DEAR ABBY: Every year I receive baked goods from a friend who lives across the country. They are petrified by the time they arrive. About the same time, I get food baskets containing highly processed food and waxy chocolate candies (heart attack inducers, I call them) by mail-order from several family members. I have never eaten this kind of food. I throw it all right in the trash.
It bothers me to be wasteful, but I don't want the stuff, and it's not suitable to give to a shelter. I have asked repeatedly that any gifts to me be donations to charities of their choice. It doesn't matter what I say; I keep getting stuff I don't want.
Any ideas how I can get my message across without being perceived as rude or ungrateful? -- PIQUED IN PALM DESERT
DEAR PIQUED: You have already gotten your message across. Your friend and family members have chosen to ignore it. Your name is probably part of a long list that is routinely submitted to these mail-order companies every year -- and removing it may take more effort than these people are willing to exert.
Even though you have never eaten "this kind of food," plenty of others do. Rather than letting it go to waste, offer it to friends, neighbors and co-workers. Don't just throw it away.