Dear Readers: Today's SOUND OFF is about taking advantage of the public. - Heloise
"Dear Heloise: Recently, I had a repairman out to inspect my heating system, and he came back with an estimate of how much I needed to pay to repair and replace parts. It was a little over $1,200. I said I was going to get a second opinion, which he didn't like, and he told me the price was good for only 24 hours, then it would go up.

"I got a second opinion, and yes, there were some repairs needed that would cost me about $89. My system is only 6 years old, so I couldn't imagine how there could be such a high repair bill. Turns out, there was no need to replace so many parts.
"Why do some repair people want to take advantage of a senior citizen or women in general? I know they aren't all like that, but I've encountered too many. Tell your readers to get a second opinion if the price seems too high." - Tanya L., Ironwood, Mich.


Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for mayonnaise:
• Remove sticker residue. Rub in a circular motion.
• Conditioner: Rub a little on your hair and leave for 30 minutes, then shampoo as usual.
• Erase water stains on wood by rubbing a small amount on the stain and letting sit overnight, then wiping up with a clean cloth.
• Rub into cuticles to soften and moisturize them.
- Heloise


Dear Readers: A new scam is hitting homes all over America. Your phone rings once or twice and the caller hangs up. It may have a number with your area code on your phone. Whatever you do, DO NOT call back.
These robocalls connect you to an overseas premium-rate number that keeps you on the line with long holds and other tactics, which are designed to increase your phone bill. If you get scammed, call your phone-service provider and ask that the charges be removed. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: What is considered a moderate drinker of alcohol as compared with an excessive drinker? - Pamela D., Springfield, Tenn.

Pamela, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that moderate drinking for women is up to one drink per day, and up to two drinks per day for men. A drink is defined by the following:
• 12 ounces of beer
• 8 ounces of malt liquor
• 5 ounces of wine
• 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor such as whiskey, gin, rum or vodka.

Excessive drinking for women is having eight or more drinks a week. For men, it's 15 or more.
If you need help with a drinking problem, speak with your doctor or contact Alcoholics Anonymous in your state. - Heloise

Does someone get my old number?

Dear Heloise: When I pass away, what happens to my SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER? Does it get reassigned to someone else? Just wondering. - Elsa W. in Illinois
Elsa, that's absolutely a great question. The Social Security Administration ( does not reappoint a Social Security number to someone else after the original owner's death.
The SSA estimates that there are enough new number combinations to last well into the next SEVERAL generations.
By the way, since its inception, there have been over 450 million Social Security numbers issued! - Heloise


Dear Readers: After you're discharged from an emergency hospital stay, you can ask for a copy of your medical records. Call the hospital administrator; there may be a charge for them.
Your regular doctor will want to look it over to see what you've had done. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: When I receive a gift card, I know how much is on it. Since the cards are usually not reloadable, each time I use one, I write the remaining balance on the front.
This way, I always know how much is on it. Then I just throw it away when empty. - Susan W. in Ohio

Readers, some cards are reloadable; check to see if you can add money to the card! -Heloise


Dear Heloise: When we have company coming for a three- or four-day stay, I get my outfits all laid out and ready for each day.
This way, I can be dressed and ready and in the kitchen to make coffee, breakfast, etc. - Corrinne B., Universal City, Texas
Such a lovely hostess, Corrinne! Great plan for the holiday season ahead! - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Regarding a recent hint about putting holes in plastic bags that hold vegetables: There are large vegetable bags with freshness vents (holes already in the bag). I ordered some online. This way, I don't have to spend time poking holes in my bags. - Lori in Minnesota
Lori, you can also wrap a head of lettuce, broccoli or cauliflower, for example, in paper toweling when first home from the market to reduce moisture and keep it fresh longer. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: I use paper coffee filters to cover foods that need to be warmed up in the microwave.
Also, I use cat litter in old trunks for the smell - 3 cups spread out in the trunk, and close for four to five days. - Dee H., St. Charles, Minn.

(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.