DEAR ABBY: Your column has been a fixture in my life. Thank you for the smiles and the tears.
My dilemma: I received yet another invitation to someone's home for a "product party." In the past year, I have been considered a prospective buyer of cookware, candles, makeup, toys and vitamins. While I have at times used all these products, the invitations to sales parties that come from friends and sometimes friends of friends, irritate me.
When I phone to decline, the hostess invariably says, "Oh, you don't have to buy anything." Of course that's not exactly entirely true because it's a sales party, and "guests" are pressured in various ways to buy the product. People often buy things they don't need or want because they fear they'd be disloyal to the hostess if they didn't.
When I was growing up, my father said, "You don't invite friends to your house to sell them things." Maybe Dad was on to something.
Abby, how should unwanted invitations be handled?-- IRKED IN INDIANA
DEAR IRKED: Continue to decline the invitations. Tell the hostess you have "a conflict" and cannot change your plans.(You don't have to give any details.)
P.S. To ease your conscience, your "conflict" can be your plan to watch your favorite "I Love Lucy" rerun on TV.
DEAR ABBY: I'm wondering what I should do when my biological father dies. He and my mother divorced before I was born. I've had little contact with him, but my older sister and brother lived with him growing up and are close to him.
My mother died 20 years ago, and afterward I tried to get to know him, but he didn't want to know me. He never paid child support. Both he and my mother remarried. I was fortunate to have a loving stepfather, and I was very close to him until his death.
When the time comes, I am considering not going to my birth father's funeral. I have not told my sister how I feel because she thinks he is the greatest. I think he is a dirt ball.
What do you advise, under these circumstances?-- CONFUSED IN SIOUX CITY
DEAR CONFUSED: Funerals are for the living. Go to his funeral and give your siblings the emotional support they will need. I understand why you feel the way you do, but in this situation, it would be an act of kindness to keep your true feelings to yourself.
DEAR ABBY: Several years ago, when I read one of your letters about pennies from heaven, I laughed about it to myself. My sister-in-law had died a few months earlier and I said, "OK, Sharyn, if you're there, send me a penny from heaven."
Abby, the next day when I arrived at work, there on my keyboard was a perfectly placed penny. And for weeks afterward I kept finding more pennies. Finally I had to say, "OK, Sharyn, I get it." And the pennies stopped.-- A BELIEVER NOW IN SOMERS, CONN.
DEAR BELIEVER NOW: I'm glad your faith is restored. If you saved them, have them made into charms for a bracelet. Every time you wear it you'll feel close to the sister-in-law who's smiling down on you.
L1: Sigh. YOU TURN THEM DOWN YOU IDIOT. And "I love lucy"? You're old, Abby.
L2: Screw Abby's advice. He wasn't your father. Don't act as if he was. Your siblings didn't have YOUR back, apparently, when dad was shirking his duties to you as your father, so why bother having theirs now? They're grownups, they can cope.
Lw1: I like certain product parties. but on a whole, probably turn down 80% of invites to those type of parties without any guilt. If this a a neighborhood thing (lots of neighborhood women doing this), it may just be a method to get together and drink. Suggest putting together a monthly bunco party or something--after the year of too many product parties with almost nothing purchased, that's what a group in my neighborhood did.
L1: The need to consult Dear Abby for this conndrum is a sure sign of idiocy. L2: I'm with Redhead. To go is a sign that you are paying your respects to the scumbag. I'd just tell the siblings, "you now my history with him, so you can understand why I'll not be going to the funeral or wake." Screw them if they have a problem.
L1: I Love Lucy is still in reruns, Red. You need to turn those down -- each party leads to more parties and you'll never get peace. Just say "no". Tupperware -- the new drug.:)
L2: There's more than your siblings who will attend, most likely. Aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Go for all of them and your relationship with those relatives. It is true that funerals are for the living. The dead person usually doesn't have a thing to say at them.
L3: I have a lot of pennies that accumulate in my desk drawer. I should start placing one on someone's keyboard each day and see if they start to freak out.
LW1: I hate these things. And my mother was always dragging me to them when I was growing up to "be nice and polite." Then she'd complain all the way home and for the next few days because she felt "forced" into spending money she didn't have and now she wouldn't have money for whatever, blahblahblah. I just wanted to scream "so don't go to the effing parties then".
Oh, but being "nice" to people, even people we barely knew, was always more important almost all the time. Fortunately, I now live in a rural area where these things are rare and we can find way better excuses to get together and drink!
LW3: Ugh. Waiter, I'd like to return this rehash and grits, it's way too stale and old.
LW1: "When I phone to decline, the hostess invariably says, "Oh, you don't have to buy anything." "
That's when you say again, that you can't make it. And if you have the hostess's email, you don't even need to call. Send an email. Or better yet, go under the premise that if you don't respond at all, that a sensible person woud assume you are not coming.
LW2: What Abby said.
LW3: One day I was at the 7 Eleven. I was short a penny. I thought I was going to have to suffer and not be able to buy and enjoy my speccially chosen 20 oz bottle of pineapple flavored Fanta. Just as I was about to hang my head and leave, I noticed a little bowl on the counter. It had some change in it. There was a sign above it.
Have a penny, leave a penny. Need a penny, take a penny. Need anickel, get a job.
THERE WAS A PENNY!
I just know it was my great great great grandfather the pineapple farmer who sent that penny to me!
Abby showed her age by even referencing ILL, a tv show that's 40-50 years old, which isn't even a funny show to me (or other people I know).
Finally, someone who agrees with me on that! I watched in in reruns as a child (hey, I'm almost fifty, so it was in syndication everywhere then!) and never, ever understood what the big deal was. And Lucy begging and pleading with hubby for even a lousy five bucks was a real, major turnoff. otoh, something tells me it just might be the mutt's favorite show!