Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - Send a money- or time-sav­ing hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San An­to­nio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

DEAR HELOISE: I went to a beauty-sup­ply store and bought a straight-tip, leakproof ap­pli­ca­tor for hair color. Just pour up to 8 ounces of olive oil into it, tighten the lid well, and you have the per­fect ap­pli­ca­tor to dis­pense olive oil. No spills, and no awk­ward tipping of a large con­tainer. — Frances M., Fayet­teville DEAR READER: Frances, what a great idea! So many times we for­get that use­ful prod­ucts can be found in many dif­fer­ent places. With just a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion, you can re­pur­pose any num­ber of things.

DEAR READ­ERS: To­day’s Sound Off is about sales­clerks who don’t know how to count your change.

DEAR HELOISE: One of my pet peeves is watch­ing a re­tail clerk try­ing to re­turn change from a $20 bill. One of the first things I learned in grade school was how to count change. We were told that the rea­son was so we could be as­sured we got the right change. I have had to call a man­ager while at the check­out on three oc­ca­sions just last week. Be­ing re­tired, I have the pa­tience to help, but why should I have to?

— John and Karen H.,

Lan­caster, Calif.

DEAR READ­ERS: Here are some other uses for ash­trays:

Use it in a bath­room to hold guest soaps.

Use to hold seed to feed the squir­rels and birds. Store hair or­na­ments in the larger ones.

Use it to hold your car/ house keys so you’ll al­ways know where to find them. Keep lose change in them.

DEAR HELOISE: As pretty as plants in our homes can be, they have an­other use­ful ben­e­fit: Green plants clean the air and im­prove the qual­ity of the air we breathe. Plants have air-pu­rifi­ca­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties that al­low them to ab­sorb gases through pores on the sur­face of their leaves. But a word of cau­tion: Some plants are toxic to chil­dren and pets, so choose wisely when buy­ing a plant for your home.

— Hol­lis­ter H., Stam­ford, Conn. DEAR READER: Thank you for this in­for­ma­tion. I love the look of in­door plants, and the ben­e­fits they pro­vide to the air qual­ity in my home.

DEAR READ­ERS: The U.S. Postal Ser­vice han­dles about 47 per­cent of the world’s mail.


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