DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Amelia," recently joined the ranks of a "direct sales force." She has asked me to make arrangements so she can present her products to my circle of friends. I love Amelia beyond words and would do anything to support her, but I told her that in this instance I felt I would be betraying my friends by "using" their friendship.
In my opinion, hosting a "party" for the purpose of selling makes the invitees feel obligated to buy something whether they need it or not. I told Amelia I don't want to put my friends in that position. My daughter took immediate offense and told me I was way off-base because attendees are "free to purchase products -- or not -- as they choose." In other words, I'm the one with the hang-up and it isn't necessarily shared by others.
It upsets me terribly that my daughter is now angry and thinks I have abandoned her because I'm uncomfortable supporting this effort. She has another successful career, so this venture is not a matter of financial life or death to her. What should I do? -- IN A TOUGH SPOT IN ILLINOIS
DEAR IN A SPOT: Direct sales companies are rapidly expanding their forces these days, in light of the recession. And many people regard it as an attractive opportunity to replace lost income or hedge against job loss. According to USA Today, there are now roughly 15 million direct sellers in the United States.
With all that "partying" going on -- the objective of which is to sell, sell, sell -- many people have wised up to the fact they are promotional rather than social in nature and refuse the invitations. I see nothing wrong with inviting your friends, as long as they understand, in advance, the purpose of the party as well as the fact that you won't be personally offended if they do not choose to participate.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "George," wears his false teeth only for church. He puts them in his pocket as soon as the service is over and won't wear them anywhere else. If I say anything, he gets furious and refuses to discuss it, even though I tell him it embarrasses me and it should embarrass him, too.
George is upset with the dentist who made the dentures. He went to another dental lab, wore them for one month, and then gave up. He also fusses with his hearing aids, glasses, etc. He's driving me crazy. What should I do? -- JANET IN OHIO
DEAR JANET: If your husband's dentures were comfortable, he'd wear them. The dentist who made them should be contacted so adjustments can be made until they fit properly. If George won't make the call, do it for him and go along for moral support.
He may also need his vision checked by an ophthalmologist. His glasses may need refitting or replacing -- or he may have a condition that should be treated ASAP, so don't put it off. Also, hearing aids take getting used to and the process can be frustrating -- especially if your teeth are hurting and you're having difficulty seeing.
Poor George, if you think you're being driven crazy, imagine what he's going through and try to be patient.
DEAR ABBY: I have discovered that my daughter's day care director is seeing a married man. I removed my daughter from that center because the director is not the kind of person I want taking care of my child.
Should I let other parents know what is going on? -- MOMMY WITH PRINCIPLES
DEAR MOMMY: I don't think so. In fact, I think you should mind your own business. People with principles not only don't cheat, they also have too much character to spread gossip.
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