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By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, Published November 11 2011

Annie's Mailbox: Place a lock on your snacks

Dear Annie: I work in a small office with 10 people. We all work on commission. The problem is the boss’s nephew. “Randy” does as little as possible to get by and is a total leech. I know he doesn’t make much on commission, because he rarely gets any work done. He’s too busy on the Internet.

Here’s the problem: We all bring snacks to leave in the kitchen. Randy eats everything. But if you ask him to contribute a dollar, he claims not to have any money. He looks like he’s starving, yet he manages to buy cigarettes and alcohol and will bum off of anyone for his lunch.

I’m tired of buying snack food only to have it disappear. I have told Randy that if he doesn’t contribute to the pantry, he shouldn’t eat. How can I firmly get this across to him? – Gloria

Dear Gloria: You can’t get this across to Randy because he will ignore you. His approach to life is to get something for nothing. Those of you who contribute to the snacks should keep them under lock and key, or have them at your desks so you can control who gets them.


Dear Annie: My brother and his wife have two preteen children. My sister-in-law is a rude, opinionated, controlling, unlikable woman. She seems to take pleasure in making nasty comments to shock people, and she belittles my brother in front of others. My brother is a nice man, but unfortunately, he’s meek and allows his wife to handle everything, including the childrearing.

The children have never had any manners. They never say “please” or “thank you,” nor do they say hello to us or greet visitors. I realize they may be shy, but they won’t respond when asked a question, even by a waiter who wants to know what they are ordering. They glare instead. If we ask them to introduce their friends to us, they say, “No, I don’t want to.”

Because my sister-in-law is always hovering, my siblings and I don’t feel it is appropriate to correct them. We don’t want to create a problem. We also won’t say anything to my brother because he will tell his wife, who would become angry.

We all realize that a lack of manners is quite common these days, and that most parents do not want others telling them how to raise their kids. Should we look the other way and watch the children grow up to be disagreeable adults like their mother? Should we have a talk with our brother? Can I say, “Johnny, why haven’t you said hello to Aunt Jane?” – Aunt Jane

Dear Jane: It’s OK to say, “Johnny, I’d love it if you said hello to your Aunt Jane.” Beyond that, we strongly recommend you keep quiet. Not only will your sister-in-law resent your comments, but the kids will not respond well, either. When they are a bit older, you can stop giving them presents if they won’t acknowledge them and say “thank you.” But we hope you realize that whether they grow up to have their mother’s personality has little to do with their current manners.


Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.