Jay Beeler

This is turning out to be the year of failure of man-made products at our home.

It began on Jan. 21 when a walk on the hallway parquet flooring produced a “squish” sound and a revelation that the water heater on the bedroom side of our house had been leaking water for many days and had migrated to an unused bedroom. Repair estimates are running in excess of $40,000 and the revelation that Mercury Insurance Company is comparable to United Airlines when it comes to resolution of a valid claim versus corporate greed.

Three months later we still have not been adequately compensated and legal action is being contemplated. Is there a class-action lawyer in the house?

In 2015 we learned that Mercury was automatically adding 1,000 miles to our auto insurance policies because the California Insurance Department allows them to commit this fraud. Have your driving habits increase by 1,000 miles each year? Not likely.

The California Insurance Department has frequently investigated complaints about Mercury. A legal brief by state regulators seeking penalties against the company stated:

Mercury’s lengthy history of serious misconduct, and its attitude-contempt towards and/or abuse of its customers, the commissioner, its competition and the Superior Court – are all relevant to determining the penalty needed to best ensure the protection of the public from future violations and wrongdoing. Among Department [of Insurance] staff, consumer attorneys, and consumer victims of its bad faith, Mercury has a deserved reputation for abusing its customers and intentionally violating the law with arrogance and indifference.

In early March a computer power supply and our toaster-oven failed. On March 22 the turn signal on my car constantly flashed the left turn signal. On March 25 the battery charger on our electric lawn mower failed. The internet proved invaluable in replacing the components except for the battery charger.

Using we ordered a replacement Black & Decker battery charger. It arrived defective and a replacement was requested. A second charger arrived defective and their representative suggested that we try another online source. We did that and that source sent the wrong part. In frustration a new lawn mower was purchased that’s three times more powerful than battery mowers and is six times better at capturing clippings.

On April 15 our 20-plus-year-old Sony television failed to turn on. The only part that is easily replaceable in that device is the fuse in the power supply. That was confirmed to be the problem in very short order using a testing meter. But where can you buy fuses these days with most electronic stores like Radio Shack out of business?

The local Sears parts/repair facility in Bellflower no longer does repairs and could not replace the part. The only television repair facility in Long Beach – Dell’s on Anaheim Street – did not carry the part, but made a referral to JK Electronics in Westminster. Eureka! An honest-to-goodness electronic store does exist via a 15-minute drive down the 405 Freeway.

Add another ten minutes and you’d probably get the same part at Fry’s in Fountain Valley. A few decades ago you could go to a start-up Fry’s store in Hawthorne to get anything electronic. They’ve since grown into a behemoth retailer that faces extinction from online vendors like Amazon.

There’s a revolution going on in the retail marketplace. Stores are closing and new ones are coming into existence that recognize the new norm to be embracing consumer wants and needs. Goodbye Sears, JC Penney and the numerous others who failed to trash their catalogs and embrace the internet as the future means to serve consumers.

Humor time (thanks to Donna):


  • It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you place the blame.
  • You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
  • We have enough “youth.” How about a fountain of “smart”?
  • The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
  • A fool and his money can throw one heck of a party.
  • When blondes have more fun, do they know it?
  • Learn from your parents’ mistakes, use birth control.
  • Money isn’t everything, but it sure keeps the kids in touch.
  • If at first you don’t succeed skydiving is not for you.
  • 99 percent of all lawyers give the rest a bad name.
  • Xerox and Wurlitzer will merge to produce reproductive organs.
  • Alabama state motto: At least we’re not Mississippi.
  • Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.


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