In socially liberal Norway, just as in the US, it's illegal for children of 14 or 15 to buy alcoholic beverages. But that didn't stop two boys in suburban Oslo from exploiting a promotion by a grocery-store chain that offered customers a bonus if they could find any products on its shelves with expired "freshness" dates. Earlier this week, the teens wheeled up to a cashier shopping carts stuffed with 280 cans of a popular brand of beer they aren't old enough to purchase but that already were past the best-if-consumed-by point. The clerks, store manager, police, and the boys' parents all concluded that no effort had been made to leave the premises with the suds, so the reward - the combined retail value of the cans, or $1,030 - should be paid.

Hey, Mom and Dad, is it OK with you if i buy this DVD?
One of the easiest ways for young people to exert independence from their parents is to have spending money in their pockets. Surprisingly, however, a new study by marketing researcher NOP World Consumer of New York concludes that kids these days consult their parents, on average, 9 percent more than just three years ago when making purchases. According to its latest Roper Youth Report, about as many 8-to-17-year-olds (37 percent) want their parents to approve of their consumer decisions as not (38 percent). Selected product categories, with the percentage of increase since 2001, and overall percentage of parents with a say in the matter:

Video/DVD movie rentals +14% 52%
Video/DVD movie purchases +14% 51%
CDs/prerecorded tapes +12% 49%
Video games +15% 47%
Games/toys +12% 45%
Computer software/CD ROMS +11% 37%
Books +10% 37%
Personal care products +10% 24%
Soft drinks +9% 25%

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