DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been invited to my friend's store's soft opening. Since this is a soft open, it is invite only, and we will be celebrating how far she has come with her fashion career. I would like to attend, but I don't have the funds to buy anything. Her store is pricey, to say the least. I saw a sweater for $700 at her other location.
Should I RSVP "no" to the invitation to spare myself the embarrassment of being the only person who won't buy something? It wasn't explicitly stated that everyone must make a purchase, but that seems to be what everyone is planning to do. -- Bargain Shopper, Sausalito, California
DEAR BARGAIN SHOPPER: Trust that you are not the only one who will either not buy anything or look for something affordable to purchase. Typically, friends are not the source of income for most businesses. The support that friends offer is often moral, rather than financial. Of course it would be lovely if you could make a purchase, but don't break the bank doing so.
You may want to bring your friend flowers for her opening. Or find out if you can invite others to attend. If you know anyone who might be a viable customer, add that person to the list. For you, allow your presence to be your support. Over time, continue to encourage others who seem like potential customers to stop by her shop.