Dear Mary

Dear Mary: How can I stop my family scoffing our coronavirus chocolate stockpile?

14 March 2020

9:00 AM

14 March 2020

9:00 AM

Q. How can I stop a member of the household from glutting out on the chocolate supply I have stockpiled? A glance into the larder would suggest we are more than adequately catered for in the event of a lockdown, but we are an unusually large family (which includes in-laws and staff) and while most of us are on board with an ethical siege spirit, two large bars of Fruit & Nut went missing over the weekend. You don’t have to be Agatha Christie to guess the culprit’s identity. My problem is: how can I catch him in the act? People are in and out of the larder at all times, so locking it would be impractical.
— Name and address withheld

A. First pleasantly address the household. Remind them that since you are the quartermaster, you need to keep careful records of what supplies are still available. You are aware of the addictive qualities of chocolate so anyone suffering from abnormal cravings must come to you and you will treat their case fairly. In the meantime, hands off the chocolate on pain of reprisals. Then punish the offender by leaving set mousetraps within the larder’s chocolate mountain.

Q. With regard to your correspondent who wondered whether gold fillings belong to the dentist or the patient, I kept my father’s gold tooth safe during his final months in a care home. Since his death last year, our silversmith daughter got married and used the gold in her wedding ring. I am sure he would have been delighted.
— M.W., Ryde, Isle of Wight

A. Thank you for sharing this anecdote which will give readers food for thought.

Q. I have recently joined a dog training club and been added to its WhatsApp group, which is useful for coordinating attendance at meetings. However, in addition to a good deal of irrelevant but innocuous chatter, we have been subjected to fairly graphic details about a stomach bug contracted by the dog of another group member, including photographs of what she has had to clear up — no doubt useful for her vet but disagreeable for non-professional viewing. I don’t want to reprimand the owner of the wretched animal at a time when she herself must be feeling pretty wretched. How can I suggest a more restrained posting protocol without seeming heartless?
— J.J.H., by email

A. It would be another matter if you were a family WhatsApp group which you would have to stay in for all eternity. In such a group it would be in order for you to prissily ask for trigger warnings if dog-mess images were to be posted. But since most people are only members of WhatsApp dog training groups for a very short time, there is no need to come over all snowflakey about graphic content. Just glaze your eyes over when viewing the postings./>

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