One might have expected more from New York City's former Consumer Affairs Director than this confusing grab-bag. Although other recent consumer guides are less than perfect (the Striker and Shapiro Power Plays runs to legalese; Horowitz's Fight Back! is just heavy-handed), at least they provide useful, clear-cut information on consumer problems. Bess Myerson seems not to have decided what constitutes a consumer problem: she covers everything from home buying (""Don't buy a house that is in the direct flight path of airplanes"") and packing to move (""Avoid backstrain in lifting by using your leg muscles instead of your back""), to decorating (""Don't use a different color on the woodwork and trim in a small room. . . "") and sewing (""Before you cut the fabric, preshrink it. . .""). She also advises against driving when drunk, and stresses the importance of early cancer detection. Interspersed is mention of such agencies as the Major Appliance Consumer Action Panel--a last resort for complaints--but there are many deficiencies: a discussion on home safety stresses fire extinguishers while ignoring smoke detectors; a complicated explanation of mortgages omits the tax aspects. Cluttering up the text are snatches from letters (""Dear Bess: I developed a rash on my forehead. . ."") presumably sent to Myerson over the years. Wise consumers will shop for advice elsewhere.