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Tired of gambling holiday? Lay your cards on the table

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Dear Abby: Once a year, my mom, my two sisters and I go away for an "all-girl" weekend without husbands and children. We love this tradition and get along great.

My problem is the past few years we have gone to a casino. My sisters and mom love to gamble, but I don't enjoy it as much as they do. I get headaches when I'm in the casino for any length of time and find myself spending money just to be around them. I've told them how I feel about the casino atmosphere, but it hasn't made a difference.

This year I suggested we go somewhere that doesn't have gambling, but one of my sisters insists that this is her only chance to gamble, so she wants to go somewhere that has a casino. For some of us, this getaway weekend is our only chance to see each other. If I say I don't want to go, I'll miss out on our reunion. If I go, I'll be miserable. Any suggestions? —Miffed Sis in Orange County, Calif.

Dear Miffed: An official vote is in order. State your case clearly, as you have for me. If you're outnumbered and the gang wants to plan next year's trip to another casino, ask them to at least make some compromise on the amount of time spent gambling and mixing in some other entertainment during the weekend.

Keep in mind you needn't spend every minute with them. Find other things to do that will be of more interest to you — and then join them for meals away from the casino.

Alternatively, consider making the next vacation a short cruise. Some of the larger ships offer gambling — and many other enjoyable activities.

If it's any comfort, I'm with you all the way. Gambling has never appealed much to me. I prefer a sure thing!

Dear Abby: I just learned something about an acquaintance I have known for about 12 years. She was my customer until I stopped working a few months ago. I have taken her out for coffee once a month to stay in touch and keep with the news.

Last week, after coffee, she took her time leaving the table. I glanced back and was shocked to see her pick up the tip I had left for the server. I watched her again today as we were leaving the coffee shop. She did it again.

Abby, I like her, but I no longer want to take her out for coffee, especially not in this restaurant. It's one my husband and I visit frequently. I'm embarrassed that the servers haven't been getting my tips and must think I'm cheap.

How do I handle this friendship, and how do I walk into that restaurant again without hanging my head? — Baffled in Tacoma

Dear Baffled: You may have been acquainted with this person for 12 years, but you're just now getting to know her. How to "handle the friendship"? Confront her. Ask if she's having financial difficulties. Lay down the law and tell her you will not stand for this kind of behavior.

As for the personnel who have been stiffed: Talk to the manager of the restaurant and offer to make good the gratuities that have been pocketed by your guest.

© Universal Press Syndicate