1. Archive

Candy offer was not as sweet as it sounded, but now it is

This longer version of the Action column appeared in the west edition of City Times.

Last fall Swiss Colony published an advertisement that said, in effect, "You send us $2 and we will send you our catalog and a sample of our candy."

I sent the requested payment and received the catalog, but no candy.

E.E. Sanders

Response: The Swiss Colony people tell us their ads read, "Please rush my catalog and free Macadamia Nut Chocolates offer," and also, "You can enjoy the Macadamia Nut Chocolates free with your first order from the Swiss Colony."

You missed the key words, they say _ "offer" and "with your first order."

We think the key word is "free." That is what would stick in a reader's mind. Of course, the candy is not really free. The cost of the candy will be covered by your first order.

But because you "are valued as a potential customer," the Swiss Colony was going to send you some free (really!) Macadamia Nut Chocolates.

What the tax covers

Is it necessary to include personal loans on the intangible tax form? I have contacted several different people at Florida's Department of Revenue with little success in finding out about loans to relatives that may be interest-free.

They refer me to the instructions accompanying the intangible property tax form, which makes no mention of interest on loans.

Frederick Kisbany

Response: Intangible tax is levied on the value of a person's investments but not on the income (interest) from those investments.

This tax is levied only on certain types of holdings, like stocks, bonds and mutual funds, but does not apply to bank accounts, IRAs, U.S. government bonds or Florida municipal bonds. It does include loans _ personal or otherwise, interest-bearing or interest-free.

Schedule A, Line 1, covers loans, notes and accounts receivable. You pay intangible tax on the value of the loan as of the end of the year, not on any interest you may have received.

Intangible tax does not apply to the first $20,000 in taxable assets of a single person nor to the first $40,000 in taxable assets of a married couple.

If you have the patience to wait through several minutes of voice mail, call (800) 352-3671 for information.

Here's refund and tape

I have a problem.

I sent a $22.99 check to Time Life Music for a Christmas tape.

Three months seems long enough to receive merchandise.

I didn't keep an address but am sending you canceled checks, front and back.

Would appreciate some help if possible.

Jeanne Trump

Response: Time Life regrets that it has been unable to locate your order and apologizes for cashing your check.

Because of the delay, a refund of $22.99 is being sent. You also are getting the Christmas tapes with the company's compliments.

Reply is reply is reply

What does the expression, "A rose is a rose is a rose," mean?

Of course, I don't want my name used. In case the answer is very simple, I wouldn't want everyone to know how dumb I am.


Response: The expression comes from Gertrude Stein's book Sacred Emily written in 1913.

Stein (1874-1946) was an American author who introduced a unique writing style that repeated basic words. Such repetition, she felt, helped communicate the feelings the words expressed. She believed that punctuation and difficult words distracted from those feelings. Her style was exemplified by the "a rose is a rose is a rose" statement.

The phrase also has been taken (by some very smart people) to mean, "what is _ is."

There really are not any dumb questions, by the way, only dumb answers.

A 15-year smudge

About the Wedgwood Inn. Your column said it was built in 1961. Well, my mother-in-law worked there as a waitress in 1957 so that statement is not true.

Edward Lathan

Response: We looked again at our source _ a stained and tattered newspaper clipping _ and sure enough, the year that looked at first glance like a 1961 turned out to be a 1946 with a dirty mark next to it.

Thanks for setting us straight.

(Now there was an example of a dumb answer).

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write: Times Action, c/o the City Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg 33731, or call your Action number, 893-8171, to leave a recorded request for Action.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or on our voice mail system; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code.