DEAR ABBY: "Ticked Off in Connecticut" asked if anyone could top the account of the nervy mother who purchased shower gifts for her daughter and asked the guests to pay for what she had purchased. Well, I can. I'm enclosing a copy of a letter from "Vic and Betty" to a guest they invited to their wedding. (Betty's third, incidentally.)
"Dear Dick and Fran: Enclosed is a check for $30 for the salt and pepper shakers, which we returned today. At the time we didn't know who could have sent such a gift.
"Vic thought it was someone from down South who is not coming to the wedding. This evening we found the card and realized they came from you.
"Since you think so little of us, please do us the courtesy of NOT attending our wedding or reception. -- Vic and Betty"
Abby, when my friend -- who was with Fran when she purchased the salt and pepper shakers for the couple -- saw the letter, she couldn't stop laughing and sent that nervy communique to me. Funny? If you want to verify this, I'm enclosing Fran's phone number. I just told her I'm sending the letter to you. -- STILL LAUGHING, SHORT HILLS, N.J.
P.S. Another "guest" received a similar request not to attend, along with a refund check for $75 for the gift she had sent.
DEAR STILL LAUGHING: You may be laughing, but I'm wincing. A wedding invitation is supposed to be sent by the happy couple to special people with whom they would like to share this important rite of passage. That the invitation would be rescinded because the couple considers a wedding gift not lavish enough is appalling bad manners.
Nowhere is it written that a wedding gift must be as expensive as the cost of the catered dinner, although I have received letters from dissatisfied newlyweds complaining that they didn't "make back" the cost of the wedding. No one should spend more on a wedding gift than he or she can comfortably afford. Perhaps those who think of a wedding as a fund-raiser should consider charging admission. (Only kidding!) Read on:
DEAR ABBY: So you think you've seen it all? Allow me to share the flier we received from my husband's cousin:
"In honor of 'Desiree's' first birthday, we are setting up an education fund to pay for her college expenses, etc., and we're asking for your help. Our goal is to invest at least $2,000 on her behalf. We'll keep a list of everyone who contributes and have Desi write a periodic letter to each of you letting you know what's new in her life. (She'll do it whether Daddy has to put his foot down or not!) She needs to know how many people loved her the day she was born, and this will be a small thank-you on her part.
"Send contributions to our address. -- DESI'S PROUD PARENTS
"P.S. Desiree is also registered at Toys 'R' Us and Target!"
So, Abby, how would you respond to this? -- FUMING IN FLORIDA
DEAR FUMING: Since the invitation came from out of state and there's no chance you'll be attending the birthday party, send your regrets and a nice card commemorating the happy event.
P.S. When will people learn that it is crass and impolite to ask for money? The subject of money should be brought up only in response to the question: "What does the baby (or bride) need (or prefer)?" No reference to money should appear on any invitation.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600