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by Abigail Van Buren

Commuting Winery Worker Is Too Eager to Sample Wares

DEAR ABBY: My friend and I commute daily to work. She works in the tasting room of a well-known winery. I work in the administration office. Our drive is about half an hour round-trip over a twisty mountain road where accidents frequently occur.

My friend has a drinking problem, only she doesn't think so. Working behind the wine bar every day, the wine is very accessible. She drinks two to three glasses of wine for lunch and about the same amount after closing time.

Her husband and her supervisor have discussed her drinking with her, but she shrugs it off. I feel that I need to bring it up because I am a passenger in her car two weeks out of every month. There have been times when I have offered to drive her home, but she says, "Oh, I've driven home with more of a buzz than this before."

Abby, I don't want to be in an accident, but I know that she will have one sooner or later. My husband has told me to call him anytime I feel she has had too much to drink and he will drive me home, which he has done.

Could you please advise me? Should I talk to her? Should I talk to her husband first? I'm very concerned. -- WINE WORKER IN THE NAPA VALLEY

DEAR WINE WORKER: Your co-worker is an occupational accident waiting to happen. Stop commuting with her, unless you are driving, and tell her why. There is no reason to talk to her husband first; he knows she has a problem. She needs to be jarred into the reality that she shouldn't drink and drive. Your lives and her job depend upon it.

DEAR ABBY: A customer's manager recently requested a conference at my office. After the conference was over, he leaned toward me and asked if I minded if he asked me a personal question. I replied, "No," and he whispered, "Why do you have such an ugly secretary?" Shocked, I asked him who he was referring to. He said, "The woman just outside your office."

I looked out at my secretary. "Barbara" was neat as a pin, but I realized she was very plain-looking, with a large, bulbous nose, thinning hair and deeply pockmarked skin. I turned back to the manager and said, "Barbara is so vivacious I've never regarded her as ugly. She always speaks lovingly of her husband, and talks about her children as though they're angels. She's a terrific worker and comes to work every day with a smile on her face. It's contagious."

Abby, that man's secretary could easily adorn the cover of Playboy, but I'll bet he doesn't enjoy working with her as much as I enjoy working with my secretary. -- HAPPY BOSS

DEAR HAPPY BOSS: Many parents have told their children that "pretty is as pretty does." Your secretary listened. Thank you for sharing the incident with me and my readers. You must be a terrific boss.

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend and I are very much in love and we live together. I would like to propose to her; however, she has made it very clear that she does not want an engagement ring.

Abby, I would like to give her something as an engagement gift. Any ideas? -- TIM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR TIM: You are asking the wrong person. Ask your girlfriend what she would like to have as an engagement gift, and take her with you to select it.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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