New york, July 4 (AP/UNB) - There's a best time to buy just about anything , but knowing which product will go on sale at what time isn't always easy.
So here's a list of general shopping rules that can apply to most things you'll buy. With these tips, you can figure out the best time — or at least a good time — to purchase almost anything.
Below are five great times to shop.
Shopping at a brick-and-mortar store on a Thursday afternoon or evening can be cost-effective. This one isn't a guarantee every time, but it's a good bet, according to Kristen Regine, a professor of marketing at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island who holds a doctorate in business administration.
"Thursday is an important day for consumers to know because that's when stores take markdowns," Regine says. "They're prepping for the weekend. They know they're going to get the most foot traffic on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays."
2. Holiday weekends
In some cases, Mondays are better. Expect big deals on weekends leading up to holidays, says Darrin Duber-Smith, a senior lecturer of marketing at Metropolitan State University of Denver. That can apply to a wide array of products, but particularly big-ticket items like cars.
"A three-day weekend is always great for buying," Duber-Smith says. "That's just a general rule. When there's a day off — a Monday off — that is a big deal because it's three days of buying instead of two."
Popular sale weekends include Presidents Day in February, Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September.
3. Clearance events
A key to shopping is buying products when retailers are liquidating them and moving them to the clearance rack. After all, stores have to run out of the old stuff before they can stock the new stuff.
For example, furniture is typically restocked twice a year — February and August — according to Duber-Smith. That means older furniture styles are usually on sale in January in July.
"Inventory is the bain of all retailers," Duber-Smith says. "You want to get rid of something at cost or even below cost because you think you can make money off of something that's going to replace it on the shelves."
Always check the clearance rack. And while you're at it, pay attention to colors. Regine says some clothing retailers mark down items according to color, rather than by category. For example, you may find a bunch of blue or purple apparel on clearance after the color didn't resonate with consumers or sell well.
4. Same time as last year
If you can't remember when these types of sale events will roll around, the deals retailers have hosted in the past are usually a good indication of deals they'll host in the future.
Regine points out that Sephora has a big makeup sale each May, Old Navy has a flip-flop sale each June and Amazon hosts its Prime Day sale each July.
Other retailers, such as Bath & Body Works, host semiannual sales. These twice-yearly sales are typically held in January and June, although the exact timing varies.
To learn about these sales, Regine suggests asking a store sales associate about current and upcoming promotions. Online, keep old retail emails in your inbox so you can track sales and anticipate when they'll happen again.
Holding onto those marketing emails can also help you compare current prices with prices the store has offered in the past so you can better judge the value of a deal. That 20% off sitewide might not be as enticing if you saw the same retailer offer 30% off sitewide last month.
5. When apps tell you
You don't have to do all the deal legwork on your own. Regine recommends leaning on technology to help you figure out when you should buy something you've been eyeing for a while.
To keep track of the various promotions and deals, she likes Shop It To Me and the Krazy Coupon Lady, both of which are shopping apps that will notify you of price drops on certain items you want.
"Let the apps do the work for you because there is no easy, simple guide," Regine says.
Canberra, July 4 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Smoking is killing 17 Australians every day through preventable heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions, a study has found.
The most in-depth study of its kind by a team from Australian National University (ANU) found that smokers have triple the risk of dying from cardiovascular risk and double the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
The research team, led by Emily Banks from ANU's National Center for Epidemiology and Population Health, tracked 190,000 Australian smokers and non-smokers for 36 different types of cardiovascular disease over seven years.
They found that smoking causes more than 6,400 preventable deaths from cardiovascular diseases alone every year.
"That includes investigating the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, heart muscle disease, rhythm problems, and gangrene in Australians from every walk of life: men, women, city, country, rich, poor," she said in a media release on Thursday.
"We found there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Smoking causes terrible harm across the board."
Smoking is also responsible for 11,4000 coronary heart hospitalizations per year - the equivalent of 31 per day.
"There are around 2.7 million smokers in Australia today," Banks said.
"If a smoker has a heart attack or a stroke, it is more likely than not that it was caused by smoking."
According to the study, people who smoke as few as five cigarettes per day have twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease; a finding that Banks described as "extremely alarming."
However, it did find that quitting smoking significantly reduces a person's risk of heart attacks and stroke.
"Quitting at any age provides a whole host of health and other benefits and quitting by age 45 avoids about 90 per cent of the cardiovascular risks of smoking," Sarah White, Director of Quit Victoria, said.
"And if you are a light or social smoker who thinks 'just a few' won't hurt, this study really shows you're kidding yourself that it's not doing damage."
Shijiazhuang, July 4 (Xinhu/UNB) -- Residents have been advised to guard against the heat wave as north China's Hebei Province issued a red alert for high temperatures Wednesday.
Temperatures could rise to 37 to 40 degrees Celsius in central and southern parts of the province on Thursday, according to the provincial observatory.
As of 11 a.m. on Thursday, 17 cities and counties in the province have issued a red alert for high temperatures.
The observatory advised said workers exposed to high temperatures should take protective measures.
China has a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.
Yokohama, Jul 4 (AP/UNB) — Japan's culture of cute makes no exceptions for poop. It gets a pop twist at the Unko Museum in Yokohama near Tokyo.
Here, the poop is artificial, nothing like what would be in a toilet, and comes in twisty ice cream and cupcake shapes, in all colors and sizes.
"The poops are colorful and come out nicely in photos," said Haruka Okubo, a student visiting part of the museum devoted to all-important selfies. "The shape is so round and cute."
In Japan, little poop-shaped erasers with faces and other small items have long been popular items collected by children, and sometimes older folks. As elsewhere, scatological jokes are popular and bodily functions discussed openly: a recent morning variety show by public broadcaster NHK featured tips on how to deal with farts.
Visitors to the museum get a short video introduction and then are asked to sit on one of seven colorful, non-functional toilets lined up against the wall.
Music plays as a user pretends to poop, then a brightly colored souvenir "poop" can be collected from inside the toilet bowl, to be taken home after the tour.
A ceiling-high poop sculpture in the main hall erupts every 30 minutes, spitting out little foam poops.
The "Unstagenic" area of Instagram-worthy installations includes pastel-hued flying poops and a neon sign with the word "poop" written in different languages.
In another room, players use a projection-mapping game like "whack-a-mole" to stamp on and squash the most poops they can. In another game, participants compete to make the biggest "poop" by shouting the word in Japanese, "unko," as loudly as possible.
A soccer video game involves using a controller to "kick" a poop into a goal.
Toshifumi Okuya, a system engineer, was amused to see adults having fun. "It's funny because there are adults running around screaming 'poop, poop,'" he said.
At the end of the tour, visitors get a bag to carry home their souvenir poop. If they want still more, the museum's gift shop abounds with more poop-themed souvenirs.
The museum attracted more than 100,000 visitors in the first month after its opening in March. It will remain open until September.
Topeka, Jul 4 (AP/UNB) — A zookeeper who spent two months recovering from a tiger attack at a Kansas zoo is now back to work.
Topeka zoo director Brenden Wiley told KSNT-TV that Hayden-Ortega returned to work Tuesday.
She was seriously injured in the April 20 attack by a 7-year-old Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv.
The zoo released a lengthy report last month that said "multiple" protocols and procedures concerning spaces occupied by tigers had prevented any similar attack at the zoo for decades. Its report says protocol was not followed when the keeper entered the tiger's outdoor habitat without ensuring that the animal was locked inside.
Other zoo employees lured the animal away with meat so emergency responders could treat Hayden-Ortega.