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Skills Pool Members at Your Service

September 08, 2000|GERI COOK | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For 25 years, members of Free for All (The Skills Pool) have been sharing services with other members and receiving services in return.

Members offer services ranging from needlework and baby-sitting to legal help, dental work and Internet support.

Any useful and legitimate service is acceptable. When you join, you receive an indexed directory listing in detail all members and their services, with their addresses and phone numbers. There are more than 200 specialties on the current list.

You may offer one of the services listed or something new. Some members offer merchandise at cost. A few offer access to whirlpools or saunas.

My personal favorites are keyboard lessons, massage, house-cleaning, pet care and help on the Internet. Perhaps you'll find something you've always wanted to learn, such as calligraphy, needlework or runes reading. Services that would enhance your next party--face painting, a folk singer or a stand-up comic--are among the possibilities.

There are even some offerings that include considerable savings on hotels, car rentals, theme parks and local restaurants.

Members don't have to "balance out" what they use against what they give but may use as many of the services as they want, without limit and at any time.

Occasionally, the organization holds dinners and parties featuring members' talents, such as cooking and entertainment. There is a one-time registration fee of $50 and annual dues (by calendar year) of $49. Anyone signing up now gets an extra bonus: the balance of 2000 and all of next year.

If you are not convinced that the value of your membership far exceeds its cost, a full refund is offered. Full-time students and the temporarily unemployed receive a $10 discount on the registration fee, if claimed at the time of joining.

For more information, call Free for All at (818) 708-SAVE.

Supersale: Throughout the month, the price tags at Cotton USA Outlet will read one-half off, which means items are 50% below wholesale for women's first-quality cotton apparel. There are no more parking lot sales this year, so this is it.

Cotton USA Outlet, 22559 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. (818) 225-8725.

For more bargains, see http://www.bargainsla.com.

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