Dear Readers: Fess up. Do you always do the right thing, even when no one is looking? I’m sure you do. This is called the Shopping Cart Theory. When you’re done grocery shopping, do you take the shopping cart back to either the store or the corral, even though you’re not required to? There’s no bonus for doing it, and there’s no sanction for not doing it.

It’s a personality test of sorts. Most of us would take the one minute to return the cart, to help out the store employees and keep the carts from hitting cars.

Do you do other helpful things that you don’t have to do, when no one is looking, that there’s no reward for, and also no punishment for not doing? Let’s try to do more of those!

— Heloise

Tech Talk Tuesday

DEAR HELOISE: Please address the widespread use of cellphones, particularly texting, while driving. This results in drivers being distracted from the task at hand: driving safely.

One annoying aspect of this is those who sit at traffic lights after the light turns green because they are staring at their cellphone screen or tapping in a text message. This upsets other drivers and results in wasted fuel.

— Francis W.,

Hickory, N.C.

Frances, happy to address this bad habit. Readers, please put your phone away when you are driving. In some states it’s the law! Focus on the road and the environment around you.

— Heloise

Home again

DEAR READERS: Last week we talked about the steps in buying a home. This week? The do’s and don’ts of credit usage when applying for a mortgage.

Do these things:

• Keep all existing credit card accounts open.

• Keep your job.

• Stay current on all monthly payments.

Don’t do these things:

• Apply for any new credit cards.

• Max out credit cards.

• Consolidate credit card debt.

Check with your bank/credit union or mortgage representative for more information on credit usage and buying a home. Next week: Document checklist.

— Heloise

Line Time

DEAR READERS: Most times, when there’s a crisis we need to watch out. Here come the scammers. Let’s look at one. The COVID vaccine is free, regardless of what insurance coverage you have, or even if you have no insurance.

You gotta wait your turn though. There are people calling stating they can get you to the head of the line for $30. They can’t. Don’t fall for it.

Never give out your name or banking info, including your credit card, to anyone calling you on the phone. You can’t jump the line.

— Heloise

Hello, it’s me

DEAR HELOISE: When someone calls from a business number I’m working with, I always answer the phone, “Hello, this is Mary Smith.” That saves the caller from having to ask to speak to me. (If I’m on my cellphone, I am the only person who should be answering it.)

Naturally, if I don’t recognize the phone number, I won’t give out my name.

— Mary S., via email

Send hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 or email Heloise@Heloise.com.

Friday, May 07, 2021
Thursday, May 06, 2021