DEAR ABBY: My co-workers and I recently went out to eat and I was put in an awkward situation. One of them announced that I had left a big tip when I paid my bill. Abby, I always leave a generous tip. I was raised well below the poverty line, and my mother's tips literally determined how much we would be able to eat that day.
The co-worker who said it became upset with me and began lecturing me about how "rude" it is to leave a large tip, especially when you're with other people. She even said it "degrades" the server.
My mom may have raised me differently than most people, but I was taught that it's OK to leave a big tip as long as you don't announce it to everyone. Was what I did considered rude? -- GENEROUS IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR GENEROUS: No. The person who was rude was your co-worker, for making a spectacle. She probably did it because your tip made hers appear to be stingy. Diners leave tips based upon the quality of the service they receive. If you felt your server merited it, you were right to leave a large tip.
P.S. I have never heard of a server feeling "degraded" because of a large tip. Grateful, yes. Degraded, never!
DEAR ABBY: I am dating a man, "Cameron," I am crazy about. We plan to be married next year once I finish college. There is just one issue that's stressing me. Cam's apartment is gross and messy. There are dishes from various dinners scattered all over the place. I find it disgusting, and I'm worried he will be like this after we're married.
I have tried to talk to him about it, but he gets angry and says that it's his place. He says he'll be neater when we're married. I'm not sure I believe that.
This seems a silly thing to cause discord in a relationship, which is otherwise going well, but I am concerned. Is there anything I can do? -- GROSSED OUT IN BLOOMINGTON, IND.
DEAR GROSSED OUT: Yes, there is. You can face the fact that once you marry Cameron he is still going to be the same person he is now -- sloppy, messy and defensive when you point out something that needs improvement. People don't magically change after they say "I do." If you love him enough to accept him just the way he is, and be the primary housekeeper after you're married, you may have a happy union. If not, put your foot down now.
DEAR ABBY: Many years ago I shoplifted a $30 item from a department store. Now I'd like to clear my conscience and make amends, but how?
I want to remain anonymous, so I can't send a check. Sending cash by mail seems unwise, and even with Google I have been unable to find a corporate address for an appropriate division. Can you help? -- ANONYMOUS IN THE USA
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Because you have made an honest effort and haven't been able to come up with an address to send the money, try to find out if the department store sponsors an activity for charity and donate to that. Or, alternatively, give the money to a charity of your choice, which may salve your conscience and do a good deed at the same time.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)