Finders Keepers: How do you Decide who Gets the Open Parking Space?

Q: Yesterday i was looking for parking as were many people at the mall parking lot which isn’t very big. Mind you there are two directions in which cars park, I was driving in the direction where a car was leaving on the opposite side a car was parked waiting for someone to leave. Naturally since I was on the side where the car was leaving I took the space, but then I see that the car on the opposite side wanted to get in and it started a battle where she was trying to scare me by getting close to the point of hitting my car. She had cars waiting behind her but she got out of the car to chew me out, telling me she was there first and that it was her space later getting nasty with me. I naturally kept my cool, saying sorry but I was in the direction the car left and you were the wrong direction. It would have been like making a u turn trying to get into my space as her utility truck was huge and of course in the wrong direction. Was I wrong to have taken the space? ‘

A: Yes, if you knew she was already there waiting for it. It was not yours to make assumptions about whether she was facing the right direction or not – patently she was waiting for that space. I understand the logic of your decision, but in the case of rare parking spaces it really is a matter of who’s there first that gets the space.

Keeping it in the Family: How to Remind Family Members about Unpaid Loans

Q: I would like to know the best way to ask a relative to pay back a large amount of money that was loaned to them over 8 years ago. My In-laws seem to have forgotten although it has been mentioned about 6 times since. How can this be handled tactfully. I would appreciate any advise you could offer. Thank you. Stacy ‘

A: You need to have a direct conversation where you say that you need him or her to let you know what kind of payment schedule he/she is setting up to repay the loan. This should be face to face, if possible. If not, then by telephone where he/she must give a direct response. Eight years puts it beyond the tactful level and you really do need an answer. Don’t just mention it or leave it hanging – get a real answer.

Pending Funds: Is it Appropriate to Follow up with Gift Checks that haven’t been Cashed?

Q: What is the right/proper thing to do about uncashed gift checks? Remind the recipient,or re-enter the unspent amount in your check book and forget it? How long should you wait?’

A: You certainly can call and ask the recipient to please cash or deposit the check since your intention was to give a gift. You need to check with your bank as to timing if you re-enter the unspent amount. In some cases anything older than 90 days is considered uncashable; in others you need to wait up to a year.

Sharing is Caring: In What Situations Should you Offer to Share Your Food?

Q: If you go to a friends house that you visit very regularly, and bring a food item for yourself to snack on while you are there, are you obligated to offer it to everyone who lives in the house? Please provide me with detail and different scenarios in which this answer may vary. Also, if you live in the house and buy a food item for yourself, are you obligated to share it with the other members of the household?

A: If you take a food item when visiting yes, the expectation is that you would share it unless your hostess has said specifically that you should bring your own lunch or snack or whatever. Even then, you might offer to share with your hostess.

The answer to your second question really depends on your living agreement. If the agreement is that you live there but provide your own food, then it is your own food and you aren’t obliged to offer it up to everyone else. If the ethic is, instead, that you all share whatever you have, and you partake of others’ offerings, then you would indeed share whatever you bring into the mix.

Fighting Over Friendships: Is it Acceptable for Your Friends to Stay Friendly With Your ex?

Q: I recently divorced. My best friend of 28 years and her husband just went on a vacation with my ex and his new girlfriend on the cabin cruiser we used to own together. We were all friends as couples and she felt I should be an adult about this situation. Her husband and my ex did become closer friends through our divorce. I am having a tough time handling this and it looks like I am going to loose this friendship because of it. Am I being unreasonable? Please give me advice.’

A: No, you aren’t being unreasonable, but one of the losses of a divorce often is friends. It may be that your best friend’s husband really does like your ex and enjoys spending time with him. The person in the middle is really your best friend, for she is now torn between loyalty to you and her husband’s friendship with your ex.  Hopefully, you and your friend can find ways to spend time together that sustains your friendship, even if she will also be spending time with your ex.