Keith Naughton

Stories by Keith Naughton

  • Is The 'Regis Look' Your Final Answer?

    Who wants to look like a millionaire game-show host? Apparently, millions of American men. The monotone shirts and shiny ties Regis Philbin wears on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" are creating the biggest men's fashion frenzy since Don Johnson slipped a pink T shirt under his white blazer. Forget business casual, guys want the "Regis Look" in shades of mustard and eggplant. "People from all over the country are calling," says Lou Melazzo, manager of Beau Brummel, the Manhattan store that outfits Philbin.Now Philbin wants to make a million, at least, off the fashion phenom he created. Coming to department stores in time for Father's Day: "Regis brought to you by Van Heusen," a line of shirts and ties that sell for $77.50 a set. Van Heusen expects to sell $50 million in Regis wear in the first year.But with Regis making monotone mainstream, will the look become a fashion victim? "Do I want to look like Regis?" says Channing Barringer, 28, an exec who fancied brown-on-brown tones. ...
  • Squabbling Like Children

    After Steven Hsiao's 81-year-old mother died in 1998, dividing her financial assets was no trouble. Her will dictated her estate be shared equally by her seven children. Yet when it came to cleaning out their mother's Washington apartment, the middle-aged siblings battled over lamps, furniture and even kitchen utensils. When Hsiao claimed a knife and bread pan, his older sister, Dorothy, lambasted him for stealing her memories. "I said, 'It's just a knife. It's not worth anything'," says Hsiao, 44, a professor at Johns Hopkins.With the help of bereavement counseling, Dorothy says she got over her anger at Steven. But much is still unresolved. Art work from their mother's native China remains in storage until tempers cool. "There's a lot of baggage and ghosts that come out at a time like this," says Dorothy. "You should be grieving together, but you go back to being the way you were as kids, and you start fighting."Family feuds like the Hsiaos' are breaking out all over. In a recent...
  • Did Kayla Have To Die?

    After A 6-Year-Old Kills His Classmate, The Search For Answers Raises Fears About Parenting And Guns. Untangling The Troubled Life Of A Little Boy.
  • Tired Of Smile-Free Service?

    Hustling off to work one morning recently, Ann Andraska pulled into her neighborhood gas station in Ann Arbor, Mich., for a fill-up. On her way to the checkout counter, the elementary-school speech therapist grabbed a Coke and a five-pound bag of ice. As she fumbled with the ice while trying to pull money from her purse, the cashier barked, "Would you put that stuff down! I need the money." Andraska did as she was told, and the clerk flung her change across the counter. Shocked by such rudeness, Andraska sighed. "If you want better service,'' the clerk growled, "go across the street.''The problem is, it's not likely to be much better across the street. It's no secret that service is abysmal, a fact confirmed last week by a new University of Michigan survey of customer satisfaction that puts an exclamation point on an unfortunate Econ 101 lesson: as unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years, it's tough to find good workers. And that's why customer satisfaction at fast...
  • Crunch Time At Kellogg

    Growing up in Cleveland, Terri Manns started her day with a bowl of Kellogg's Raisin Bran. But now, Manns's day begins with "pure chaos" as she rushes to get her two kids to school and herself to the office. "I'm lucky to make it to work," says the 37-year-old executive, "let alone sit in my kitchen and eat breakfast." On a good day, Manns manages to gobble down a bagel during her morning scramble. "If it can't be easily eaten with one hand while the other hand is on the wheel of the car, forget about it," she says.Americans' hectic new morning routine is wreaking havoc on Kellogg Co. Killer commutes (nearly an hour round trip in many cities) leave no time to fix even the simplest breakfast. Getting out the door is equally challenging for the 64 percent of families in which both parents work. More Americans than ever simply skip breakfast, according to new data from NPD Group, an eating-habits researcher. "People wish they could just get breakfast injected into them on the run,"...
  • Impress Your Friends, Flatten Your Enemies

    It's the top draw at this year's Detroit Auto Show: General Motors' new Hummer H2SUV, a smaller sibling of the gulf-war monster. Without losing its combat roots, the H2 packs in enough creature comforts to serve as a Humvee for the whole family. At $45,000, it'll require a serious splurge, but GM chairman Jack Smith told NEWSWEEK that the H3, a baby Hummer priced at a trim $20,000, is on the way.To accomodate off-road excursions, the panel features altimeter and inclinometer gaugesThe instrument panel's chrome gauges glow green like a radar at nightA voice-activated stereo comes with a six-CD changer, plus 10 speakers throughout the vehicleThe transmission shifter is designed to resemble the throttle in a fighter jetIn lieu of a keyhole, the dash has a red button marked 'fire.' Press it, and the H2 starts.GM's new H2: it's not your mom's Hummer Price: $45,000*Debuts:Engine:Gas mileage:*Estimated. Source: GM
  • Can Toyota Get Its Mojo Back?

    When Gretta Rose Bart went shopping for her first new car, she intended to follow her family's tradition of buying Toyotas. The 29-year-old learned to drive in her mother's Toyota Camry, which she says was "safe and practical." Instead, Bart drove away in a sleek white Volkswagen Jetta for $16,000. Why? "Toyota is a responsible, heavy car," says the San Diego kayak instructor. "But VW is carefree, light and fast."Once the wheels of Young America, Toyota is having a midlife crisis. Baby boomers began a love affair with Toyota three decades ago as they rebelled against the big, stodgy cars Detroit sold to their parents. The boomers' devotion made Toyota the most successful foreign model on the road, with the Camry cruising along as America's top-selling car for the last three years. But as its boomer buyers age, Toyota is beginning to feel trapped by the relationship. With the average age of Camry buyers approaching 50, the carmaker is desperately seeking Gen-Xers. Otherwise, Toyota...
  • When Cars Drive You

    It's 2050, and one quintessential American passion has withstood the test of time: we like to drive. So you decide to hit the open road and cruise across country. First you must unplug your car from your house. That's right: cars now run on electric fuel cells, those hydrogen-powered devices found only in rockets back in the 20th century. Your fuel cell throws off so much juice that it can fill the electrical needs of both home and car. Or, as Pete Beardmore, director of Ford's research lab, describes it: "Your car becomes the brain stem for controlling your house." (You'll have a home backup system when you take a trip.)You ease into your personalized driver's seat--which in a crash whisks you out of harm's way, eliminating the need for airbags--and you grab hold of the joystick. Steering wheels and pedals have gone the way of the buggy whip. All the movements of your car--accelerating, turning, braking--are now controlled by a joystick familiar to generations weaned on computer...
  • Cyberslacking

    With a new baby and a full-time job, Jill McGarr doesn't have time to cruise the malls this Christmas. Instead, she's cruising the Internet, shopping for gifts for her husband and 2-month-old daughter. Not owning a home computer, however, she's doing her online shopping at the Cleveland graphics studio where she works. Does that make her feel guilty? "Oh, come on," says the 28-year-old secretary. "I'm not cheating anyone. I'm a multitasker." After all, she says, everyone shirks at work sometimes. Besides, she says, "what's more beneficial? Talking on the phone to a friend or maybe becoming more computer literate because you're using the computer?"McGarr might be multitasking. But a new generation of cyberslacking workers are multishirking by spending hours a day frittering away time online. As e-mail and high-speed Internet access have become standard-issue office equipment, rampant abuse of computers in the workplace is making the water cooler look like a font of productivity. For...
  • Chewed Out By Mints

    Wrigley has a problem with bad breath. And it is playing out inside Brian Knott's briefcase. In one corner is the Ohio auditor's trusty tin of Altoids, the curiously strong mints that have sweetened his breath in stressful situations. In the other corner is a newcomer: Wrigley's Eclipse gum, which also packs a minty wallop. Says Knotts: "Eclipse is like Altoids with the gum factor added."Wrigley, for a century the Goliath of gum, has found its David in Altoids, whose irreverent ads transformed it from a forgotten, two-centuries-old British breath mint into a must-have accessory in today's hip cigar and coffee society. Altoids, owned by Philip Morris, have become so hot they've inspired a swarm of breath-deodorizing imitators. Now Wrigley is wading in with Eclipse, which debuted this summer and is its first new gum in five years. Shaped like a tiny white tablet, Eclipse is really a mint masquerading as a gum. And it aims to get back some of the business lost to the supercharged mints...
  • Hitting The Bull's-Eye

    Target stores' new marketing blitz brings new meaning to the term "fashion victim." After launching a series of ads this summer featuring Gen-X models in fashions dotted with its red and white bull's-eye logo, Target was deluged with calls from consumers eager to don the funky threads. The discount chain claims it never intended to sell the logo ware, but now it is rushing out a line of bull's-eye boxers, T shirts and PJs. Deadpans marketing chief John Pellegrene: "It's not meant to be the Ralph Lauren polo pony."For Target, it's all about building buzz for its unconventional blend of high-style offerings and low-rent prices. Discounters, such as Wal-Mart, became the darlings of the retail industry this decade as savvy shoppers refused to pay full price and spurned department stores. But Target disdains the typical approach of "stack 'em high, price 'em cheap and watch 'em fly," says consultant Candace Corlett of WSL Strategic Retail. Instead the discounter, regally referred to as ...
  • Speed Bumps Ahead For Suvs

    Royce "Butch" Myers has been a lifelong Chevy man. You could often find the Memphis money manager behind the wheel of a Chevy Blazer, tooling off to a turkey shoot along the Mississippi River. But when it came time to trade in his '94 Blazer this summer, Myers decided he'd had enough of Detroit. What did he buy instead? A $26,500 Toyota Tundra pickup. "I looked hard at the Chevy pickup, but it just doesn't stack up," explains Myers, 58. "It takes a city block to turn the Chevy, but the Toyota handles like a car."For Detroit automakers, Myers is more than simply one that got away. He's part of a trend that threatens Detroit's unparalleled prosperity. It might look like fat city in Motown these days, with record sales and profits expected this year. But buyers like Myers represent a problem that could make Detroit's money machine throw a piston rod. Automakers are facing a double whammy: sport utility vehicle (SUV) sales are slowing down and the Japanese are coming--again. But this...

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