Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I hope you can settle this. I was ahead of my husband -- who was pushing the cart -- in a grocery store. I found a checkout line that was less busy than the others and got in line. By the time my husband caught up with me, another man was standing behind me, so my husband stood behind him. I signaled my husband to go around the guy so we could unload the cart, but he felt that the guy behind me should go first.

Abby, I did not race this guy to get there, and I felt my spouse could have said something like, "Excuse me, my wife is in front of you. Can I go around you?"

I ended up giving the stranger (whose cart was full) my place and left the line to find another one, and I am peeved. Am I wrong? I was already in line, so I think that should have counted even if my husband didn't get there before the other guy. This has become a huge bone of contention. -- FEET HURT AND TIRED

DEAR F, H AND T: Actually, I think you are wrong for expecting your husband to take the initiative when you could have done it. All you had to do was give the stranger a warm smile and say, "Excuse me, but the man behind you is my husband. Would you please let him in so we can check out and get the groceries paid for together?" Most people are courteous and would have agreed.

DEAR ABBY: May I address an issue that seems like a no-brainer, but apparently is not? I work in an insurance agency handling financial services. I can't believe how many people make appointments and don't show up.

Our agency offers excellent service -- after-hours and on weekends, as well as weekday appointments. When an appointment is made, we take it seriously. We don't cancel if it's inconvenient or we get a "better offer."

We don't work for free, but we can't charge you if you don't show up. If you can't make it, someone else could have your time slot. If you must cancel, please give us as much notice as possible. Let us know if you aren't coming. Some courtesy is in order here. I don't mind after-hours appointments, but I deeply resent being away from my family and having a client stand me up. Thank you for letting me get this point across for all insurance agency workers. -- TICKED OFF IN TEXAS

DEAR TICKED OFF: You're welcome. The common courtesy you're asking for should not be reserved for employees of insurance companies, but for everyone.

DEAR ABBY: I started dating a guy eight months ago. I'll call him Gordon. A few months back he told me there is a woman living with him. I happen to be very much in love with Gordon. Now I'm confused about why he even started seeing me if he's living with someone else.

Gordon is 58 and I am 39. He swears he loves me. Am I being naive to believe there is a future for us? -- TRUSTING IN FINDLAY, OHIO

DEAR TRUSTING: Not necessarily. The woman could be a relative or a platonic friend who is sharing expenses. Ask Gordon if the three of you can have dinner together -- perhaps at his place -- and find out for yourself.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)