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by Abigail Van Buren

Promiscuous Co Ed Will Be Poor Role Model for Sister

DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law has a terrible habit. She tells us what she wants for gifts in the form of e-mails with Web links to things she wants.

One year, she bought a pair of $700 earrings and told her fiance that he bought them for her birthday. He actually had to reimburse her.

Last Mother's Day she sent an e-mail with a link to a site selling personalized crystal items to be engraved with a thoughtful message to "Mom." This week she sent an e-mail -- two months in advance -- saying what she wants for her birthday.

I wasn't raised like this. I have a problem with someone telling me what she wants when I haven't asked. I also don't like being told how much to spend. I think her behavior is selfish and immature, but how do I get it to stop?

My husband is used to it. He doesn't know how to say no to her. His sisters have picked up this habit and tell us what their kids want for birthdays and Christmas. One sister even handed me an ad she had clipped for something she wants on her next birthday. What can I do? -- SOLICITED IN ARIZONA

DEAR SOLICITED: How about ignoring the solicitations and giving something you can afford? Or just say no. And if your mother-in-law or sisters-in-law ask why you didn't "produce on command," say -- with a smile -- that asking for gifts is rude, that it makes you uncomfortable, and what was requested was beyond your means.