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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published August 5, 2014 at 2:59 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: Last year, our house was hit by lightning. Our satellite TV technician said the strike "fried" our TV. He then notated it on an electronic receipt, which I signed, with a promise from him that I would be emailed a copy for insurance purposes.

Despite numerous calls to various phone numbers and even a letter to the company's president, I was unable to get any type of printable receipt to show that I ever had had an appointment, and no technician's assessment that lightning took out our TV (and their equipment). I repeatedly was told it is the "policy" of this satellite TV company not to give anything to the customer in writing at the time of service or by email or fax!

I no longer will do business with a company that cannot or will not provide a written receipt at the time of service. I went back to cable TV.

-- J.C. in Florida

DEAR READER: A horrible situation, and thank you for warning my readers! Do ask if a receipt/copy of the bill will be available before any work is done.

DEAR READERS: Have you ever thought about taking a bathrobe or towel from a hotel? Some hotels are using radio-frequency chips. The chips can be attached to a robe and even linens to keep track of inventory.

P.S.: Yes, it's OK to take the small soaps, shampoos, hand lotion, etc.

DEAR HELOISE: It's easy to forget how small children's hands and mouths are, compared with those of an adult. After watching my son struggle while eating a sandwich, I realized the importance of cutting things down to a more manageable size for him.

My son won't touch the crust on a sandwich, but he needs to hold the sandwich by the crust because it is easier. If I cut the sandwich into fourths, diagonally, each side has a crust, and he eats more of the "inside" of the sandwich that he enjoys.

-- S. in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: The plastic lock tabs that come on breads, etc., can be used for many things. My favorite is when I am training a flower to grow straight. I have a stick in the ground, place the plastic tab around the flower and attach gently to the stick or a string attached to the stick.

These plastic tabs also can be used for holding a crochet stitch or any type of needlework.

-- Irene in California

DEAR HELOISE: My hint is to put cornstarch or baby powder into a sock. Tie off the open end with a bread twist or rubber band. You can dust your body without spilling a mess on the floor. It also is a good way to use a single sock.

-- Barbara S. in West Virginia

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

Style on 08/05/2014

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