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Loose change

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 29, 2001

NOT CLICKING: Many packaged goods manufacturers miss the mark on their Web sites. A study by Information Resources Inc. of Chicago shows company sites commonly offer features consumers don't want (games) instead of what they do want (free samples and coupons). Feedback is difficult since nearly a third of companies list no phone number and a fifth provide no e-mail address.

CREDIT CARDS 101: A consumer group says credit card companies gouge consumers with high rates and fees, and that marketing is misleading and deceiving. To help consumers be smarter about credit card offers and avoid rip-offs, Public Interest Research Group has set up a Web site (

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN BETTER: Too many parents are mired in credit card debt, a nationwide survey shows, setting a bad example for their children. Parents also don't adequately teach children how to manage and save money, the survey by the American Savings Education Council and the Employee Benefit Research Institute found.

THE FLIP SIDE: Workers with children earn more money and have a lower unemployment rate, the Employment Policy Foundation says. Therefore, the employer-funded research organization argues, parents don't need special workplace protections.

SHABBY NOSTALGIA: Billionaire Paul Allen has been buying up a run-down block in Albuquerque, N.M. It's where he and Bill Gates started Microsoft in 1975, in the back office of a strip mall. There's speculation that Allen will build a museum or shrine there to the software giant.

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