Dear Readers: Wow! A lot of you wrote in regarding a SOUND OFF that was printed about cashiers asking “How are you?” Here is what some of you said:

* “I’ve been a cashier for eight years, and we do this to be friendly. If we don’t say something to the customer, then we come off as rude! If you don’t want to be asked, then you should initiate the conversation,” wrote Brooke in Pennsylvania

* “Perhaps the clerks are from the South, where it is common courtesy to ask, and her reply should be: ‘I’m fine, thank you. How are you?’ It only takes a minute and gives you a much better feeling,” wrote Betty, via e-mail

* “When they ask, ‘Did you find everything?’ they don’t mean it. I have told them on several occasions that they were out of something, or had expired products on the shelf. The next time I go to the store, those same items are still on the shelf,” wrote Kate in Texas

* “I stepped up to a teller at the bank one day, and she said, ‘How are you?’ and I said, ‘Considering I have a bad back, a bad knee, emphysema and neuropathy in my feet, I am pretty good.’ Her reply was ‘Wow.’ And I told her I always wanted to say that to someone who said, ‘How are you?’” wrote A Reader, via e-mail

What a response! Keep your great letters coming! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Other uses for egg cartons:

* Keep earrings and rings in one.

* Use as a paint palette for children.

* Store nuts and bolts in one.

* Sort beads.

* Start seedlings in one.

-- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: Love reading your column in our Ventura County (Calif.) Star. The advice on cleaning backpacks made me smile, and I thought you’d enjoy a funny story. When my daughter was in second grade, I was noticing that her schoolwork appeared to smell like wine. Each day, the odor was stronger, and I wondered if her teacher enjoyed a bit of wine in the evening while grading papers. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a snack bag with fermenting grapes, well-sealed but undetected for several weeks! -- K.J., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: Instead of using cardboard boxes to move, I purchased a number of deep plastic tubs with lids. They were great for storage even after the move. When I no longer needed them for storage, I discarded the lids, cut out the bottoms, filled them with garden soil and planted herbs. Our climate supports the growth of the herbs nearly year-round, the spring blooms are beautiful, and I no longer have to pay for them at the grocery! -- Judi in Arkansas


Dear Heloise: When medications need a refill, I turn the bottle upside down on my nightstand to remind me that I have to get it refilled. -- Mary in Pennsylvania

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate