My Experience with Geico

For the first time since getting my car insurance I had to file a claim. So it has been a good test to see how well I was treated and how painless/painful the process is to deal with them. I'm have been very satisfied with how they handled everything. The only reservation I had was when I first called on Saturday to file the claim that my car had been stolen, I was told that car theft is a special case and would have to be handled by a specialist, who wouldn't be in until Monday. Consequently, I wasn't able to get any information about the process or what to expect for about 36 hours. Once I talked to the specialist the following Monday, however, everything went very smoothly. They answered all of my questions quickly and really took care of everything very well. I was impressed with everyone I worked with over the week that it took to get everything straightened out. They called me several times along the way both to work out all the logistics and simply to see if I had any questions/problems with the process or the repairs. I was especially impressed with their responsiveness and helpfulness. At one point I called the claim adjuster (who had inspected my car) with a question. I called during lunch and got her voicemail. I was just going to try again later in the day until I heard her message. She essentially said that during business hours she returned all calls within 10 minutes. She then said that if she didn't call back within 10 minutes to call her supervisor and gave her supervisor's name and number. So I left a message; she called back in less than 2 minutes. I was calling because I thought there was something wrong with my brakes. She was very willing to set everything up for me to have them inspected and then set up the repairs once it was determined they had problems relating to the theft. Another time I sent an email to my main contact for the claim with a couple questions. She called me about 5 minutes later to explain the answers and make sure I didn't have any other questions. I was pretty impressed with how they handled everything through the whole ordeal. I'd still certainly recommend against having your car stolen if you can at all help it, but Geico did make the whole thing easier than it could have been.

Plastic Grocery Bags

I am regularly disgusted with how dependent people are on plastic bags. Why is it that I can go to the store to purchase two or three items, carry them all over the store, and then it's assumed that once I pay for them I am incapable of carrying them any more? And when you have more than one item, it's amazing how shocked the cashier is when you tell them you don't need a plastic bag. I recognize that it takes a little coordination to carry two or three items at once clear out to my car rather than just hang on to the handles of a bag, but surprisingly, I've been able to manage every time without incident. And I know that it must be really uncommon for people to not use a bag, because every time I go to Walmart the person standing by the door chases me down to make sure I have a receipt. And they can't seem to understand that I just didn't need a bag to carry my three items. If people would just try it — it's really not as difficult as everyone seems to think.

If Only We Had Listened

There's a really good article by Greg Mankiw in the New York Times on Sunday: The Day When the Debt Comes Due. If only we had listened before 2026.

Record Breaking Blog Traffic

Apparently I have effectively killed almost all of my reader base for my blog. I don't blame anyone for giving up, since I haven't been posting much the last six months. But after 4 posts in one week I was pretty surprised to find out that I only had 3 visitors. That's more posts than visitors this week. To further my feeling of rejection, according to Google Reader I now only have 2 people subscribed to my blog. You'd think you couldn't get much smaller than that, but what makes this worse is the fact that I am one of those 2 subscribers. <sigh>

My Car’s Been Recovered

I mentioned previously that my car had been stolen. It was stolen sometime Friday night from my assigned covered parking spot at my complex. The police ended up finding it abandoned in South Salt Lake on Sunday. It's been quite the ordeal this week to get that all straightened out. Hopefully it's almost over. It took all of Monday afternoon to get the release authorization from the DMV, set up a time with the impound lot and pay the fees to get the car out. (Who knew it was so expensive to get a stolen car back?) That's when I found out the ignition was pretty messed up so I couldn't start the car with the key. Geico had the car towed back down to Provo and started the repairs. They replaced the steering column and the paneling around the steering column, as well as fixed the ignition. I finally got the car back yesterday night. It didn't take long after getting it to realize that the brakes on the car were significantly less responsive than they were last week. I called the insurance claim adjuster and had the brakes inspected today. Turns out the thief did some joy riding and hot-rodding in my car, so I've got an appointment tomorrow to have the brakes fixed. I also lost a few things that were stolen from the car. I had a couple chargers and cell phone headset taken. My 4 D Cell LED MagLite was also stolen. Some of you probably know of my longstanding obsession with lights, light bulbs, flashlights, etc. This was one of my favorite ones. When I went to look up the value of the flashlight for some of the insurance paperwork I found out MagLite doesn't sell the 4 cell LED model anymore. The last thing stolen was a case full of most of my CDs. Insurance doesn't cover those, so I've simply lost them. A lot of them are on my computer, but some of my favorites weren't. Today I discovered that I now have very few choices of what to listen to in the car other than the radio since I may now only own 1 audio CD: I had my CD of Bach's Passion in the CD player of the car. While ransacking everything they took it out of the CD player and threw it on the floor of the car. Guess they weren't interested in that one. Hopefully they enjoy the rest of my classical music collection, though. I upgraded my parking spot at my apartment complex to a garage this week, since I'm not terribly interested in having my car stolen again. I've also suddenly become pretty interested in getting a security system installed in my car.

A Rational Discussion

A friend of mine brought this to my attention. I thought it was pretty great. It's a flowchart to help you determine if you're having a rational discussion.

Missing: White 1998 Honda Civic LX

My car seems to have gone missing. If anyone happens to see him roaming about, I'd appreciate finding him again, so please notify the police. They're looking for it too. His primary identifying features are an annual pass to the Alpine Loop hanging from the rear view mirror and license plate covers that say "I'd rather be hiking" on the front and back.

Resolving Externalities

This is super funny. Click to enlarge.

A perfect demonstration of Coase Theorem in economics. Basically if there are no transaction costs in the presence of externalities then an efficient outcome can be reached by bargaining/trading.

I've been thinking recently that I need to go discuss Coase Theorem with my downstairs neighbors. I'm sure I can provide them some kind of incentive to decrease the affect of the negative externality their loud music/movies imposes on me. I'm sure we could come to arrangement where we are both better off than before.

Hamlet on BluRay

Last week I bought a BluRay home theater system. I just received my favorite movie on BluRay: Hamlet (the Kenneth Branagh version). It looks fantastic!! I've only watched a few minutes of it so far, but I love it. I can't wait to have a party to watch the whole thing.

The Mind’s Worst Disease

If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between 'for' and 'against' is the mind's worst disease.

Jianzhi Sengcan