Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about returns at department stores:

Dear Heloise: Working in retail has taught me how rude some people can be when they try to return an item that was a gift. I wish the public understood that I must follow store policy. If you’ve used the cookware, we won’t take it back. If you wore the prom dress, wedding dress or bridesmaid dress, we won’t take it back. Believe me, we know if it’s been worn or not.

We will cheerfully take back a number of things, but all that wedding china you registered for is yours. If the store gives you a store credit instead of cash, please don’t argue with the staff or management. We don’t write the return guidelines, we just follow them. Shouting at the salesperson won’t solve the problem. If you need to return an item, please take it back to the store where it was bought.

- Tibby D. in Detroit

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for apple cider vinegar:

- To wash fruits and vegetables.

- As a weed killer.

- As a hair rinse: 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water to remove product buildup.

- To trap fruit flies, pour into a cup and add some dish soap.

- Heloise

Hockey stick helper

Dear Heloise: I have found a clever way to retrieve an item from my pickup bed without having to climb up and in. I use a hockey stick, bought cheaply at a thrift store, to reach out and snag the item and pull it toward me. The stick stays permanently in the pickup bed for quick access when needed.

- Larry F., Salem, Ore.

Timeshare alerts

Dear Heloise: Having trouble getting out of a timeshare investment? Contact a resort management company or perhaps a timeshare developer to see if you can get help unloading that obligation. You might want to discuss a “deed back” that can help you get rid of your timeshare. However, please be very suspicious of scammers who promise to get owners out of their timeshare for an upfront fee. They usually target elderly people and demand thousands of dollars for services that they never perform.

- Taylor H., Norman, Okla.

Teach them to read

Dear Heloise: I’ve taught school for many years, and I would like to encourage parents to take time out and help their younger children to read. Find books that are a little above their child’s reading level, be patient and help them learn to enjoy reading. My father taught me to read the Sunday funnies when I was 4 years old, and my mother taught me phonics to sound out difficult words. They made it fun. Learning to read well at an early age helps a child achieve better comprehension of the written word and opens a world of knowledge for them. 

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