Letters to Customer Service: MINI Cooper USA

Dear MINI (Cooper) USA:

I never thought there would possibly be a downside to owning a 2013 MINI Cooper Hardtop. My little blue zoom-zoom, “Papageno” (yes, I named him), is the dawn of my mornings, the vehicle that makes driving to work one of the better parts of my day.

Apparently, there is a downside to all this. When I recently came home from vacation, I discovered that my tires looked a little sad. So I grabbed my handy-dandy air pump (one of the handful of practical gifts an ex-boyfriend gave me that I didn’t summarily toss) and got to work. Quel horror! I discovered that someone had stolen my tire valve stem caps. Two of them! What kind of torqued mind would steal stem caps? And more importantly, why—? Why couldn’t they have just bought their own damned step caps like a common, decent person?

Well, here’s why:

And you don't even sell the cheap kind without the logo!
And you don’t even sell the cheap kind without the logo!

These little chrome babies are sold in sets of four. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to part ways with around $20 (caps, taxes, shipping) if I had to replace one or two of them either. If I had a torqued mind, I’d probably sneak them from some hapless MINI Cooper Hardtop whose owner I was pretty sure was on vacation. All I could think was this: “Good thing I didn’t get the indoor/outdoor car cover. That sucker would have been long gone by now.”

Look, there are a lot of MINIs in my apartment’s parking lot, not to mention the veritable phalanx of them parading around my neighborhood, so I cannot possibly identify the culprit. Driving down my street today in a really sour mood, a guy in a brown MINI convertible cut in front of me. Stink eye. Was he the perp? See, it’s enough to make a person really paranoid.

I managed to scrounge up one cheap-0 cap the local garage, then sucked it up and ordered rest from a place on Amazon. All four of them. I had no other choice. What am I going to do, file a claim with my insurance company for theft? At least if someone pilfers more, I won’t be caught with my tires down.

Aside from the stem cap problem — which, god, god, god, I hope this doesn’t become a recurring problem — the car itself is a masterpiece. I do think, however, that MINI USA would do well to provide these caps to MINI owners in replacement packets of one, or as a pair. These are tough times, and I could have put that extra cash in my gas tank.