MONEY MAN­NERS

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - JEANNE FLEM­ING AND LEONARD SCH­WARZ Please email your ques­tions about money, ethics and re­la­tion­ships to

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: For sev­eral months, I’ve been go­ing out with a guy I re­ally like. But one thing he does drives me crazy: Ev­ery time we go to din­ner and the server asks if we’d like cof­fee, he asks how much it costs — un­less the price is on the menu, and it rarely is. Am I wrong to think that this be­hav­ior is more than a lit­tle pe­cu­liar, maybe even boor­ish? So you know, we take turns buy­ing din­ner, so half the time he’s not even pay­ing for the meal.

— C.G. DEAR C.G.: Only one thing drives you crazy? This guy’s a keeper.

But to an­swer your ques­tion: There’s noth­ing boor­ish about ask­ing a server the cost of a bev­er­age. It’s the restau­rant that’s out of line in omit­ting that in­for­ma­tion from its menu (and hop­ing cus­tomers like you will feel it’s in­ap­pro­pri­ate to ask). Shame on places that pre­tend to be above list­ing the price of in­ci­den­tals they are only too happy to charge for, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously charg­ing more than they’d dare to were they post­ing the price on their menus.

What, our rant­ing hasn’t re­versed your per­spec­tive on your boyfriend’s be­hav­ior? Then your only choice is to tell him how you feel, and see if he’d at least be will­ing to not ask about the price of cof­fee in front of you.

DEAR JEANNE & LEONARD: Be­liev­ing strongly that our three grand­chil­dren should have the ben­e­fit of a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion, my wife and I promised them and their par­ents we’d con­trib­ute $20,000 a year to­ward the cost, as long as they’re full-time stu­dents work­ing to­ward a de­gree. Hap­pily, the two old­est are at good uni­ver­si­ties and do­ing well. But our youngest grand­child, who will be a se­nior in high school, wants to be an ac­tor and says he isn’t in­ter­ested in col­lege. He’s pro­posed that, in­stead of sub­si­diz­ing a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion, we give him $20,000 a year for four years so he can go to New York, take act­ing classes and pur­sue a ca­reer on the stage. While we ad­mire his am­bi­tion, we feel he should first get a de­gree. On the other hand, this boy has never been much of a stu­dent, and it seems un­fair to be giv­ing so much money to the other two grand­chil­dren and noth­ing to him. Your thoughts?

— Per­plexed

DEAR PER­PLEXED: New York is not the only place in the world where a per­son can learn to be an ac­tor. There are plenty of col­leges with strong dra­matic arts pro­grams, some of which are bound to be a good fit for your grand­son. If the guid­ance coun­selor at his high school can’t point him in the right di­rec­tion, a pro­fes­sional col­lege coun­selor can.

As for the fair­ness is­sue, you’re right to be con­cerned. What you’ve done for your other grand­chil­dren is, in a sense, launch them. So if col­lege just isn’t in the cards for this one, it would be nice if you could of­fer him a com­pa­ra­ble leg up. But what form that leg up takes is for you to de­cide, not him. To us, he seems mighty young to be fly­ing solo in the Big Ap­ple. Ques­tions@MoneyMan­ners.net

Spe­cial to the Demo­crat-Gazette/RON WOLFE

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