Dear Annie: Socializing at the seafood counter

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: I own a seafood retail business, and we have a customer every Sunday who is hearing impaired and a little slow at the same time. She is very nice and spends a good amount of money every week. Our issue is that we are very busy on Sundays with long lines, and she will take up 15 to 20 minutes of one of my worker’s time while other people are in line behind her.

After she finally chooses what she wants, she will then stand and start talking about other topics. We have tried asking the next customer in line what we can help them with, but she will still stand there and continue to talk while being in the way. We don’t want to hurt her feelings, but other customers behind her get agitated waiting for her and don’t understand that she is a little slow.

Our employees have tried telling her that they have to help the next customer, but that doesn’t work either. Any suggestions on how to possibly rectify the situation? — Confused on What to Do

Dear Confused: This is a tough one. Since this happens every week, you have time to experiment and come up with a game plan. For starters, you might think about assigning one employee to come around from behind the counter and gently lead her away from the line. The employee can have a short conversation, make her feel special and thank her for buying the seafood.

If that doesn’t work, you might consider having a coffee with her and explaining the problem from your perspective, all the while telling her how much you like her and appreciate her business. She is lonely and will look to you as a friend, and, hopefully, be more sensitive of the other customers. Another approach would be to put up balloons and a welcome sign one week, letting her know how important she is, and giving you permission to be firm in moving her out of the other customers’ way.

Dear Annie: I suspect my son may be gay. He is a gorgeous, smart, successful young man in his mid-20s, who has really never shown interest in girls. I am perfectly fine with him being gay, and I hope he would realize that. I wish he would just tell me if that was the case. I’m really not sure if he is because he seems very masculine. But so did Rock Hudson.

I would love your gay readers’ opinions. Do they wish their parents would have brought up the subject or just let them come out when they were ready? Is there a good way to ease into the topic? I would hate for him to feel the need to hide it from me for whatever reason. Maybe I’ve said stupid gay remarks in the past? (“Oh, that’s so gay,” or whatever.) I might have, but I can’t remember specifically. I am very ashamed of myself if I did.

Is that the reason he feels he can’t open up to me? Or maybe I’m just totally wrong about everything? Is it normal for a man in his mid-20s to show no interest in girls and not be gay? I feel like I have a lot to learn! — Loving Mom

Dear Loving Mom: As more people have come out of the closet as gay, you should know that you are not alone in asking these questions. I welcome my readers to write in with suggestions for this mother and answers to her questions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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