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Dear Ann Landers,
My in-laws are nice people, but they cannot seem to be on time for anything. Last Saturday, they showed up two hours late for dinner. They made the usual tiresome excuses, but there were no apologies, and I know it will happen again before long. My wife gets annoyed, but she would never confront her parents. They are extremely sensitive to criticism and sulk if anyone expresses disapproval of their behavior. I don't want to be the bad guy, but this is getting to me. You've always said, "No one can take advantage of you without your permission." How can I handle this without starting a major family feud? -- Too Many Times in Kentucky

Dear Kentucky,
Hold up dinner exactly 30 minutes by the clock, and then start eating, whether they are there or not. Leave their dinners on the table -- don't reheat anything. I'll bet after this happens once or twice, they will be on time.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Debra's Comment
Okay - allow them the 30 minutes then start eating without them. Try for a second time and if they are late again confront them. They are adults and should know how to behave and if not should be told. They are not that "special!"

Reader Comment
These rude people "sulk" when they don't get their way? Forget about leaving dinner on the table. I would sit down at the agreed upon dinner hour, eat my dinner, put the food away and completely clean the kitchen. When these boobs show up two hours late, I would say: "Oh, we're so sorry you couldn't make it for dinner. We finished quite awhile ago. Maybe you can make it next week?" If they sulk, tough beans. No one needs to allow consistently rude people to punish them.

shoegal55's Comment
chronic tardiness is passive-aggressive. It's a choice, as they most certainly are not two hours late to work. Do not make excuses for these people and do not change plans to accommodate them.

Reader Comment
Start getting reservations for a restaurant. And then don't wait for them.
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, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet; a happy marriage has the tranquillity of a lovely sunset."
-Ann Landers