DEAR AMY: I’m having a problem getting a friend to live up to her agreement to split expenses on a recent trip. She (friend, not “date,” as we are not romantically involved in any way) was traveling on a vacation to my town in central Florida (not staying with me, but with other friends of hers). But, since my brother recently moved to NYC, she wanted to fly into NYC (so she could stay cheaply) and wanted me to come north from Florida so we could spend a week and go sightseeing, and then we would fly to Florida together. I agreed to go to New York with the understanding that we’d split costs. When we got back to my town in Florida and I asked her to pay for half of the parking fee for the airport parking, my friend asked why she should have to pay for my parking. This isn’t a cheap fee — it was $100, though cheaper than alternative airport shuttles/limos. Am I correct in asking for the payment since I would not have gone on this trip and, thus, not incurred the parking fee, except that I agreed to go with her and then drive her home from the airport?
DEAR FAN: I’m a bit on the fence here, but I don’t think you are owed a parking fee for your own car for a trip you wanted/chose to take. Granted, if your car hadn’t been there at the airport, you both would have incurred a transportation fee to get to your final destinations, but you craftily imply that this airport ride was (almost) the sole purpose of you going on this week-long vacation. (And yes, it was very nice of you.)
Ideally, your friend would have offered to compensate you for the one-way airport transportation you provided (it can be quite expensive) without you invoicing her, but I don’t believe she actually owes this to you.
Her expense in getting to and from her home airport and your expense in getting to and from your home airport are your own expenses to bear, at least in my opinion. Readers enjoy weighing in on this sort of question, and I will run responses in future columns.
DEAR AMY: My fiance and I both have demanding jobs that require us to work long hours. To help around the house, we hired a lovely woman to assist with cleaning, laundry, etc. She does a good job and I trust her, so I want to keep her happy. About a year ago she gave us a comforter set with matching throw pillows for our bed. It was a kind, generous gift, especially considering that she has a family to care for and is not of great means. We’ve been using the comforter she gave us for about a year now. The issue is that I don’t particularly like the pattern, and I have a beautiful, down duvet that I would prefer to be using. We are also getting married soon and I received a lovely duvet cover at my bridal shower (for which I had registered). Because she changes our sheets, I need to tell her that I would prefer to be using my down duvet and the new cover, but I don’t want to possibly offend her. How can I do this tactfully?
DEAR GRATEFUL: You have been using this set for a year, and now that you are getting married and receiving gifts, it is time to add more selections to your bedding rotation.
Tell your cleaner, “We received another bedding set for a wedding gift, so we’re going to start using it. I’m going to pack your gift to use for guests and other special occasions. Thank you again for your generosity — I’ll always treasure this gift as our first nice bedding set as a couple.” Make sure the set she gave you is cleaned properly. Get a special bag to store these things in, label it and store it respectfully.
DEAR AMY: My blood boiled when I read the letter from “Feeling the Creepiness,” the person who found it “creepy” that her neighbor visited many elderly people who had been former neighbors and were now in nursing homes. The creep in this scenario is the person who finds this sort of behavior abnormal. Hooray for you for taking her down a notch.
Not a Creep
DEAR NOT A CREEP: The outpouring from people who (like me) enjoy visiting elderly or infirm people is truly heartwarming.