Several years back, my in-laws were driving their 1975 Pontiac Astre through the Southwest visiting relatives in the area. That is was how people vacationed back in those days. And the tradition of traveling long distances by car remained for that generation even when air travel became affordable to most American families.
In any event, they were driving through Arizona when somewhere just a few miles outside of Flagstaff on Interstate 40, they lost a hub cap off the old Astre. By the time the loss was discovered they were already settled into their motel for the evening; the patriarch, Melvin, would have to deal with it when they returned back home to Oregon.
Once back home, Melvin found that the local Pontiac dealer no longer stocked parts for such an old vehicle and so suggested he try the local wrecking yard. The auto wrecking staff, made up mostly of teen-agers, was more than eager to help. The one young kid explained to Melvin that, although they didn’t have a used 1975 Pontiac Astre hub cap right there in stock, they were connected to a “computer network” linking auto wrecking yards all across the country. Somebody somewhere would likely have the hub cap and it would show up on the network.
A few days went by and Melvin received a call that his Astre hub cap was in and he could come down to the yard and pick it up. As he paid for his used hubcap, Melvin expressed surprise that the wreckers were able to find a replacement hub cap so quickly. As he paid for the replacement hub cap he thanked the young clerk. “It wasn’t a problem, sir”, the young man responded. “It was shipped to us from a wrecking yard down in Arizona… Someone picked it up off Interstate 40 just a few miles outside of Flagstaff”.