DEAR ABBY: Since it's the holiday season, your readers might enjoy the encounter I had with a last-minute holiday shopper years ago.
It was five minutes before closing time on Christmas Eve. I worked in the lingerie department of a major St. Louis department store. The regular employees were balancing and closing their cash registers, so I was the only seasonal employee left on the floor. As the closing announcement was sounding, my supervisor directed me to wait on a young man who had hurriedly entered the department.
To each of my questions regarding cost, size, style or color, his reply was, "Doesn't matter. Just one of everything that amounts to $200." I then selected panties, slip, nightgown and a negligee in medium sizes and neutral colors. After boxing the items and ringing up the sale, I wished him a happy holiday and hoped that his wife would like the gifts.
He replied: "Doesn't matter. She'll return them unopened; she just wants to see the sales receipt to see how much I spent on her."
Abby, the entire transaction took 15 minutes and gave me a humorous story to tell my waiting family. The gifts I received that year were praised to the skies and not one was returned. A lesson learned. -- SHIRLEY IN CAPE CORAL, FLA.
DEAR SHIRLEY: Thank you for sharing. More than a few people can benefit from that lesson.
DEAR ABBY: I liked the letter from "Knowing in the Northwest" regarding depression. However, I wish you had made the point that there is a difference between emotional depression, which usually happens in response to an unfortunate event (such as death or divorce), and biochemical depression, which is often genetic and usually requires medication to be fully treated.
The misunderstanding about the differences between these two conditions is widespread.
I have had polar depression for more than 30 years. I am doing well on medication and am very grateful for this. However, I am tired of people who do not understand that there is such a thing as biochemical depression.
People repeatedly ask what is depressing me. When I reply that I am not depressed ABOUT anything, and that the problem is biochemical, they insist that isn't possible. These same people understand that diabetics need to take insulin because their bodies do not produce or properly use it. Why can't they comprehend that there are people who need antidepressants because their bodies are lacking a chemical?
Abby, please do all of us who suffer from polar depression or bipolar depression a great service by informing the public that some forms of depression are purely medical in origin. Anyone who thinks otherwise is stuck in the misinformed thinking of 20 years ago, when getting in touch with your feelings was thought to cure all emotional ailments. I tried that. It simply didn't work for polar depression. -- ALSO KNOWING IN SUNNYVALE, CALIF.
DEAR ALSO KNOWING: I agree there is much confusion about emotional depression and biochemical depression. However, after reading your letter, I'm sure there will be much less confusion. You have explained the difference very well.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600