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Loose change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 6, 2002

SOMETHING IN THE AIR: Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru, offers a new luxury amenity for the discriminating guest: "oxygen enriched" suites. Air in the suites is 24 percent oxygen, compared with 21 percent in other rooms. The hotel, at 11,000 feet above sea level, claims the extra oxygen helps prevent altitude sickness.

TOO SUBTLE TO NOTICE? Other hotels and spas also peddle oxygen. At Calgary International Airport in Canada, for example, the O2raoxygen spa charges $15 Canadian (about $9.50) to inhale oxygen for 15 minutes through nasal tubing. The benefit? "Your mind thinks with more clarity," spa president Suzanne Letourneau says. "It's very subtle."

LIFE IMITATES ART: American Capital Securities broker Anthony Gaglio, accused with six others of operating a "boiler room" that cheated investors out of $1-million, had underlings watch Glengarry Glen Ross to learn how to close deals, prosecutors say. The movie depicts an office of cold-callers who con elderly investors into buying fictitious real estate.

DO YOU WORK HERE? Employees at Chicago's W Hotel soon will be wearing black and charcoal outfits designed by Kenneth Cole. The company says it wants to make employees "virtually indistinguishable from guests."

GATHER 'ROUND THE WATER COOLER: Scientists say gossiping makes us happier, more confident and more productive at work. The Social Issues Research Centre at Oxford says it's the human equivalent of social grooming among chimps. Both stimulate production of endorphins, which relieve stress and boost the immune system, as well as help develop friendships, refine social skills and resolve conflicts.

THEN AGAIN . . . : If layoffs seem imminent at your company, you may be able to keep a pink slip from landing on your desk. The Five O'Clock Club, a career counseling network in New York, suggests trying to improve your standing by taking the initiative on assignments and updating your skills to make yourself more valuable. The group also suggests refraining from behaving foolishly or gossiping.

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