The other day, I dug through your garbage and found an old credit card bill and stole your identity. Oh, wait. No I didn’t. But somebody could have, and a Chico business is holding an event to teach consumers why they should destroy records with personal, identifying information on them.

In recognition of National Personal Informational Privacy Day, April 20, Chico Shred is offering to shred documents for the average consumer from 9 a.m. until noon. Chico Shred, located at 611 Country Drive, near Highway 99 and Park Avenue, has many large clients as well as small businesses that want to make sure no one can find and read their discarded records.

Jane Lohse, who owns the business with her husband, Chuck, is a member of the National Association for Information Destruction, which set aside the day to make people aware of how someone can turn their financial world upside down simply by snagging a discarded checkbook or doctor’s bill.

“We’re trying to provide a community service and educate the public in trying to protect their privacy,” Lohse said. The papers will be fed into a machine that can shred more than 2,000 pounds in an hour. About 99 percent of the material can be recycled.

“We always keep it under a locked, controlled environment,” Lohse said of the documents Chico Shred typically shreds into strips of five-sixteenths of an inch. “It is totally destroyed.”

Enter Gigi

Put on your shopping clothes. The new shoe and accessory shop, presented by the folks who run Lulu’s Fashion Lounge, is scheduled to open this week at 112 W. Second St.

Colleen Cannon, who owns the store with her mother, Debra, gave me a sneak peak. A grand piano takes center stage, and they’ve hauled up a bar from the 1800s that was in the basement. The classy, retro look kind of reminded me of Audrey Hepburn, who played Gigi on Broadway.

Colleen Cannon expects that the purses and such that Gigi will carry should quickly find a following in Chico, although not with her cute 2-year-old, Cannon, who doesn’t care for the fashion world—he doesn’t even like to wear shoes. “He doesn’t like me to dress him cute, either,” she said. “It’s a constant battle.”

Salad days?

Pity the small-business owner. If it’s not rising energy costs, it’s the price of the very products they sell. A freeze this season stunted the lettuce crop, sending prices soaring. A few Chico restaurants raised their prices for salads accordingly.

Val Montague, who owns Zot’s Hot Dogs in downtown Chico, added a 25-cent surcharge as prices for lettuce reached $3 a head—a 600 percent increase. As prices came back down last week, so did the surcharge. "Some restaurants would simply raise their price to reflect their increase in food costs. But we all know that, when prices go up, they usually never come back down. So I added a surcharge to partly make up my increase in food cost," Montague said. "People understood and didn’t complain about the surcharge."