Q. I have been horribly caught out with no one to blame but myself. I was sent a large electric blanket coat of the sort you can sit in on a sofa watching television. My family and I all thought it was hideous but I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the person who kindly gave it to me and wrote a suitably grateful thank-you letter, saying we had been using it nonstop. We had looked it up online and, because it was quite expensive, my daughter said she would return it to the shop in Oxford Street and get me a credit to spend there. When I opened the envelope she returned with I saw there had been a misunderstanding and inside was not a credit note as such, but a printout of a confirmation that the electric coat had been returned to the shop as ‘unsuitable’ and the refund credited to the account of my friend. Mary, can you help?
– Name and address withheld
A. How about sending a breezy follow-up note to your benefactor saying words to the effect of: ‘By the way, the shop sent two electric coats rather than one – it was obviously a packing error and, though it was tempting to keep the second one, my daughter brought it back to the shop. Can you make sure they refunded your account?’
Q. I have a mother and adult daughter who come to my zumba class. After some time away they have come back, but the daughter is much larger than she used to be. I believe she might be pregnant, but don’t want to ask for fear of insulting her if it’s merely weight gain. She is jumping around as much as she ever did, so I really should find out for health and safety reasons.