Independent from Long Beach, California on March 18, 1976 · Page 23
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 23

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, March 18, 1976
Page 23
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Agent gives warning to consumers By DUNNE SMITH Staff Writer ·'.To avoid being "taken" in a consumer fraud scheme, there are certain words lo watch out for, according lo a special agent with Ihe Bureau of Investigation for the California Department of Jus- liccji ^ ..The agent, who asked that his identity be kept secret due lo Ihe nature of his undercover work, was featured speaker at brunch meeting of I/ing Beach Unyyers' Wives Tuesday in the Alamitos Heights home of Carole* Clayton. Among the words lo be wary of when someone contacts you either at Ihe door or on ttie phone arc "you have been chosen for" or "we have a special gift just for you" or "if you answer this question correctly, you win a prize." ("Of course, it doesn't matter how you answer the question, it will be the right answer."! .Any time you sign a contract, there is a cooling off period of three days during which time you can call;and cancel Ihe agreement, the agent noted. '"Most unscrupulous salespersons will tell you Ihis-anri give a number to call, but nothing will be- cancelled if you do call. If you call, make a note of the 'date and lime and who you talk with, then send a letter referring to the phone conversation and make a carbon. Send il by certified mail so you get a return receipt with a name. '-."Then, if you are contacted lo pay according to the contract terms, give us the information and we will follow through wilh an investigation into the firm. They cannot attach any personal property without going to court." NORMALLY, PROSECUTION by Ihe Attorney General's office results in an injunction prohibiting the firm or individual from engaging in such practices again, plus a fine. The money is usually divided equally between Ihe slate and the county. The big problem in dealing wilh such cases, he noted, is lhal most perpetrators are "fly-by-night operators and the address given is usually emply by the lime we track il down -- the office can le emptied of furniture in !5 minutes." Other sales ploys lo be wary of. he said, arc Ihe ones that claim to be in "the area this time only and we won't be back, so you have to do it now." "If il sounds fishy, take down as much information as you can and DON'T sign anything, then write a letter to the Attorney General. One Ihing 1 can promise you is lhat you'll always get an answer from Ihe Attorney General's office. All complaints we get are kept confidential. Our success depends on people letting us aboul questionable selling practices. Also, remember a verbal promise can carry the same guarantee as one in writing." Pointing out thai (here are many repulahle firms selling door-to-door, the agent said Ihe key is whether you can interrupt the person without losing his or her train of thought. "A lot of Iheso sales people arc given a spiel lo memorize and cannot deviate from il. Their goal is to confuse you wilh details." HE SAID THE Belter Business Bureau is a good source of information on firms and that the Bureau is "very cooperative and often can get an answer back for you. Sometimes it's successful in resolving the problem, and sometimes not." There are three divisions within the Department of Justice -- the Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Narcotics and Intelligence. "We work closely with local law enforcement agencies and anytime you have a question regarding anyone's selling practices, check with the cily police or sheriff's office to sec if lhal firm or individual has a license lo sell in lhal area. "Remember, you seldom get something for nolh- ing, so beware of free gifl ploys," the agent added. AT WIT'S END S A L E OF ITEMS at I h e Downtown YWCA includes this Steinway bahy grand piano. The Y must vacate its present building and is selling most of the furnishings from the six-floor structure. Jan Bcnlein is in charge of the Friday sale. Staff photos by CURT JOHNSON INDEPENDENT (AM) PRESS-TEtEGRAM (PMV-A-23 life/style tort, Buch, Cjllf.. ThWi.. Martti II, 1171 1 Christensen, citilor Moving statement: 'Own piece of Y' The Downtown YWCA, scheduled to vacalc ils building by mid-May, is hoping all who share memories of ils 50- year history al 550 Pacific Ave. will want to "Own a Piece of the Y." In other words, the YW will have a moving-out sale from il a.m. to I p.m. Friday in (he former Molhers-at-Work office on the Sixlh Slrccl side of the building. The sale will include most of Ihe furniture, including office and kilchen equipment, from Ihe six-slory structure. All sale ilcms are cash and carry only. Prices will be marked. No telephone calls will be accepted. The Y does nol meet the city's earthquake safety standards and officials ordered the building vacated after the ceiling lo the swimming pool collapsed killing one woman and injuring several other persons. Sale items include a 1925 Gulbransen grand piano, a IfKVi Stcinway grand piano, commercial and residential rc- frigernlors, stoves and sinks, cribs, library tables, typewriters, dressers, wooden desks, folding chairs, plastic chairs, dishes, small and large appliances, pool tables, commercial culling board tables, mirrors and lockers. AUSO FOH SALE will be folding rcclangnlar tables, folding round tables, which seal ten, cabinets, IIXVcup coffee p o l s , l o w c l r a c k s , console record players, overstuffed chairs, books, some old magazines, vacuum cleaners, an upright Coke machine and a I'cpsi machine, ladders, s o m e portable b l a c k - b o a r d s , wooden benches, a w o r k counter, small shelves, and hnlhrooin fixtures. After the public sale, (he wroughl inm and other fixtures, including an elevator, will be sold. .Ian Henlcin. who is in charge of Ihe sale al Ihe Y. says few antique will he sold. The Y will keep some of Ihc f u r n i - ture for use in its fulure location. MKTAI, BKI)S from Ihc residential floors of Ihc YWCA ;irc bcinK sold ;is Y vacates its b u i l d i n g al !!() Pacific Avc. Steve Price, a student at Polytechnic Hi^h, helps move all f u r n i s h i n g s lo the sale area in the former Moihcrs-at-Work day care center on Sixlh SI reel side of Ihc building. Mating these pets brings rocky results ·IN-S/CHTS- Fire is fascinating, destructive Bv ERMA BOMBfXK The number of pel rocks sold over the counter last Christmas was no less than phenomenal. We received two. A m.'ilc and a female. Now. I'm not Ihe greatest rock lover in the world. Oh sure, they're sorla culc if (hey sparkle and are mounted on your ring finger. And I get a good feeling knowing my insurance company is buill on one, but I don'l get loo choked up about having them all over the house. The pet rock number was just as knew it would be. Al Christmas. Ihe kids couldn't pul them down. They fondled them, took Ihcm for walks, taught them tricks and every lime we had company, they'd trot out the rock in Ihe box. THEN I DiDNT sec Ihem for a while until one morning at breakfast, I said to my son, "Hey, I bumped into your pet rock last night on Ihe way back from a drink of water." "Where?" "Wilh my fool" "What foot?" "The one wilh the cast on it. They're your rocks and you have to lake care of them, do you hear?" Within two months, the rocks began to appear everywhere. Under beds, behind doors, in the clothes hamper, in pockets, in the car, and we even found one grinding away in Ihe disposal. "I/ook," I admonished. "1 don't have time to fiddle with your pets. Why don't you find them a good home? After all. you never play v.ilh Ihcm any more." "What's lo play with?" he gram- bled "All they do is sleep." "No." ! s a i d shaking my head, "that's not ALL they do. They're multiplying faster than the King Family. Slarl iooking for homes for Ihem." WK PUT A sign oul in front, Pet Rocks -- one cent each. It was like Irying to unload pregnant kittens. No one, but no one wants a pel rock anymore. I tried calling my friends and got answers like, "I'm sorry, but we live in an apartment," or "If ! weren't expecting the baby in three months, I'd take one ofl your hands." "Maybe we could lake them out to a river and leave them." "Abandon a pel rock'" ! s a i d . "What kind of an animal are you? Who would lake care of Ihem? They couidn'l survive in Ihe wilds." To make matters worse, our other son brought in two stray rocks the other nighl and put Ihcm by the sink. This morning. 1 went to move them and under one was a pile of gravel. Here we go again. By DR. WALT MKNNINGKK On a cool winler evening. 1 was silling in frrml of a pleasantly bla/ing fire in Ihe fireplace. I had spent much of the day cutting up some firewood and was relaxing wilh the Sunday paper. Then 1 saw Ihc news ilcm: "Kour Children Die in Bedroom Kla/.c." The story was another of those ofl- reported evcnls. In t h i s case, f o u r young New Orleans children were burned lo dcalh while t h e i r rmjlher, unaware, was watching television in another part of Ihe house. And Ihe A I' report noted: "The cause of Ihe fire was not immediately determined, but il might have been children playing wilh matches." What parent hasn't had that fear? My wife and I certainly have. Kspecial- ly on Ihe more than one occasion when we found our children playing with matches. Our reaction lo t h e news story: But for the grace of God. it might have happened In us. This evening, however, ! lalked wilh the children about fire and what it me.inl to Ihem. And f got some interesting responses. Obviously, the power of a malch has special meaning for a small child. With a malch. the child has all the capacity of an a d u l l . My 10-year-old son. Will, put it succinctly: "One little match will burn down a mansion." WHY IS FIRK fascinating' Marian, age 13, offered a different perspective: "Kor one thing, it is forbidden." Her older brother John acknowledged lhal he fell he was tang perverse when he played wilh male-tics. He know il would uel a read ion from his parents. .John also spoke of Ihc mysterious, captivating quality of Ihe f l a m e . A n o t h - er sister, Eli/a, picked up on l h a t theme, commcnling on the hypnotic quality of a lire in the fireplace, wnrm f l a m e s dancing around in d i f f e r e n t forms anrf shapes Young Will spoke of two other aspects of fire as seen by the smaller child. First is ils dcslrucliveness -win*! lurning lo ashes, plastic mellin;;, bugs destroyed by Ihc heat and flame. Second is (he mystery of making fire. As he flicked a disposable butane lighter, ho said, "It's funny how a lighl- er makes flame." For most adulls, to say nothing of children, making fire is something we lake for granted but may not fully understand. Of course, we mav know that it takes Ihrce elements for fire -- fuel, oxygen, heat. But Ihc- magic stick -- a phosphorous-headed stick of wood t cardboard w h i c h w i l l spontaneously burst into flame when struck on the properly abrasive surface -- remains tlcrnally mystifying. AS MY (NQUmiKS of my children suggest, the motivations for playing with fire arc many. Mentioned above are some conscious reasons, bill psychoanalytic investigations have pointed lo some additional subconwious motivations, fire 11 an intense, consuming rvcnl and is thus c(iialcd lo both sexual and aggressive impulses It's common parlance ID collate sexual desires wilh fire -- the old f l a m e , fires of passion. iK-ing "hut" for il. Ihe animal in "heal." Some persons are stimulated .sex- u a l l y by f i r e . F i r e - s e t t i n g by n pyromaniac is a complex nclivily with fxilh sexual and hoslile meanings. Fire may be a source of sadistic pleasure, destroying w h i l e providing warmth, visual slirnulalion and excitement. Fire-setting is also a way \f command allenlion. An arsonist may sl.'irt a fire just lo provoke Ihc excitement and attention lhal follows upon ils discovery -- sirens, fire fighters, spectators. U-arning to mnkc lire was a great evenl in the history of mankind, and our modern conveniences make f i r e - m a k i n g easy. II is M i l l a m a t i n g and powerful experience with m a n y emotional over tones -- from Ihc terror and excitement of the "Towering Inferno" to the camaraderie of children and adulls around a summer evening carnpfirc, to the relaxing pleasure of Ihc fire in my fireplace Ibis cool winter evening

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