A few months ago I decided to get a new car. Rather than buying the car from "the lot" I ordered it custom configured. This was only supposed to take a couple of months but delays in the factory stretched the wait to 5 months. I discovered in an online forum that if I got the VIN of my car once it was produced I could track its status. So I asked me dealer for it. He gave me the VIN but was not aware of any such tracking service. Furthermore, he didn't believe it could be done. But sure enough, I was able to find out the production day, day it was loaded on the ship, and realtime location of the ship.
I mentioned to the boys that it was incredible that with a bit of online research I had become more knowledgable than the general manager of the car dealership. We used to have to rely on such "experts" in the past, when they had exclusive access to information. Yet these days not only can be get the information ourselves but we can become more knowledgeable than them. Pretty empowering. BTW: the forum where I found the info is amazing. A super active community of people just around a single car model. Pick a topic, any topic, and there is an online community around it!
So where is my car today? In the middle of the Panama Canal of all places.