Dear Ann: My dear friend, "Lulu," and her 4-year-old son just spent a week visiting. While I loved having them, I am a little annoyed about some things that happened, and hope you will straighten me out.
I paid for and prepared all of my guests' meals. I also paid for all transportation costs and the price of whatever entertainment we had. Lulu never offered to pick up the tab for anything. The kicker was when she and her son went out for ice cream one evening, came back with two cones, and ate them at our dining room table. She did not bring back anything for the rest of us.
Lulu logged onto my computer to check her e-mail, and made some long-distance calls on my phone without asking. She never reimbursed me for anything. I feel that she used me. Am I overreacting? Still Upset in Ohio
Dear Ohio: Your friend Lulu is a little short on social graces. You were not overreacting. She was "underreacting." I hope she brought a lovely gift when she arrived, or sent something elegant when she returned home, but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that she didn't. I hope you won't invite her to visit again.
Dear Ann: This is in response to "The Customer is Always Right ... Except." I am a sales clerk, and it has made a real difference in the way I treat those who are waiting on me.
If you have ever worked retail, you will find that when you do your own shopping, you go through stores straightening racks, pushing things out of the way to clear the aisles, and taking an extra minute to fold things. You will not leave a pile of clothes on the dressing room floor. You don't put an item you unfolded back in the middle of the pile, assuming the clerk is too dumb to notice.
Perhaps in days gone by, most store clerks barely had a high school education, but today, there are many clerks who are college graduates, and some have advanced degrees. I like people, and I enjoy working in sales. It isn't what I majored in, but how many of us are doing something we hadn't planned on and enjoying it?
Meeting the public for eight hours a day when you sometimes feel lousy or have a sick child at home with Grandma can make it difficult to keep a smile on your face. But we try, because the customer supplies us with a paycheck and is entitled to have the last word. It would be greatly appreciated if customers would treat the people who wait on them with respect. Lewisville, Tex.
Dear Lewisville: That loud racket you hear in the background is sales personnel expressing their appreciation. In our commercialized world, the customer is king. Thanks for supporting the "commoners."
Dear Ann: My husband and I moved into our new house 18 months ago. We had it decorated and furnished in a way that we consider quite lovely. Whenever we have guests, my husband insists that we show them around the entire house, including all the bathrooms, the laundry room and the broom closets. I don't feel this is necessary. There are certain rooms in the house I would rather not show anyone because they wouldn't pass scrutiny, but my husband says that's ridiculous.
If someone is invited for dinner, does that mean the entire house should be available for inspection? Your answer is going to make a difference. Depending on You in Alaska
Dear Alaska: If you're looking for an ally, you have one in me. This might come as a shock to your husband, but most people are not particularly interested in bathrooms and broom closets. The detailed tour your mate insists on is really an ego trip for him, but the visitors find it borrr-rrr-rrring.