Originally created 07/30/00

Pocket change



AUTOMATIC MOWER: If George Jetson had a lawn, he'd use a Robomow to cut it. The new robotic mower will cut a lawn the size of a tennis court automatically, without the owner having to lift a finger.

Robomow runs on a rechargeable battery, so it doesn't need gas or oil. It can be used with any shape lawn. The mower's onboard computer is guided by a perimeter wire you lay flush to the ground before its first use.

The Robomow costs $850. It comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee and a two-year warranty. For more information, call toll-free (888) 404-7676 or go to //friendlyrobotics.com/.

MONEY 101: "There should be a class in school called `Money Smarts 101' to teach how to handle money," writes Don Silver in his new book, The Generation Y Money Book.

Mr. Silver aims to rectify the situation with his 160-page paperback that covers all the basics on shopping, saving, investing, credit, debt, handling finances and more.

The book is available at bookstores or directly from the publisher for $14 by calling (800) 888-4452.

SURETY BONDS: eSurety.com launched its new Web site, which provides a simple way to use the online system to instantly obtain surety bonds. Insurance agents can receive quotes, underwriting decisions, market-rate commission and online delivery of completed documents within minutes.

Agents in California are eligible to gain access, but over the next six months the company will commence a national roll out.

TOP RETAILERS: As changes ripple through the retail industry, there is one constant: Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the country, and the world, and the chain just keeps getting bigger.

The National Retail Federation recently released its annual ranking of the Top 100 retailers in the country for 1999, and Wal-Mart is far above its nearest competitors. Here's a run-down of the retailers that made the Top 10: Wal-Mart (1), Kroger (2), Sears (3), Home Depot (4), Albertson's (5), Kmart (6), Target (7), J.C. Penney (8), Safeway (9) and Costco (10).

Wal-Mart is so far ahead of every other U.S. retailer that you could combine the sales results of its four closest competitors on the list and the sum would not come close to matching Wal-Mart's sales of $165 billion.