Why doesn’t the bank want my cash?

Dear Heloise: My friend lent me some money. I wanted to pay her back, but I wasn’t able to DEPOSIT CASH into her checking account. What is this about? — Lindsay N., Toledo, Ohio

Lindsay, this is a new trend, especially among the big national banks. Banks are looking to stop money laundering, and they also want to cut their expenses.

“Money laundering” means trying to hide the source of ill-gotten gains. The vast majority of transactions are legitimate, so this bank policy is a result of “a few bad apples.”

Also, having to count large sums of cash requires lots of manpower, which costs money.

Speak to the branch manager. Depositing a check or money order is still OK, or you can add yourself as a signer on the account, which requires the original account holder’s permission. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: When manufacturers stamp the “best by” dates on cans, they often place the stamp on top of the ringed ridges, which makes it almost impossible to read.

They are fulfilling their responsibility to mark the date, but what good does it do if you cannot read it? — Nick in Little Rock, Ark.

Nick, great point. Let’s clear up some confusion on terms related to this:

“Best by”: A hint as to when the product should be used for its optimum quality.

“Use by”: After this date, the product quality goes down rapidly.

“Sell by”: For the retailer, the date by when the product must be pulled from the shelf.

Experts concur: You can’t go solely by smell, taste or appearance to judge whether a food is safe to eat. Use these dates as a guide. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: In reading your column recently in the San Antonio Express-News, I wanted to share that there are companies that build dome-shaped houses such as was mentioned. One company, manufacturing in North Carolina, builds homes that are designed to withstand high winds/hurricanes.

The company makes prefabricated “round pods” that can be configured in many ways, and it was featured on TV as having the only home still standing after a Florida hurricane devastated a community.

We have one made of two round pods joined by an entryway in Port O’Connor, Texas. It was delivered and put together in the late 1970s. This design is such a good idea, I can’t imagine why more builders in coastal areas don’t try to duplicate it! — Casey A., via email


Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.