Dear Mary

Dear Mary: Help! Wet wipes keep blocking the drains at our caravan park

Plus: Should I support my son's plan for a bungee-jumping business?

3 May 2014

9:00 AM

3 May 2014

9:00 AM

Q. My sister and I own a popular caravan park which, for 30 years, has given happiness to around a hundred caravan owners a week. Over the past three years, however, our small profit has turned into a loss due to the craze for wet wipes, by which I mean facial cleansing wipes and baby wipes. They block the drains and cost us £7,000 every five months in cesspit rebuilding costs. No amount of pleading to the punters not to put them down the loos has any effect. As a consequence we are going to have to close the park unless, Mary, you can think of a solution?
— Name and address withheld

A. Money talks, so why not catch the punters’ attention by advertising a 10 per cent discount for those caravan owners who will sign a legally binding agreement not to bring the blocking type of wet wipes to the site? These punters must agree to a searching protocol. Contrast this with a 20 per cent ‘freedom to block’ surcharge for those who want to continue using the wipes, alongside an agreement to be personally liable for the cesspit-rebuilding costs appertaining to DNA-sampled wipes which can be traced to their own bottoms or faces. Forcing them to think about these issues will soon bring the punters to their senses.

Q. My graduate godson has been trying to find work for two years without success. He is just sitting around in Clapham all day gaming. Now he thinks he would like to set up a bungee-jumping operation in Nepal as he saw from his gap year experiences that this would be a definite goer — and he has asked me to fund the operation. Not only do I dislike the risk factor, but it seems a bit of a slacker option to me. What do you say, Mary?
— I.S., London SW7

A. The boy clearly has a head for heights, so let him show whether or not he has entrepreneurial spirit by first doing a test run in London as a window cleaner. If he proves successful and competent at this — and there is limitless demand for window cleaners in London — then you might take his proposal seriously.

Q. A friend rings me every morning when I am trying to think and when I say I am really too busy to talk, she replies, ‘You should relax more.’ How can I stop this without causing offence? She is very needy.
— Name and address withheld

A. Take control of the situation and ring her yourself every morning. Use her as a sounding board to think through your various chores of the day, but only stay on for three or four minutes. The fact that you instigated the call will reassure her that you still like her, and the formula of a little and often should be enough to satisfy her.

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