MISS MAN­NERS

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Puzzles - By Ju­dith Martin, Ni­cholas Ivor Martin and Ja­cobina Martin

Dear Miss Man­ners: I have a dear friend with whom I en­joy so­cial­iz­ing at lun­cheons and din­ners, and we some­times travel to­gether. She is blessed with a hand­some in­come, and en­joys shop­ping.

I spent 20-plus years as a sin­gle mother, with a de­cent in­come but rarely money to burn. My child is now on his own with a good ca­reer. I con­tinue to be frugal, but never “cheap.”

My friend in­sists I join her in shop­ping at high-end stores where I feel ex­tremely un­com­fort­able. She has the means and de­sire to buy $5,000 purses (she has sev­eral) and $700 shoes, but even though I’ve en­joyed a healthy six­fig­ure in­come the last sev­eral years, I still see no sense in spend­ing that kind of money on a func­tional item.

So while she shops to im­press, I sit with my $29.99 sale purse and $80 shoes, feel­ing like the prover­bial fish out of wa­ter. I feel very em­bar­rassed. If I opt out of any store, she is vis­i­bly up­set.

How do I po­litely tell her I am not in­ter­ested in what the new “It” spring bag looks like? (I frankly think they’re ugly, and re­ally don’t get why any­one would spend $3,500 on a bag made of coated fab­ric and not leather.)

This is­sue has es­ca­lated. Whereas she used to en­joy a bar­gain as I did, now she only wants to steer us into the stores of the rich and fa­mous. And yes,

I do think she’s show­ing off, but her ac­tions are only mak­ing me sour on the friend­ship.

Dear Gen­tle Reader: As pos­si­bly the only colum­nist who doesn’t pass the buck by telling ev­ery­one to see a good ther­a­pist, Miss Man­ners is nev­er­the­less cu­ri­ous. Why do you feel em­bar­rassed? Why are you un­com­fort­able in fancy stores that usu­ally have soft chairs?

And most of all, why can’t you say, “I’d be de­lighted to have lunch with you, but I’ll skip the shop­ping. You and I have dif­fer­ent tastes”?

At any rate, that is what you must say. If any­one should feel em­bar­rassed, it should be the per­son who ex­poses her in­dul­gence in over­priced goods.

Dear Miss Man­ners: I re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion to a party that I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ex­pected to at­tend. We are not close, and I live sev­eral states away.

I did send my re­grets, and a con­grat­u­la­tory email. The only rea­son I hes­i­tate to send a card is be­cause peo­ple seem to ex­pect a gift card/cash/ check to ac­com­pany a card.

This may sound like a bizarre ques­tion, but do peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate a card with­out a mon­e­tary gift? I feel like some peo­ple would say no. What are your thoughts?

Dear Gen­tle Reader: That any­one who would dis­dain your good wishes un­less ac­com­pa­nied by a do­na­tion is not worth your time, much less your money.

There is no limit nowa­days to what peo­ple might ex­pect in the way of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance, but Miss Man­ners as­sures you that this does not mean that you have to hand it over.

Ad­dress your eti­quette ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, www.miss­man­ners.com; to her email, dearmiss­man­[email protected] com; or through postal mail to Miss Man­ners, An­drews McMeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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