DEAR ABBY: Boss has taken advantage of employee’s kind offer

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DEAR ABBY: My boss, who recently separated from her husband and is getting divorced, has moved within walking distance of work. The problem is, she can’t drive, and her daughter needs to be taken to and from school. I offered to help her out with her daughter, but now she’s asking me to take her everywhere she needs to go.

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I have been accommodating and have done this for a couple of months, but she has never offered me any money toward gas in my car even though she’s always bragging about all the things she has ordered off the internet. I never offered to be her chauffeur.

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I work third shift, which is hard enough, and have my own child to take care of during the day. How can I tell her it’s got to stop without hurting her feelings? I am getting close to losing control and telling her off. Everyone I know is advising me to stop, and she’s just using me. — USED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR USED: Explain to your boss (politely) that you were glad to help her out “temporarily” by making sure her child had transportation to and from school, but you have responsibilities outside of work that preclude your continuing to serve as her chauffeur.

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Then tell her that if you are going to continue driving her CHILD, you will need to be reimbursed for the fuel you expend doing it — something she seems to have forgotten. Speaking up is not rude or hurtful; it’s called being assertive.


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DEAR ABBY: Should I be upset that my grandchildren have a step-grandfather who has no children of his own and is always giving money and other gifts to my grandchildren? I bought my 18-year-old grandson a used car with the understanding that he would repay me in instalments when he started working. He did just that, and then he had a fender bender, so I helped him get it partially repaired. I made the same deal with him as before. I paid for the repairs; he again repaid me in instalments.

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Well, one of the doors has a large dent and won’t open. Now he has sweet-talked his step-grandfather into shopping for another car! My grandson doesn’t want to fix the door because it’s easier to get his step-grandfather to buy him another car. Should I be upset about this? What should I tell his step-grandfather? — FRUSTRATED GRANDFATHER

DEAR GRANDFATHER: I can see why you would be concerned. You have been trying to not only help your grandson but also to teach him responsibility. His well-meaning step-grandfather is interfering with that. By all means, have a discussion with him because Step-Grandpa is being manipulated. If he really wants to help your grandson, he should consider treating him to driving lessons.

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DEAR ABBY: Isn’t it considered bad manners to comment about the length of time someone spends in the restroom? Several times when I’ve been out with people at a restaurant or bar, someone has commented “That was quick!” when I returned to the table. I want to tell them the comment is inappropriate. Any suggestions for an appropriate response that isn’t too snarky would be appreciated. — PRIVATE LADY IN GEORGIA

DEAR PRIVATE LADY: Try this: Smile at the person and say, “I didn’t know you were clocking my action!” (It’s better than saying, “That’s because I didn’t take the time to wash my hands. Would you like me to pass you the bread?”)

— Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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