would cost several hundred quid to repair (it’s a wing, two doors and a rear panel). And it’s not the sort of damage you can do without noticing. So some bugger has scraped the shite out of my car, known full well what they’ve done, and just buggered off.
I think I’ve mentioned this before: one of my neighbours takes a note of the registrations of cars parked next to him in supermarkets. I used to think it was a stupid idea, but now I’m not so sure – because if I’d taken a note of the cars parked next to me, I could find them in future and set them on fire.