The first reaction of those who dwell in California's cradle of technology to the recession was blithe indifference — Wall Street's problem, not theirs. How swiftly they learned otherwise. A tipster sends in photographic evidence.

Spotted at Collateral Auction Systems, an outfit in the Bay Area suburb of Fremont, Calif. which sells repossessed cars: A Mercedes biturbo V12 SL600, a car which sells new for $120,000.

On the license-plate frame: the logo of Cisco, a San Jose-based networking-equipment giant which makes everything from cable set-top boxes to telecom switches to home Wi-Fi routers.

There's a story behind this photo of someone who lived high off of Cisco's rich stock options — an engineer? an executive? a salesman? And just as suddenly, the spigot of cash shut off. In six months, the stock has fallen by more than 40 percent. Cisco stealthily laid off employees even as its cheerleading CEO John Chambers said the company wouldn't cut staff. We don't have the details on how this six-figure driving machines landed in a repo lot — but the picture tells a story all the same.