Outside the box

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Taking a cue from Northwest, here's a suggestion for the Transportation Department in its efforts to increase competition in the airline industry: Talk the pilots at major carriers into going on strike. Next thing you know, Fred's Airline has a hub at Newark. Problem solved.

With its new Fastbreak Choice service, registered Budget Rent a Car customers identify their preselected car category on an electronic monitor, then just get behind the wheel of any car in that category and drive out of the lot. I predict this will be heard at the exit of many Budget lots: "What? It says 'micro-subcompact?' No, no, I preselected a turbo convertible. Your computer must be down."

An Illinois company enables golfing vacationers to rent clubs at selected locations, leaving their own heavy golf bags at home. No word as to whether the company also will provide sedatives or anger-management counseling to nongolfing significant others.

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