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Personal aides: Worth it?

YOUR MONEY

They don't have to cost a fortune, but this writer prefers a simpler life after trying a few

September 30, 2007|Julie M. Makinen | Times Staff Writer

* American Express Platinum Concierge, available to platinum card members only for no added fee, offers many of the same services. More information at www.americanexpress.com or (800) 345-2639.

In-person assistants

There are scores of such services available in Southern California. To find one:

* The International Concierge and Errand Assn. offers a "Find a Concierge" search function at www.iceaweb.org. Use your local city or California as a search term.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, October 03, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 33 words Type of Material: Correction
Personal assistants: An article in Sunday's Business section on hiring a personal assistant gave an incorrect price for the service at redbutler.com. For $165.95 a month, a subscriber gets 100 requests, not 40.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, October 07, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Personal assistants: An article in the Sept. 30 Business section on hiring a personal assistant gave an incorrect price for the service at redbutler.com. For $165.95 a month, a subscriber gets 100 requests, not 40.

* The National Concierge Assn. can locate a helper. E-mail info@ nationalconciergeassociation .com.

* Many personal concierges belong to the National Assn. of Professional Pet Sitters. There's a locater function on the group's website. Go to www.petsitters.org and click on "For Pet Owners."

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Unusual requests

Virtual assistant service Sunday doesn't just get requests to order flowers for the secretary. Here are some of the more unusual requests they've handled, according to company founders Steve Ludmer and Avinash G. Samudrala.

* A woman asked an assistant to call and cancel a date with a man; no reason given.

* A customer wanted dinner reservations made -- in Norway.

* Two men asked Sunday to peruse Craigslist for dating prospects who met their "specifications."

* A concertgoer sent in a cellphone photo of a musician wearing a T-shirt and asked Sunday to find out where he could get one like it.

* A customer, traveling in Paris, sent in a request marked "asap" asking for directions to the red-light district and for recommendations on places to visit while there.

Ludmer and Samudrala say the company also got a request to extend birthday greetings to a client's mother. They accepted the task -- with the provision that they wouldn't be held responsible for any ill will that ensued.

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