Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I work as a clerk at a clothing store. Yesterday, a woman came in with a boy who looked to be about 13. She wanted him to try on a specific outfit, and he refused, saying it “looked stupid.” I silently agreed with his assessment. The outfit was ridiculous for a boy his size and age.
The two of them got into an argument, and I heard her say, “I want you to look nice for the wedding. Try it on.” I walked over and gently told his mother, “I’ve heard this from other customers, and I can assure you, if he doesn’t like it, he’s not going to wear it, and you’ll be wasting your money.” The boy then said, “See, Mom? Listen to this guy. Even he knows this is stupid.”
The mother then shouted, “No! I want you to look nice, and you cannot wear a dark suit with a dark shirt. You’ll look like a pimp.” The boy calmly replied, “Well, in that case, I won’t go.” Whereupon the mother said she’d make him wear a dress to the wedding and called him a moron. At that point, I politely told her she’d have to leave, and I escorted her out while she screamed that her son was an ingrate.
Was I wrong to have escorted her out? My boss wasn’t angry, but I know he would rather have made the sale. I thought the woman’s behavior was inappropriate. — Sales Clerk in Kansas
Dear Kansas: Screaming customers should be politely asked to leave, and that mother seemed particularly past coping. However, clerks need to be careful. It doesn’t help to take sides and become the paying customer’s adversary. You might have had better luck if you could have steered both of them toward an outfit that would have allowed for a compromise.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “Feeling Alone,” who has been married for 40 years and her retired husband is too busy to spend time with her. She wanted to meet an old flame for lunch. She got the same old advice from you: Tell your husband how you feel, find outside interests or get counseling. You just don’t get it. I’ve also been married 40 years, and my spouse is recently retired. I still work full time. When he retired, he became even more involved with community affairs.
He’s intelligent, well-spoken, a great problem-solver and a real “can-do” guy. The result is that I never see him. Even when he’s home, he isn’t really here — he’s on the phone or online, dealing with yet another committee or crisis.
I have shared my feelings of loneliness with him. I am involved in other things. What I don’t have is a husband who is interested in me. I didn’t get married so I could become an expert quilter, gardener and volunteer. These spouses are addicted to their outside interests and give their marriages whatever time is left over. “Feeling” should decide whether she is better off with or without him, and then act accordingly. — Lonely but Staying
Dear Lonely: We agree that each spouse must decide whether or not to stay in the marriage. Discussing it is the first step. Finding other activities is best for those who choose to stay. We recommend counseling in order to air grievances and make the best decision. Too often, neglected spouses expect the other person to change, when that is not likely to happen. We appreciate your input.
Dear Annie: I’m not an expert, but I recommend that “Itching in Ky.” and other homeowners with bedbug problems place their guest bed mattress in a full mattress cover made of plastic or other non-penetrable material with a zippered closure. — Fellow Kentuckian
Dear Fellow: With bedbugs such a problem, it can’t hurt to protect yourself before the critters move in. Some of these mattress covers also protect against dust mites and allergens.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.22.11