Sick of Talking Shop at Parties
Dear Margo: I’m experiencing a problem I assume other medical professionals experience. I’m a graduate student in a medicinal chemistry and drug design program, but I’m considering telling people I’ve just met that I clean houses for a living. Don’t get me wrong, I love and am proud of what I do. The problem arises when I explain that my work has ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Upon hearing this, many middle-aged and older people begin telling me about the drugs they take. Often, the person inadvertently tells me a lot more about their medical history than they intended, because I know why each of their drugs is prescribed. A few times, people have even confided in me that they take a lower dose than their doctor told them to, or they don’t always pick up drugs their doctor calls in.
How do I get myself out of these conversations so that I can enjoy a party? And how do I explain that these are conversations they should be having with their doctor (about not taking the correct dosage, or not taking drugs prescribed to them), and not with a new acquaintance at a party? — Cornered
Dear Corn: The way to get yourself out of these conversations is not to get into them. Because you are referring to people you’ve just met, I offer you The Airplane Trick.
When traveling by air (mostly in the U.S., because “What do you do?” is an American question), some people in interesting professions have taken to saying their field is “geotechnical engineering” or some such highfalutin endeavor unintelligible to most people. Should an outlier ask, “What’s that?” simply say the explanation would take longer than the flight. — Margo, abstrusely
When Cost Doesn’t Matter
Dear Margo: I am a couponer who has been lucky to stockpile expensive products. My question concerns my coupons and etiquette. Is it acceptable to use items from my stockpile as gifts? For example, a friend of the family is having a baby. They are struggling financially, and the husband was laid off soon after the wife found out she was pregnant. In lieu of a gift I asked the woman to come over and “shop” at my house. I wanted to help cut their expenses so the money they do have can be used for other things. Since I have every thing from cleaning supplies to personal hygiene items to baby wipes, I thought it more prudent to help with everyday items, rather than buy, say, baby clothes.
Do you think this is appropriate? I do not want to come off as cheap. The woman will be taking home more than $250 in products that are the best name-brand items. Because of the coupons, though, I only paid about $20 for it all. I also make gift baskets of full size and sample-sized matching items from the stockpile. What do you think of this? — Coupon Crazy in Kansas City
Dear Coup: I think it sounds wonderful. It doesn’t matter what the items cost the person giving the gift. What’s important is what your friends get. Think of your cost as “wholesale,” and the recipients not having to pay retail — or pay anything, actually — makes it a gift. You sound as though you are very thoughtful about who should get what, and I suspect your young pregnant friend will have a great time shopping for free. And the gift baskets sound very festive. You sound like a master couponer, so I would just keep on doing what you’re doing. — Margo, generously
* * *
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow