Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

This is a very small amount of money but an ongoing problem. I have
a friend who earns maybe twice what I do. But she is what my father
used to call a schnorrer, a word that in English I think means a cadger,
someone who’s the last to reach for the bill. She always suggests
splitting the check down the middle, even though I rarely order a glass
of wine and she always does. You know the type I’m sure. Each year
the local symphony does an outdoor concert. It’s free but if you get
tickets over the phone there’s a $2 per ticket charge. They sell out in
hours. I get the maximum number of tickets per household because
someone is always short tickets. This year she begged for them,
saying she promised to take a friend for her birthday but had not
gotten through to the box office in time. I gave them to her when we
met for a movie, saying, You owe me $4. She didn’t pay me then, or
when we parted. Is it too late to ask? I don’t want to seem cheap, but
I’m irked. The “last straw” is small but weighty.


Dear Dunned:

It’s okay to send an email saying, Hey we never settled up for the
concert tickets. It’s only $4 but I’m on a new budget plan and starting
to keep careful track of my money so I can see how much I am
spending on what. No need to send a check, but next time we go out
I’ll remind you. Also, from now on, I am going to suggest we eat on
separate tickets or split the bill based on what we order. It’s all part of
what I am called The Year of Living on My Budget. Thanks for
understanding and helping.


There’s always a chance she complains about you to mutual friends.
But the odds are that you’re not the only sap she’s had subsidize her
dining tastes. So they’re as likely to adopt your model as to judge you.
Even if they do, the word is out that you’re generous only to a point,
not to a fault. And if she won’t cooperate, order tea not food.