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by Abigail Van Buren

Big Spender's Big Mouth Makes Her Friend Cringe

DEAR ABBY: Is it me, or do others agree that it's tacky to announce to anyone within earshot how much money someone has spent on an item? I have a friend who brags constantly about the amount she spends on clothing and other things. I also suspect that she inflates the actual figures most of the time. How would you respond to a statement such as, "This new shirt I bought cost me $200"? -- NOT A SPENDTHRIFT IN BALTIMORE

DEAR NOT A SPENDTHRIFT: It depends upon how I wanted her to feel. If I wanted to make her feel guilty, I'd say, "Gee, that's the amount I just donated to the food bank." If I wanted her to feel envious, I'd tell her, "Really? I just put that amount in high-yield CDs." And if I wanted to make her miserable, I'd say, "It just went on sale at 70 percent off."

Or I could tell her the shirt is beautiful -- but that wouldn't be as much fun.