What's a cookie?
Cookies are secret (except when honest sites like ours tell you about them) little files placed on your computer's hard drive by Web sites you've visited. They can be used for a variety of purposes, most of them quite benign.
The most recent versions of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator allow you to control cookie placement to some extent, and there are cookie-blocking software programs too, most of which are free or relatively inexpensive.
As far as I know, refusing to allow cookies does not prevent you from taking advantage of any legitimate service on the Internet (but I may be wrong). Some sites don't let you visit at all if you have cookies disabled, but then they don't really want to accomodate their visitors, do they? Disabling cookies can help preserve your privacy at the expense of having to continually re-enter information because you are always a new first-time visitor to any site.
On this site, if you block cookies your shopping cart will automatically be emptied any time you temporarily leave our site to look at other web information (kind of like leaving your cart with several items at the grocery store, and you just run out to your car to get your purse, but someone has put all your items back on the shelf by the time you come back).
I like to take the middle ground in my own web surfing; I use the setting in our browsers that asks for my permission before accepting a cookie from any web site, and give permission only for those sites I have reason to trust. I hope that you will include THIS site in the list of those YOU trust!
Look at the Cookie Central FAQ for more information on web cookies and how YOU can take control of them. If you are the site administrator, or can talk to your site administrator about these things, I strongly recommend that you look into Junkbuster to help gain control over what information you send to the web sites you visit. (It's rather technical, but extremely powerful. I use it myself, and have installed it in my home at at our company for all our employees. Five thumbs up!)
I encourage you: Know as much as you can about different ways to protect your privacy.