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Life in Brief — week of Nov. 24

Americans are spending less time on vacations

The economy may be improving, but Americans are spending less time relaxing.

The average American got 14 days of vacation over the last year but took only 10 days away from work, leaving twice as many days of unused vacation compared with the previous year, according to a study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the travel website Expedia.

But when it comes to vacationing, Americans still take more time off than their Japanese counterparts, who got an average of 18 vacation days but used only seven, the study found. South Koreans took seven out of 10 vacation days they were offered.

The world leaders in vacationing are the French, who took all of the 30 days available to them in the last year. And yet 90 percent of employed French adults either strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement “I feel vacation deprived,” according to the study of 8,535 working adults in 24 countries.

For those American who are not using all their vacation days, the most common reason (cited by 27 percent of those surveyed) is that they want to stockpile the days for future vacations.

— Hugo Martin

Los Angeles Times

Hints from Heloise:

Leave instruction books with home appliances

A reader writes via email: A suggestion for readers who are in the process of moving, or plan to, would be to leave the instruction booklets for the appliances in their home. I have been stuck with a new stove and no clue on how to operate it. Now if I move, I will always keep in mind to leave the old instruction books for the next tenant.

Jane R. in Indiana writes: To keep my hardwood floors free of scuff marks, I take an old tennis ball, and with a gentle rub, the scuff marks disappear!

— King Features

Watch out for scams

on Black Friday deals

Watch out for scam artists on Black Friday. The Scambook, a platform where consumers can try to resolve their complaints, says to be on the lookout for these schemes, some of which may be rehashed from last year:

• Fake downloadable coupons for, say, Walmart, Target or Best Buy, that really is a phishing expedition to steal your information or install malware on your computer.

• A text offering a free $1,000 Best Buy gift card if you enter a code. This was a hot scam last year but might appear this year as being from Target or Walmart.

• Phony videos and eCards that contain computer viruses.

• Fake websites that appear as if they belong to a legitimate retailer.

Consumers can protect themselves, Scambook says, by:

• Making sure they are on a retailer’s true website and not one that pops up only around the holidays.

• When shopping online, create a different password than the usual password you use if you’re asked to create an account by a retailer.

• Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders.

• Beware of deals that are too good to be true.

— Eileen Ambrose

Baltimore Sun



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