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Money matters

November 28, 2004

Most look forward to holiday parties


Your office holiday party is probably approaching. Are you excited? Many of us worker bees are, according to a survey by Quill, an office supply firm based in Lincolnshire, Ill.

Only 3 percent of employees polled said they dread the thought of going, while 75 percent said they look forward to this annual event. Nearly half, 49 percent, said they prefer a formal affair with spouses and significant others, while about a third prefer an employee-only casual event.

Most, 72 percent, said they expect the company will spend about the same for the party as in 2003.

The survey involved 652 executive, office manager and administrative workers.

Honda, GM to recall sedans for defects


American Honda Motor Co. is recalling 257,616 Accord sedans because the driver's air bag may not deploy properly, federal regulators said Monday.

Accords from the 2004 and 2005 model years are involved in the recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

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NHTSA also said General Motors Corp. is recalling 178,798 Saturn Ion sedans because the daytime running lamps and front turn signals may stop working.

The recall involved Ions from the 2003 and 2004 model years and will begin Dec. 17.

E-mail not a perfect communicator


E-mail is the greatest business innovation in decades, right? Actually, it might be spelling the end of effective communication within many organizations, according to a new study of workplace e-mail.

A major problem is the sheer volume - three-quarters of business e-mails aren't necessary, and only 25 percent help people do their jobs better, said Bob Williams, director of the communication consulting practice at Novations Group, a performance-improvement consultancy based in Boston.

"E-mail has a linear structure and is unable to convey facial expression, body language or vocal nuance," Williams said. "With e-mail, one can't even interrupt with a question for clarification, so the potential for misunderstanding is major. Interruptions, after all, can have a purpose."

Exercisers may injure fingers


Fitness Quest Inc. is recalling about 460,000 abdominal exercise machines.

The recall includes Ab Lounge, Ab Lounge 2 and Ab Lounge Ultimate Exercisers.

The company has received 15 reports of injuries, including cases in which people cut, crushed or amputated their fingers.

The injuries do not occur while users are exercising, but when they are folding or unfolding the machines, the company said. The recall does not include Ab Lounge exercisers with straight brackets that do not fold.

The serial numbers are on a label on the bottom of the front frame.

Consumers should stop using the machines and contact Fitness Quest for a free repair kit. They can call Fitness Quest at 1-800-321-9236 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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