Dear Annie: I’m 18 years old. I work two jobs to save money for college next year, one during the week and the other at a coffee shop on the weekends. Last week, my boss from the coffee shop sent an email to all employees saying that we are now required to take a daily picture of ourselves on a work camera. At the end of the month, the owners (a husband and wife) will judge who is the best dressed and give the winner a $100 gift certificate.
Annie, all of the workers at this shop are high school and college-age females. This makes us uncomfortable, but we are afraid of losing our jobs. There already are video cameras that send black-and-white images directly to the boss’s office. My parents said that they’d be supportive of whatever I decide. I really like and need this job. Yesterday, I dressed very well, but didn’t take a picture. Five minutes ago, I received an email reminding me that the pictures are mandatory. What do I do?
— Confused Employee
Dear Confused: We suspect your employers think this is an incentive for you and your co-workers to dress better. While the photographs don’t seem discriminatory, they do appear to be an unreasonable requirement for employment. Your best bet is to get together with the other employees and talk to your bosses. Let them know that you are uncomfortable with this new demand and ask whether they can find another way of getting the preferred results (like an enforced dress code).
Dear Annie: I am a 51-year-old married man living in New Jersey. My retired parents live in Pennsylvania, and my older sister lives not far from them.
Last November, my wife and I bought a new house 10 minutes from our old one. My parents wanted to see our new home. They rely on my sister to drive them long distances, so she sent an email with the details about when and how long. She also asked, “Is there anything we can bring?” I responded that she could bring four of our family’s favorite sandwiches for lunch. The next night, she sent me a nasty email asking how I could expect them to bring lunch. She said it is the host’s job to provide something to eat.
Annie, I’ve gone to their houses many times and have always brought these sandwiches because I know everybody likes them. (I’ve never accepted payment.) After receiving that nasty email from my sister, I told her she is no longer welcome here. Now my parents say I am the bad guy and should have bit the bullet and provided lunch on my own. Was I wrong?
— Offended Brother
Dear Brother: While the host should provide refreshments, this is family, and such things can be treated informally. The fact that you’ve brought sandwiches is generous, but that was your choice, not theirs. And your sister should not have asked about bringing something if she was not willing to comply. Her email was rude and incendiary, and your response shoved the argument into the stratosphere. You should each apologize. We suggest you swallow your pride and take the first step before this estrangement becomes permanent and all of you lose out.
Dear Annie: I wholeheartedly agree with “Mom” about the PG-13 movies for children. How sad that we, the American public, allow this to continue and even make it profitable. Television is even worse. We all allow the lowest common denominator to set our values and standards. I realize that someday my grandchildren will be dealing with their children being exposed to much more filth.
I grew up in the ’50s and wish I could bottle the innocence my friends and I enjoyed and give it to my grandchildren. Instead, parents today seem to be rushing their children toward adulthood.
— Baton Rouge, La.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.