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Loose change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 8, 2002

HOLIDAY SURPRISE: A national telephone survey appears to vindicate the much maligned fruitcake. Of 804 respondents, more than one in four have given a fruitcake at some point in their lives. Of those who gave fruitcake in the past year, 61 percent gave two or more, and 34 percent sent more than five. And one in four is considering fruitcake as a gift this year.

CRANBERRY CARTEL? A Los Angeles woman has filed a lawsuit accusing Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. of using its market power to keep prices artificially high and thwart competition. She wants the leading cranberry juicemaker to change its practices and reimburse consumers. A month ago, a competitor filed an antitrust suit against Ocean Spray. The company had no comment.

JOB INSECURITY: Feeling insecure at work? You're not alone. Job security has dropped to its lowest point in a decade, with only 54 percent of employees expressing security in their positions. The figure comes from a survey of 230,000 people from January through October by Sirota Consulting of Purchase, N.Y.

IT'S A STEAL: Almost half of all business software in Mississippi is bootlegged, according to a state-by-state study by the Business Software Alliance. New York has the lowest rate of piracy at 12 percent. And if you use software in Vietnam, it's probably bootlegged. Vietnam has the highest rate of software piracy in the world, at 94 percent, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative says.

SEASON'S SEARCHES: The holiday season can be a good time to look for a new job. January is the peak hiring month at many companies, making December an optimal time to submit a resume, career counseling agency Five O'Clock Club says.

86,000: Be on guard while shopping this holiday season. That many Americans were victims of identity theft last year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. And credit card fraud accounts for 42 percent of the crimes.

-- Compiled by Cathy Keim from Times wires.

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