Originally created 03/19/00

Pocket change



CONSCIENTIOUS CONSUMERS

More buyers are cruising the information highway in search of a car, according to a study.

Forty percent of consumers who recently bought a car or truck used the Internet to help them shop, up from 25 percent a year ago, according to initial results of a J.D. Power and Associates survey.

The survey showed that the number of purchasers who used an online buying service doubled in this year's first quarter, from 12,500 a month nationwide to more than 25,000. The proportion of new-vehicle purchasers using the Internet increased from 1.1 percent a year ago to 2.6 percent.

BUYING A BURGER

Buying a cheeseburger is a lot more expensive in Copenhagen, Denmark, and London than it is in Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia.

A look at the price of fast food in 14 locations found that for every $1 you'd spend on a cheeseburger, fries and soda in Los Angeles, you'd need to dish out $1.63 in Copenhagen, $1.18 in London, and $1.14 in Tokyo.

But that same meal would cost only 44 cents in Rio de Janeiro, 54 cents in Hong Kong and 80 cents in Sydney.

NECESSARY IMPROVEMENTS

An undereducated labor force is virtually the only barrier to economic prosperity throughout South Carolina.

M. Ross Boyle, president of Growth Strategies Organization Inc. in Vail, Colo., said South Carolina's urban areas will continue to grow while rural areas decline unless the state commits to changing the way it trains people for the work force.

Mr. Boyle said the state will continue to "waste" young people if it does not upgrade public schools, incorporate technology as an educational tool and focus on teaching skills such as technical writing and statistics that employers increasingly demand.

NEW FROM NEXTEL

Nextel markets the new i700plus as the workhorse of mobile phones. Made by Motorola, its tough rubber grip makes it feel like it would hold up to serious use.

The mobile phone comes with the same digital two-way radio service that makes Nextel unique, allowing users from the same company or family to call each other for next to nothing.

The i700plus costs $149. Service prices vary widely, but one medium-use plan costs $89.95 a month for 600 minutes of local and domestic long-distance calling, plus unlimited Direct Connect calling. For more information, call (800) 639-8359 or visit www.nextel.com.