Boss forces her to buy stuff for his kids

Bosses and managers should not solicit sales from employees. (iStock photo)

DEAR ABBY: I am writing this hoping that anyone who is in a supervisory position at work will see it and think before pressuring employees to buy popcorn, cookies, wrapping paper, trinkets, chocolate bars, etc., for their children's schools or organizations. This is extortion. I have tried saying, "No, thank you," but I get such a bad attitude from my supervisor that I end up ordering something - usually the cheapest item - to avoid the drama.

I can't afford to drop $20 here and there on items I wouldn't otherwise buy or eat. It's a lot of money to employees who haven't had wage or benefit increases in more than four years. I can barely keep my car filled with gas, and have to unroll coins sometimes to pick up food for dinner a day or two before payday.

Please tell bosses and managers not to solicit sales from employees. It's tacky!

- Turned Off in Pennsylvania  

DEAR TURNED OFF: I agree that the sales tactic your supervisor is using is tacky. Parents who do this for their children deny the kids the experience of doing the selling and learning to cope with rejection if prospective customers don't buy.

Because you don't have $20 to spare, you might be able to deflect the "attitude" by offering a small donation - a dollar or two - to the cause. But if you can't spare any money, then stiffen your spine and don't let yourself be made to feel guilty. Buying things you don't need is not part of your job description.


DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law wrote the following to my husband in a birthday card: "I couldn't find a card that really fit you. None of them said 'sweet, kind, sexy, lovable, friendly, intelligent, or one of the best brothers-in-law ever,' so I'm telling you in my own words. If I could get ahold of my husband's money, I'd send you on a cruise."

Was this appropriate? I don't think so. My husband says she didn't mean anything. Help?

- Shocked in Tennessee

DEAR SHOCKED: Speaking of cruises, throw your sister-in-law a lifesaver, because I think she went overboard.