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DEAR ABBY: I always knew your column was powerful, but perhaps you'd like to hear just how effective it can be. Your October mention of our end-of-life planning kit flooded our offices with 50,000 orders, and they're still coming in! The notes with the orders show how much this idea has clicked with the public:

"Just what I need to get organized."

"I've put this off for a long time. I knew it was meant for me."

"I love this idea. Please send 20 more. Everyone in my family is getting one."

"The refrigerator is one place I'm sure my family will find it."

But we're suffering from success -- and I'm not sure which word to emphasize. We had expected perhaps 10,000 orders -- not five times as many. We're shipping the kits as fast as our volunteers can assemble them. Our crews work night and day, seven days a week. Now the folks whose orders haven't been shipped are complaining. As one senior put it, "Time gallops for us." Several people have even wondered if we're "another senior rip-off."

Please let your readers know that we won't cash their check or charge their credit card until we're ready to ship their order. And further, we will be most grateful for their patience in the meantime. Thank you! -- LISA CARLSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FUNERAL CONSUMERS ALLIANCE INC.

DEAR LISA: First, let me vouch for the fact that the Funeral Consumers Alliance is on the up-and-up. You have been a trusted source of information about the funeral industry for years, and it has always been a pleasure talking with you.

Second: On one hand, I'm sorry you have been "buried" with orders, and on the other, I'm very pleased. I am sure that once the readers who ordered kits receive them, they will prove to be useful.

Third: You need some more help in filling those orders! If you've run out of volunteers, consider hiring some temps. We both work in the service of others -- and there are important needs to be met.

DEAR ABBY: My husband wants me to start my own business because he hates paying the government four months of his salary. I don't think I'm cut out to be a businesswoman. How can I stop him from hassling me about it? -- NOT AN ENTREPRENEUR IN FLORIDA

DEAR NOT: What makes your husband think business owners need not pay a fair share of taxes to the government? Starting your own business would not excuse you (and him) from that responsibility.

Visit the nearest Small Business Administration office (it is listed in the phone book) and obtain guidelines for small businesses. Then show your husband how much tax responsibility a business owner must shoulder.

Also make a list of the benefits he reaps as a taxpayer, such as good highways, Social Security, education, fire- fighting, police protection, military readiness to ensure our freedom, etc. Your husband seems to be a person who takes these benefits for granted. Perhaps your research and the list will clue your husband in to the facts of life.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in a two-booklet set. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $7.90 per set ($9 per set in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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