Dear Abby: Friend never served but wants to use my military discount

Veteran now is reluctant to go shopping with the civilian who stole her valor.

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DEAR ABBY: While shopping with a friend recently, I was put in an awkward situation in regard to a store discount. Having served in the military, I qualify for a discount at that particular store. She was aware of that discount, and while she was at the checkout lane, she yelled at me, “Hey, you! What’s your phone number for your military discount?”

We are both retired and living on one income, although I am married and live on my husband’s pension. She’s retired from a job in the medical field, owns her home and shows up conveniently at friends’ homes for coffee and food.

I was so dumbfounded at her request for the number that I gave it to her. I’m uncomfortable going shopping with her now. I haven’t addressed it with her, and I have tried to avoid any shopping trips with her since that incident. It feels like she’s stealing my valor since my husband and I served in the military. Am I too easily offended? — RETIRED IN ALASKA

DEAR RETIRED: I’m glad you mentioned valor in your letter because it’s time for you to summon up some more. Unless you want this person to continue taking advantage of you, set her straight. She is not entitled to the discount, and you must learn to refuse if and when she puts you in that position again.

DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband always had a difficult relationship with his family. I never understood and would force him to call them on holidays, birthdays and special occasions. We divorced after he had an affair. It was ugly at the start, but we are civil now.

Following the divorce, COVID and some bad decisions on his part, he has lost everything. He’s now homeless and lives in his car or at motels. The other day he came to me desperate. I took him out of the cold for a while, fed him and dropped him off at a friend’s. I then reached out to his family to tell them about how bad he is doing. I didn’t even get to tell them before they cut me off saying they have washed their hands of him because of his bad decisions.

My ex isn’t perfect, but although he never did anything to his family like he did to me, they are punishing him for that. Should I reach out to them again and tell them he needs them now more than ever, or should I just let it go like he told me to years ago? — EX WITH A HEART

DEAR EX: If you think it will soften their hearts, contact them once more and tell them that you have forgiven him for the hurt he caused you and suggest they stop punishing him for it. However, it’s entirely possible that some of your ex’s other bad decisions may have affected his relatives. If that’s the case, let the matter drop. Remember, there’s a difference between being softhearted and softheaded, and he must solve his own problems without you being dragged back in.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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