Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about the lack of information and instructions with new gadgets:“Dear Heloise: I recently bought an appliance for my kitchen, but it came without instructions on how to use and clean it. The same thing happened when I bought a new cellphone. Have manufacturers stopped sending information on their products? I know they’re cutting corners to save on expenses, but this is NOT helpful to the consumer.”

- Colleen E. in Chicago

Colleen, I’m sorry to hear about this situation, but you might try looking on the internet to find out what it says about your new appliance and cellphone. You also might want to find the corporate phone numbers and call for a booklet or instruction sheet.

- Heloise


Fast Face

Dear Readers: Here are some new thoughts on home décor:

- Choose colors that you like and that make you feel good.

- A dark accent wall will appear to recede, giving your space a roomier feeling.

- Hang drapes close to the ceiling, not at the top of the window.

But above all, remember that your home is your sanctuary, so incorporate the things you love the most.

- Heloise


Social Security scam

Dear Readers: Have you received calls from people claiming to be with the Social Security office? Some of the calls might sound threatening, but sometimes they seem friendly. However, Social Security would first send you a letter, not just call and ask you for personal or financial information. If you think you have been a victim of a scam call from Social Security, call 800-269-0271, or report this to the Office of the Inspector General at

- Heloise


Happily divorced

Dear Heloise: How do I put a stop to this parade of co-workers and friends who keep asking me if I’m OK now that my divorce is final? We parted as friends and get along better now than we did when we were married. There were no children, and we split everything down the middle and went our separate ways. The only disagreement we had at the end was over the dogs (I got them). Still, people won’t believe me when I say I’m fine and not unhappy. Everyone is certain that I’m stuffing my feelings deep inside. Believe me, I feel liberated.

- Lisa in Massachusetts

Lisa, I know well-meaning people worry about us when we go through a major life change, but a change does not always mean it’s unwelcome or even unpleasant. When someone asks about how you’re holding up, just tell them you’re fine, and be sure to smile. You don’t have to explain why you and your spouse decided on a divorce, and really, it’s no one’s business. This will stop in time, but for now, do something for you, such as a new hairstyle or new outfits, or redecorate your place for the new you!

- Heloise


Letter opener

Dear Heloise: No letter opener? Use a plastic knife from takeout food. It works!

- Faye in Youngstown, Ohio

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