Friday, April 25, 2008

Advice Is Now a Habit - April 25, 2008 Edition

DEAR AMY: I've been dating "Anabel" for about a year. She is nice, funny and sincere. What I used to consider a quirky endearment, I now consider an annoyance.

Anabel is cheap. She says she is a "frugal environmentalist."

If we get coffee at Starbucks, she'll bring her own mug and take wads of napkins and sugar packets home to use later.

If we go out to eat, she brings her own containers to box the leftovers. She tries to recycle everything. She never buys anything full price, and she clips coupons like crazy.
When we go out to dinner, she always asks what everyone is getting so that she can order something comparable in price. That way, when we split the bill, she won't feel as if she's getting ripped off.

If she needs to run an errand less than 2 miles away, she insists on walking instead of driving.

I had a friend who was down and out, so I lent him money. She absolutely flipped out and said I was never going to get the money back and that he spent it frivolously. She called him a deadbeat.

He's my friend, and I believe friends help each other.

She has a small group of friends and doesn't like to hang out with people she thinks will take advantage of her. Many of my friends don't like her.

How do I get her to tone down this abnormal behavior? I do believe in recycling and all that, but I think she takes it too far.



Let’s take a little inventory here:

Walking on short errands instead of driving = good.

Bringing containers to box your own leftovers at a restaurant = eccentric, but good.

Bringing a mug to Starbucks to cut down on paper waste = good.

Never buying full price = hey, Marshall’s and Family Dollar are my best friends.


Passing judgment on your friends = bad.

Telling you what to do with your money (yes, yours, since you’re not married to this nag and unless you’ve arranged to share your finances) = bad, bad, bad.

When you say she tries to recycle everything, I hope you’re not being literal. There are many, erm, “paper products” that simply shouldn’t be reused. I won’t elaborate.

“Frugal environmentalist” in this case sounds like PC-speak for “tight-ass.” And maybe you should remind her that stealing the sugar and napkins from a restaurant or coffee shop is also something a “deadbeat” would do.

I can understand her not wanting to be taken advantage of, but in this day and age, when people go out as a group, they always cop out and do that “New York Split” thing, believing in theory that most everything on the menu is of a similar price range. She’s going to have a hell of a time finding a group that will tote along calculators to make her happy. In fact, if she’s this unyielding, your Joan of Arc is unlikely to find people that want to hang around with her at all.

Good luck making her see the fallacies in her argument, however. She sounds like one of the extreme ones who’ve too far gone past Nutbush City Limits to see any sort of reason. The hell of radical greenies like this one is that they find the whole entire world obscene for not living by their code. They’re gung-ho to save the planet—for the animals, apparently, since they seem to hate all the people who live on it. Ironic, really.

If she starts buying gasoline and fertilizer, get the hell out of there. Fast.

DEAR ABBY: I'm in my early 40s. I studied marketing and merchandising in college, but after graduation I chose to work in the family business. I married young, and my father hired my first husband so he could one day take over because I wasn't considered "man" enough to carry on this third-generation business.

I have spent the last 22 years learning this business inside and out. The employees respect me, and I have also gained respect within our industry. Although the number of women is still small, more and more women are involving themselves in this and related fields.

My day-in/day-out misery comes from my father. He is 72 and still works every day. He is old school. No matter how much money I make for this company or how much respect I gain from others, he will never acknowledge it. He constantly argues with me, and when he knows he's wrong, he walks out of the room. If I hear, "I have been doing this longer than you have" once more, I'll scream.

I would like to move on with my life -- meaning, get a new career. But being an only child in a family business that started in the 1920s, I feel trapped.
My ex- still works here, which is the company joke and the talk of the town. My birthday was last week, and Dad did not even wish me a happy birthday. Pretty sad for a man with one child he sees every day.

How can I find the strength to get on with my life?



Read my lips: Get. Out. Now.

You’re still fairly young, you’ve made lots of great contacts in your industry, and you said yourself you know your business backwards and forwards (or inside out, or whatever the hell direction it was). Yet your father doesn’t see fit to give you the promotion you deserve, and you have to work with your fucking ex-husband every day to boot? And he's going to be your BOSS someday??

BUH-bye now…

I’d be laying rubber out of that parking lot before Daddy settled down on his hemorrhoid cushion for the day. If he doesn’t even remember your birthday (although that could be senility, I suppose), along with all these other indignities, he’s clearly daring you to walk, and he’s contemptuous enough to believe you never will. Well, it’s time to give the old fucker a surprise. He’s never going to realize he’s wrong (stubborn old bastards like that never do—they’ll always find a way to turn cognitive dissonance to their own advantage – even a thunderbolt over the head is explained away by some kind of superstition about eating turmeric at breakfast or some bullshit like that).

You’ve probably carried that place for years, because they know you will. Well, new world comin’, honey. You’ve done your duty faithfully for years, and you’ve been consistently shortchanged. So now it’s all about you: get out there and parlay those connections into a better job with a different firm.

Don’t feel “trapped” by guilt over this being your family’s business. If Daddykins would rather turn control of his family business over to a non-family member because his petty chauvinism simply can’t allow a woman to run the place, then he’s a fucking moron, and the “family” thing clearly isn’t all that important to him. Try dressing a cabbage up and sitting it in your chair when you leave. I’ll bet it takes that old nutsack a week to figure out it’s not you. And let’s hope he and the ex are very happy together.


DEAR ABBY: How can I make my husband understand that eating out every Sunday after church is not only a waste of money, but also makes going out for special occasions not as important as they could be? I try to explain that we could do something besides eat out, but he only wants to do that.

We spend anywhere from $80 to $100 each week on dinner out. My husband puts it on a credit card. Now, I'll admit that I'm not that "up" on how credit cards work, but I know we'll have to pay them off eventually. We don't have the kind of money to splurge every week. How should I deal with this?


Who gets tired of eating ou--?? Oh, you mean at a restaurant. Well, sure $80 a week is a lot to spend on one meal, but maybe your husband just wants something nice to look forward to after listening to a deadly boring sermon for a few hours. (I’d need amphetamines to stay awake myself, so I don’t even go anymore.) And just for your edification, yes – yes, you will need to pay those cards off eventually. How did you guess??

Maybe you could find an eatery that’s less expensive. Ix-nay on that whole “doing something else afterwards” thing, because I have an inkling that for you, that would entail some sort of horrible crafts fair or something else that only you would like. You should try to compromise on the lunch thing, or you might find yourself rolling around in those aisles all by yourself while hubby stays home in his underwear to watch wrestling.

DEAR ELLIE: My daughter-in-law is phony with me. When I tell her how to do things, she smiles and says, "That's a good idea," but then does what she wants.



Would you prefer “Shut up, asshole?” Because if someone consistently told me how to do things, that’s what they’d get. And I’d skip the smile.

Count yourself lucky, Gramps.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you're not syndicated. I feel so lucky to be able to see the real answers that should have been given.
The last one I thought was going to be a nosy Mother-in-Law but is was the Father-in-Law no less. So he would prefer her saying take your advice and stick it up your ass? No, he wants her to say that is a good idea and actually do it so he can feel superior and in charge. Your advice rocks. Ed

2:49 PM  
Blogger American Girl said...

Sorry to tell you this, Aaron, but I'm pretty sure Anabel ain't using monthly paper products. There's something called Luna Pads and they are (gag me) reusable. Sarah

3:07 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Ed: I thank you as always! I'm still sure my karma will come back and bite me in the ass someday--I'll find some really nice gay guy and get married (or committed or whatever) and then end up with a MIL or FIL from hell. (That's one of the things that scared me when I was a teenager...when I thought I liked girls, I only picked those ones whose parents I already liked! LOL)

Sarah: I actually hadn't thought of the monthly products (I was thinking more about the "elimination of waste products" products), but oh Lord, what an interesting tidbit of information you've given me! Oh Lord, oh Lord. (It's not the same company that makes Luna BARS, is it...??)

4:04 PM  

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