DEAR ABBY: I recently went in on a gift with my friend "Ali" for our other friend, "Gena." Ali offered to purchase and wrap the gift, a nice wallet from an inexpensive store. Imagine my surprise when Ali turned up at Gena's birthday party with the wallet elaborately wrapped in expensive designer paper.
At first, I thought she had spent more of her money and upgraded our gift, but when Gena unwrapped the designer packaging to reveal the original wallet we had selected, I was taken aback. It turned out that Ali had reused the wrapping paper from a gift her husband had given her, disguising our present as something it wasn't.
Gena was clearly disappointed. Other guests who had been eyeing it looked excited at first, then confused. I felt our gift wasn't appreciated and we ended up looking cheap. I was at a loss for words. What would have been the appropriate way to handle the situation? Is this normal gift-wrapping practice, or did Ali cross the line? -- FLABBERGASTED IN FLORIDA
DEAR FLABBERGASTED: Reusing wrapping paper isn't unusual. Gena's reaction to the gift was inappropriate. Instead of letting her disappointment show, Gena should have smiled and graciously thanked you and Ali for her gift. (Remember the phrase, "It's the thought that counts"?) As for you, all you needed to say was "Happy Birthday!"