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by Abigail Van Buren

Holiday Greetings to Troops Ease Their Burden of Duty

DEAR ABBY: My co-worker has planned his own retirement dinner party at $45 a head, including tax and gratuity. That might not be much to managers and supervisors who receive large salaries, but for those of us who don't, that's a lot of money. What's ironic is he has let us know he expects an additional $10 from each of us for a gift.

A luncheon date with 90 percent of the staff had already been confirmed. However, yesterday a flier was distributed announcing a dinner on the same date the luncheon was scheduled. Our lunch date was canceled without consulting us. I suspect it was a maneuver to force us to attend the dinner party.

We asked him to reschedule the lunch, told him the dinner party was too expensive, and asked if he would make the $10 gift optional. Are we unreasonable, or is he? -- WONDERING IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR WONDERING: Wonder no more. He is. Please don't allow yourselves to be manipulated into spending more than you can afford on this anything BUT shy and retiring co-worker.