COLUMN: Want to know the best time to buy a product, go to the store or bathe a pet?

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Columnist reviews helpful book that gives pointers on the best times to do wide a variety of activities

By Deanna Godman

Who does not love tips that help life run a little easier? I recently came across a book filled with tips that are intended to do just that. Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00: More of the Best Times to Buy This, Do That and Go There by Mark Di Vincenzo is filled with well researched methods for the best way or best time to do things on topics ranging from children to yard sales to pet care. This is a sequel to his book, Buy Ketchup in May and Fly in June, which was primarily about when to buy things.  This new book covers buying and selling, but also suggests the time of year and time of day to do a wide variety of things.
When is the best time to get your nails done or to color your hair? The tips are not just about time of day in this book. The right conditions are also important. While the best time to get your nails done is afternoon because you have less time to damage the manicure, the best time to color hair is when it is dirty. Washing hair strips the layer of sweat and oil on the scalp, which can protect from bacterial and fungal infections. This layer, or hydrolipid film, can also protect from the chemicals used to color hair, preventing irritation.
One of the most interesting chapters is Around the World – the travel chapter. Not only does it include details about frequent flier miles, and the best time to visit Hawaii (May or October), it also includes tips on the best times to visit cities and landmarks around the world. This chapter is worth reading just to learn more about the world and find potential travel destinations. For example, the best time to visit Mexico City is Easter week because many residents leave the city. This means that there is less traffic and smog, and of course it is less crowded.
Each chapter contains questions in bold, with answers that give complete explanations as to why that answer is given. As I read through the book, I thought the answers were fascinating. Sometimes the answers seemed like common sense, but many of them were contrary to what I would have expected. Even as interesting as I found the questions and answers though, I was concerned that I saw no sources cited in the text. Once I reached the end of the book, though, I saw why.
At the end of the book is a Sources section, which lists each question and the source used for the answer. Sometimes the answer may have come from a poll of store managers or students (depending on the question), and other times there are specific sources cited, such as journal articles or national associations dedicated to the topic. (Who better to answer the question of when most heart attacks occur – within 3 hours of waking – than the American Heart Association?)
Some of the sources are not mentioned specifically because they gave information that is helpful for the consumer to know, but not necessarily helpful for their industry. The best time to get discounts on many things is great information to have, but may not be the best information for store employees to share with the consumer.
This book is written in an engaging style, and can be read quickly. Even if the information is not directly useful at the time that the book is read, it can make interesting conversation at a dinner party or at the office.