DEAR MISS MANNERS: The parents of a recent college grad mentioned that she needed a car (to drive to a new job, hopefully) and maybe related family members could pull together and find her suitable transportation.
One thing grew into another -- aunts and uncles dropped out of the effort -- and I wound up purchasing her a brand-new car off the dealer lot. I even let her pick the color. Red, of course.
Did I ever get a phone call after she picked up the car? No. Did we create a spoiled brat?
GENTLE READER: Apparently that was already accomplished by parents who taught her that if she wanted something they cannot afford, it would be all right to pressure other people to give it to her.
And amazingly enough, you complied.
But the ingratitude is amazing only because of its dimensions. All presents, big or small, require acknowledgment, despite the claim of the beneficiaries that it is selfish of the giver to expect any such return. And those people must be experts on selfishness.
But Miss Manners notes that your relative, who is old enough to be responsible for her own behavior, is acting not only callously, but also against her own future interests. Whom will she turn to when she wants a yacht?