Ask Liz: Indian Summer, Legal Tender & Old Sofas/Mattresses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ask Liz: 10-31-08

    What does the term “Indian Summer” mean and where does it come from? The National Weather Service says:

    • An “Indian Summer” can be defined as any spell of warm, quiet, hazy weather.
    • Indian summers normally occur in October or even early November.
    • They are generally associated with a period of significantly above-normal temperatures and dry or hazy conditions.
    • The phrase "Indian Summer" dates back to the 18th century in the U-S. Although there are several theories about the origin of the term, none have been proven.

    Why doesn't every U.S. business have to accept every form of U.S. currency? The United States Department of Treasury has the answer:

    • The Coinage Age of 1965 states that U.S. coins and currency are legal tender for debts, taxes, and dues here in the United States.
    • However, there is no law that says private businesses or people MUST accept currency or coins as payment.
    • Private companies are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash- unless there is a state law which says otherwise.
    • For example, a bus line could prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills.

    How should consumers get rid of a broken down sofa or mattress? We checked with the District, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Arlington County:

    • All of them recommended donating unwanted items that are still in good condition to charitable organizations first.
    • However, some places like Goodwill don’t accept used mattresses for sanitation reasons. It’s a good idea to call a charity first to make sure it can accept the item you are trying to donate.
    • If your furniture can’t be donated, you can schedule a special collection pick-up with your local refuse hauler.
    • This service is available in jurisdictions like D.C., Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
    • However in Arlington, furniture no longer requires a special collection request, so you can place at the curb with your regular trash.

    Got a question for "Ask Liz"? Send any consumer questions to askliz@nbcwashington.com.