Total Lighter Ban: Feds Add Carry-On Luggage To Lighter Restrictions The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says lighters will be banned from both checked and carry-on luggage starting April 15. Matches are already banned from checked baggage, though up to four books of matches can be in carry-on baggage or on the flier's person, according to the TSA Web site. "Strike anywhere" matches -- i.e., those that don't require a strike pad on the matchbook -- are banned from all luggage. The TSA drafted the new restrictions after reviewing the notorious incident where Richard Reid attempted to set off a shoe bomb over the Atlantic in late 2001, says USA Today. Had Reid used a lighter instead of matches he would have blown up the
plane, the rule's sponsor, Sen. Byron Dorgan, told the paper.
Lighter manufacturers, however, have some concerns. Greg Booth, president and CEO of Zippo Manufacturing Co. (asi/99070), told PromoGram that he has no problem with the new TSA ban of lighters in the airplane cabin. He does object to the 1970s-era ban (that had been largely unenforced before the 9/11 attacks) on lighters in checked baggage. Voluminous research has determined that lighters are simply not a danger in an airplane's cargo hold, Booth says. "When you test the lighters, they're tested at temperatures between room and 400 degrees Fahrenheit," he says. "They don't ignite. They don't explode. They don't cause problems. "He points out that ammunition is allowed in checked luggage and that many shaving cream containers have butane.
Zippo, which does about 40% of its business in the gift market, could face sales losses of up to 20% if tourists can't bring souvenir lighters home with them, Booth says. Zippo is planning to meet with federal lawmakers to try to get some relief from the older, cargo ban, which is actually a Department of Transportation regulation.
AT&T Loss Could Mean Phone Card Increases The Federal Communications Commission has found that AT&T Corp. unlawfully avoided $500 million in charges from the government and local phone companies for its phone cards. The FCC rejected AT&T's contention that since it had callers listen to advertisements during the calling process that the cards were "information services" that would not be subject to standard fees. The FCC said that advertisements were "incidental to the underlying telecommunications services."
AT&T has reported in its corporate filings that it has, since 1999, avoided $160 million in universal service contributions, which are collected by the government to subsidize phone service in sparsely populated areas. The company also stated that it has avoided $340 million in intrastate access charges since November 2002 by routing calls out of state and then back in, to take advantage of lower long-distance rates. AT&T says it will appeal, but if the charges end up being added to the average phone card, it could send prices up for a product that's become an industry staple. AT&T estimates it could mean a 20% increase in price, though the FCC says that the telecommunications company doesn't necessarily have to pass on the costs to consumers.
Industry In the News The Howell, MI Area chamber of commerce awarded an Outstanding Architectural Investment award to Jackie Mullaney, owner of Livingston Business Forms & Promotional Products (asi/254852) for properly remodeling the firm's historic building.
World of Garment-Textile-Fashion notes that PremiumWear (asi/79393) has changed its production to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to offer better capabilities and customer-service.
CustomQuest (asi/47954) has been named one of the top five suppliers for 2004 by Imperial Marketing Inc. (asi/230430).
ProInnovative Inc. (asi/79840) has acquired the contract printing division of Pentar Group, a non-industry firm.
CorpLogoWare LLC (asi/168827) has added Incentive Marketing (asi/230803) as an affiliate. IM will continue to operate from its current Roswell, GA facility.
Flyin' High Promotions (asi/195734) received a Carlson Craft (asi/43920) award for dealer excellence.
State Of The Industry Deadline Extended To March 11 If you haven't had a chance to fill out the 2005 survey and be a part of Counselor magazine's most important research report, there's still time. This year there's an online version with no mailing or faxing required! Or you can print a PDF version and fax it back to (800) 839-3969 or mail it to Dr. Marjorie Cooper, Hankamer School of Business, Box 98007, Waco, TX 76798-9989.
Tax Preparers Using Giveaways & Sweepstakes Some tax preparation chains are giving away big ticket items in sweepstakes designed to lure more tax payers through the door. The Colbert/Ball Tax Service, a chain of 150 franchises in 23 states, is giving away a Chrysler 300 sedan, according the Lansing State Journal. Other offices are giving away flat-screen TVs and $25,000 in cash.
You might want to visit some of your local preparers and explain how a promotional product given to each customer would be much more motivating than a sweepstakes for something most of them won't win. One preparer was giving $15 discounts to new customers and $20 in cash to regulars who refer their friends. That would make a heck of a budget for a promotional products program.
Tsunami Relief Update ASI's effort to aid tsunami victims in South Asia by matching contributions of any size made by ASI employees and members has reached a total of $89,121 and looks to be heading toward $100,000.
Correction On page 26 of the March Counselor, we mistakenly spelled the name Jornik Manufacturing Corp. (asi/63549) "Jornick" in the headline.
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