Dear Readers: Welcome to 2014! We wish each of you health and happiness. We hope this year is better than the last and not as good as the next. Do your best to make this year special. Be kinder. Be more patient. Be more tolerant. Help someone in need. Vow to look after your health, work out more, eat less junk, give up smoking. Turn over that elusive new leaf. Put more effort into your relationships, and tell the people you love how much they mean to you. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Let’s start this year off right.
Dear Annie: We always have been encouraged to support our local businesses. However, there seems to be a common trend now where the clerks often ask for a donation to a local charity at the end of every transaction. I have been solicited at the grocery store, the pet store, the movies, at fast-food restaurants and even the bank.
A simple “no, thank you” isn’t enough. I’m reminded that it’s a worthy cause and made to feel guilty. Annie, I am on a limited income and already have determined which charities will get whatever extra money I have to contribute. From now on, I am going to shop only at those places that appreciate my business and say “thank you” without expecting a charitable donation on top of it. — Tapped Out
Dear Tapped: We understand how annoying this can be, but charities are hurting, and this is a relatively harmless way of reminding people to donate when they can. Of course, it would be better if the business establishments didn’t make the patrons feel that they are being hounded. Asking once is sufficient, and “no, thank you” should be an acceptable response. Perhaps you could speak to someone in management about it. Surely you aren’t the only one who dislikes this practice.
Dear Annie: I think you were sleeping at the switch when you replied to “Frustrated,” the president of a local women’s organization. She said she had tried every possible gambit to get one of the members to stop monopolizing the meetings.
Does this organization have a knowledgeable parliamentarian? Most organizations use Robert’s Rules of Order as their parliamentary authority, and the bylaws should say so. There is enough information in Robert’s to cover the subject of disciplinary procedures, which, among other things, include offenses occurring in a meeting, breaches of order by members in a meeting, calling a member to order, naming an offender and more.
The president should confer with the parliamentarian. If there isn’t one, perhaps they should consider hiring one. They should at least have the recommended edition of Robert’s on hand and learn the rules. I hope this helps. — Parliamentarian
Dear Parliamentarian: We hope so, although we also know that not every organization sticks to the rules. And even when they do, it can be more difficult to discipline a member than strict adherence to the rules may indicate.
Dear Annie: I read in your column about so many dysfunctional relationships, adult children not speaking to each other, siblings fighting, grandparents ignored or not able to see grandchildren, and many other stories.
I am so blessed and grateful for the family I have. We take care of each other, and someone is always there when we need help. I am sure I don’t tell my family often enough that I love them and appreciate them. If more families would do this, many problems would be avoided or even eliminated.
This is the season for peace and love, and it starts with me and one person at a time. — Grateful Grannie in Casper, Wy.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.