Watercooler Stories

By ALEX CUKAN, United Press International  |  Dec. 30, 2003 at 6:50 AM
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An average homeowner spends some 25 minutes a day looking for things -- that's the equivalent of wasting nearly a week each year just trying to find stuff in their own home.

"Americans have accumulated mountains of seasonal decor, clothing, household tools and recreational equipment that have taken over every inch of their closets, garages, attics and basements," says Mark Hillman, vice president of home organization at Lowe's.

After losing weight and quitting smoking, many people have put becoming better organized on their list of New Year's resolutions.

Part of the problem, thought, is that each year the families have more and more to organize.


Twenty-five percent of British bosses surveyed admit a woman wearing make-up to a job interview has a better chance of getting hired.

The British communications company, Aziz Corp., interviewed 100 top managers and finds many employers think a woman who wears no make-up looks as if "she cannot be bothered to make an effort" and conveys a less professional approach.

More than 60 percent of female managers admitted being prejudiced against women who do not wear make-up, compared with 52 percent of male managers, the Daily Telegraph reports.


Ad Track, USA TODAY's weekly consumer survey, says ads that showed humor were the most popular of the year.

Of the 45 ad campaigns polled in 2003, those with humorous ads took three of the top four slots -- Anheuser-Busch's campaign of a real zebra as a football referee was the top-ranked advertisement.

"Humor always works, and unexpected humor works particularly well," says Anheuser-Busch's Bob Lachky, vice president, brand management and global creative chief.

However, consumers did not like too much realism about medical ailments.

Ads to promote Viagra for erectile dysfunction and Lamisil for nail fungus were the two lowest-scoring ads but they were considered effective for those who might need the medications.


The former family home of the Beatles late manager Brian Epstein in Liverpool, England, has been turned into a bed and breakfast.

Epstein guided the Beatles to their initial success but died at age 32 in 1967 after taking an overdose of sleeping pills.

Owners Darren McLennan and Ian Quigg, who bought the house for about $57,000, were going to turn it in to a nursery before they were told about its history, the BBC reports.

"I couldn't believe it so I went to Liverpool Museum and looked it all up on the archives," says McLennan.

About 7,000 people visited the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney in Liverpool this year.

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