Hints from Heloise: The way to shop by phone

Dear Readers: For those of you who still ORDER ITEMS USING THE PHONE, here are some suggestions we’ve received from call-center workers through the years:

* Go to an area where the TV is off and the kids are not playing or crying in the background. If you can hear the noise, the person on the other end can hear it, too, making placing the order more difficult.

* Have your credit card in hand, and if you are ordering from a catalog, keep it close by as well. You might be asked for a code on the back of the catalog, which may entitle you to special offers, like free shipping.

* When using a catalog, it is a good idea to write the items and item numbers on a sheet of paper, which makes it easier to read directly to the customer-service representative (faster than turning pages). Also write down the page numbers.

Hope these reminders help! — Heloise

THOUGHTFUL NECESSITIES

Dear Heloise: My hint is for anyone who has lost a loved one or is going to visit a family who has. Following the funeral, instead of bringing food when you know that many others will, I bring paper products, especially if you know there will be a large gathering.

I bring paper towels, napkins, paper plates and even toilet paper. It saves someone from “having to run to the store” for toilet paper. If the items aren’t used then, they can be used later by the family. I have always found these items much appreciated, but not always thought of at the time. — Wilma F. in Virginia

Wilma, I do the same. With a full house, it’s easy to run out of toilet paper, which is the last thing most folks think about at such a time. Thanks for the reminder. — Heloise

RESET CLOCKS

Dear Heloise: I got frustrated the last time the power went out (after numerous storms in the area) and I had to reset all the clocks in the house again. Now I carry my cellphone from room to room. I can set each clock, because the cellphone will always have the correct time. — Jerry W., Knoxville, Tenn.

Jerry, I’m with you on this one! One of our digital clocks has a battery backup and saves a lot of frustration. Here’s to being “on time” the old-fashioned way. — Heloise

 

BUYING STAMPS

Dear Heloise: Once again, I ran to the grocery store and forgot to buy stamps, which I needed. Once back home, I peeled the large sample sticker off the stamp booklet and stuck it to my grocery list. It’s a reminder that I can’t miss! — Jane T. in Mississippi

STORAGE SHOES

Dear Heloise: Whenever I try on clothes in a dressing room, I use my shoes as storage. There is no way I will forget my car keys, watch or other jewelry, wallet, etc., when I have to remove them from my shoes in order to leave the store. — Gary S., Fort Wayne, Ind.