Bank of America is next year going to start charging most holders of its debit cards $5 a month if they use them to make purchases. It's the biggest sign so far of how new bank regulations are going to mean big changes for the millions of customers who have come to rely on cards that are tied to their checking accounts — and don't rack up potentially huge interest bills.
Perhaps you've just finished a big meal at a restaurant when the waiter brings out a little dessert: "On the house," he says. Perhaps you've bought a new computer, and they throw in some free software and a discount on your next purchase. Or perhaps you've been to a bakery, ordered a dozen bagels and received 13.
Those are examples of a lagniappe: a little gift you get for buying something. It's an especially common practice in certain corners of the world, including Louisiana, where the term originates.
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A press photo of Sylvia Robinson from around 1992.
Sylvia Robinson was an important figure in American pop music for more than half a century. She first gained recognition as half of the duo Mickey and Sylvia (with ace guitarist Mickey Baker). They scored a hit in 1957 with "Love Is Strange," which has been used in movies from Dirty Dancing to Mermaids to Casino.