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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a committed recycler. If I have a choice between two similar products, I'll choose the one that has the least packaging and/or is the most recyclable. When I buy fruit and vegetables, I do not put each item into its plastic bag. I bring my own cloth bags for my groceries. I wash my fruits and vegetables when I get home, so I don't mind if they are handled a couple more times along the way.

My problems begin when I reach the checkout counter. First, I hear a big sigh. Then they try to put all my produce into separate plastic bags. Sometimes the bagger even lines my cloth bag with a plastic one. What's the point in bringing my own bags if I take home as much plastic as if I hadn't brought them?

On occasion, I have even tried to bag my own groceries, but the employees just roll their eyes, or glare at me.

Abby, please remind checkout personnel that customers who bring their own bags are trying to conserve our resources and are concerned about our environment. -- TEXAS RECYCLER

DEAR RECYCLER: The next time you're in a checkout line and the bagger asks, "Paper or plastic?" say, "Neither, thank you. I brought cloth bags, so it's not necessary to segregate the produce."

DEAR ABBY: Re the judge and Ph.D. who were planning their wedding and wanted to know how they should be properly announced at the ceremony:

In my opinion, your advice was off the mark. In this day and age of women keeping their own names and having their own titles, announcing them as "Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname" is inappropriate. This portion of the ceremony is about the new status of the couple AND their "new names."

While it's true that the wedding is "about the two of you becoming husband and wife, not judge and doctor," it is also true that becoming husband and wife is NOT about the wife's being called Mrs. Hisfirstname Hislastname anymore. Or even about the titles of "Mr." or "Mrs." where those are not applicable.

How about omitting this outdated "announcement" of new names and identities altogether? Is there any reason the presentation cannot be along the lines of, "Let's welcome John and Sally, husband and wife," or eliminated entirely? -- FLORIDA LAWYER

DEAR FLORIDA LAWYER: Of course not. Today, many couples opt for customizing their wedding ceremonies, and most clergy are cooperative about adding or deleting from the standard text.

That letter prompted some strong reactions from my readers. Read on for a letter with a very different viewpoint from yours:

DEAR ABBY: Dr. D., the Ph.D. from Arcadia, proves only that some educated and intelligent people are not necessarily smart. She may have a doctorate in education, but she failed Common Sense 101.

If I were the judge who is marrying her, I'd put a "stay of execution" on this wedding ceremony. In fact, I'd run as far as I could away from this "doctor" -- maybe to another state or country.

If I seem to be hard on this woman, it's because I've seen, met, spoken to, and even broken bread with this type of person. These people are selfish and self-centered. It's unfortunate that they don't recognize themselves. By the way, I'm an M.D., but you can call me "Bill." -- A BIG FAN IN SANTA CLARITA, CALIF.

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