Originally created 05/27/01

Pocket change



CHEAP GAS:

While U.S. motorists cringe at rising fuel prices - exceeding $2 a gallon in some markets - it's worth noting what gas costs elsewhere in the world.

A gallon costs more than $5 in Hong Kong, and more than $4 in London, Tokyo and Oslo, Norway, according to a recent survey by travel management consultant Runzheimer International. Other cities with prices around $4 in the year's first quarter were Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Seoul, South Korea.

INFORMATION SATURATION:

Many of us on the informational highway refuse to park, even when vacationing.

A survey of 1,016 adults for Infogate Inc., a San Diego information-delivery service, revealed that 75 percent said they wanted weather reports while on R&R, and 66 percent needed to know sports scores. Half rated e-mail and messages from friends and family as must-haves; 45 percent said they craved general news; and 39 percent wanted personal finance information.

When they're not on holiday, Americans spend an average of four hours a day - weekends included - digesting all manner of information from television, the Internet and other sources, the survey said.

However, many respondents said they ignored 30 percent of the e-mail they receive and admitted that less than half of it is important.

ONLINE REGISTRY:

A trip to a store's china department to buy wedding gifts may soon go the way of such wedding traditions as the dowry.

By the end of the year, most major chains will have their bridal registries online, making it possible to check the preferences of the wedding couple and buy the gift via the Internet.

"Early results have surpassed our expectations," Target Corp. Chairman Robert Ulrich told analysts in a conference call last week. "In the first three weeks, we've sold products to guests in all 50 states."

TIPS TO SWEAR BY:

James O'Connor, president of the Cuss Control Academy, is bringing his tongue-taming techniques to corporate America.

The Northbrook, Ill., organization recently began offering seminars to curb cursing at the office in response to a deluge of complaints from employees about profane colleagues.

"A lot of people say swearing is a problem for them at their work and bring it up with management or human resources, but nothing is done," said Mr. O'Connor, founder of the 3-year-old group and author of Cuss Control.

The classes, which cost between $1,500 and $2,500, remind potty-mouthed people that swearing damages others and fosters negativity.

To cut down on cursing, students learn to use alternatives to traditional four-letter words and are advised to practice being patient, make their points politely and think before they speak.

TRAIN TRAVEL:

Planning train rides during your trip to Europe? Many rail schedules are available by calling (877) 284-8633, or visit www.raileurope.com, the Rail Europe Web site.