Dear Blake,

When six of us women got together for lunch, one gal brought copies of her mother’s newly published book of poetry. The book was $20. After describing the book and her mother, she offered one to each of us to purchase! We’re not poor, but I thought she showed poor taste by pushing this book on us. We all bought one because we felt obligated. What’s your opinion about what she did? What would have been a tactful way to refuse?

Signed, Kym
From Forest Park, Illinois

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Dear Kym,

It sounds like your friend is trying pawn off on you, some literature that no one would normally buy. There are several ways to discourage her from unloading the scrawlings of her mother at a social function. Here are some ideas. Be very critical of her rhymes, and asking what type of illegal drugs was her mother on when she wrote them. Make corrections as you read it out loud during the meal, and demand that the editor of the book gets fired for unleashing such trash to the public. Or while you’re eating, buy the book and tear out a page at a time while you dine and use them as a napkin. And my last idea is this. If you have any children, nieces, or nephews that are six years old or under, ask her if she wants to buy one of the coloring books after the images are all filled in. Allege that this it will be a future masterpiece being hung is museums, but you only want to sell it to her for only $2000.00. If she is stupid enough to buy it at that price, then you should be respectful and purchase her mother’s next edition of poetry, as long as the price doesn’t exceed $20.00. I hope this helps.