Dear Annie: My girlfriend and I have another roommate in a two-bedroom place. I usually go to Costco for the household necessities, such as toilet paper and paper towels, because it’s cheaper. The three of us split the cost evenly to make the math easy.
This time around, our roommate decided to go to a fancy-schmancy supermarket and pay exorbitant prices for organic versions of the same household items we previously bought at Costco. He even bought two-ply toilet paper that came from a recycled rainforest or something instead of our usual off-brand single-ply.
We had no idea he was going to blow the bank on non-GMO, eco-friendly coffee filters, but when he came home, he gave us the receipt and asked us to split it with him. The total cost was three times what we usually spend.
I feel awkward. He should have told me he was going. I would have suggested Costco. I don’t want to split it three ways, because I don’t think it’s fair. On the other hand, I don’t want to just stick him with the bill. – Frugal Roommate
Dear Frugal: You need to take an economy-sized chill pill. If you feel as if you are acting like a jerk about it, then you probably are acting like a jerk.
Your roommate was just trying to be helpful. Pay your third of the expenses – with no griping. Then discuss setting a budget for household items. Instead of being forced to go to Costco, he’s free to shop wherever he wants, as long as he doesn’t exceed the budget. Don’t be such a control freak. And that fancy two-ply toilet paper may make you more comfortable when you sit down to discuss this, so remember, little luxuries can go a long way.
Dear Annie: My puppy, a beagle/Labrador mix, is 1 year old and does everything puppies do. She’s adorbs. She’s a traffic-stopper. My heart melts when I see her. But she also does her business in the house, chews on everything and has seemingly endless amounts energy. She is still in training and will be in training for another year – at least.
One of the things we’re working on is getting her to stop jumping up on people. If she starts to jump, I’m supposed to turn around and ignore her until she stops. I do this at home, and it works well.
But whenever I take her for walks, strangers see what a cutie she is and want to pet her. When they approach her and she jumps, they say that typical phrase I’ve come to hate: “Oh, it’s OK. I don’t mind.” I get so frustrated with these people. I find myself snapping back at them, “But I do!” I am having trouble being patient with every single person who does this, because I feel as though every time it happens, it ruins the progress of my pup’s training.
I don’t know what to say to strangers anymore. – Puppy Parent
Dear Puppy: It’s time for you to be the alpha dog. You must assert your dominance over your pup’s interactions with strangers. The people who are doing this have obviously never had to train a dog before, so they’re probably really confused when you snap at them – ostensibly just for petting your dog.
Recognize the warning signs and stop the troublesome behavior before it starts. The next time you see an approaching stranger giving your dog that oh-my-gosh-let-me-hug-you look, say, “You can pet her, but she’s in training, so please don’t let her jump. If she does, turn your back on her.”
You have to be proactive and take control of the situation early – like any good leader of the pack.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.