DEAR ABBY: Our small church choir has a talented volunteer director. His wife, "Martha," is an energetic and animated soprano who has a reasonably good voice in her range.
Unfortunately, Martha sings louder than all of the other choir members, and she ends many songs by trying to reach a final high note. The problem is her high notes are often flat and sound more like a cat's scream. No one likes it.
The congregation is held hostage to Martha's screams because they're afraid of losing her husband's free directing services. How can we convince Martha to cut out the high notes?
— COVERING OUR EARS ON THE WEST COAST
DEAR COVERING: Because Martha's improvisations are distracting the congregation — which I assume is larger than the choir — your spiritual leader should have a private chat with the director and explain that "the congregation" would prefer the choir perform the hymns exactly as they are written. It should get the message across without being personally offensive. And it's not as if you're all asking that his wife not perform, just that she tone it down.
DEAR ABBY: I was in line at the pharmacy yesterday and one clerk was on duty with the pharmacist. I waited my turn and asked for my prescription. She had to go check on it, so I sat down to wait. In the meantime, two other customers came in and waited in line. The clerk called my name, then asked me to get back in line. Shouldn't I have been taken care of next?
— ANNOYED IN VICTORVILLE, CALIF.
DEAR ANNOYED: I'm not sure there are rules of etiquette for counter service at a pharmacy, but common sense dictates that the customers be taken care of in an efficient manner. I see nothing efficient about making someone who has started being served wait longer — particularly if the clerk might also have to check on the prescriptions of the customers who came after you did. You should have been taken care of next.
DEAR ABBY: Two women carrying a baby in an infant car seat entered the gift shop where my sister works. The grandmother asked my sister if they could leave the baby behind the counter while they shopped. My sister politely told them it was against store policy.
They proceeded to shop, putting the carrier down in the middle of the aisle while they browsed — leaving it unattended at times.
The grandmother bought a few items, then told my sister she might not shop there anymore because of the policy of not supervising infants while customers shop. My sister has dealt with many customer-related issues, but this one left her speechless.
Employees assist customers, but they do not baby-sit. Also, leaving a child with a stranger is dangerous and could lead to potentially serious situations that parents may regret. What's your opinion on this issue?
— SPEECHLESS IN OHIO
DEAR SPEECHLESS: Your sister was right to inform the grandmother about the store's policy. It is the grandmother's privilege to take her business elsewhere if she doesn't approve.
Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.