Dear Annie: I am in my late 30s and live on a limited income. Three months ago, I joined a dating service in my hometown. I had an interview with the agency's director and almost walked out because of the expensive membership prices and high-pressure sales pitch. At the last minute, however, the interviewer lowered her prices substantially so I could afford it. Because the director did me this favor, I felt compelled to join. I was assured I would "meet a lot of women."
Well, I haven't met anyone in the three months I've been a member. The agency's database has a very small number of ladies in my age range. I contacted the few women available, and I heard back from only one, who promptly told me that she already was dating someone. There are no other women to call.
When I joined the dating service, I signed a two-year contract, but I want to cancel. I also feel I should be given a partial refund. When I phoned the director, however, she said I am bound by that two-year contract. I called my local Better Business Bureau, and they contacted the agency. I'm still waiting for a response.
I don't believe I should be stuck in a two-year membership that did nothing for me. What do you think of this shady outfit? Steamed in Sarasota, Fla.
Dear Steamed: A contract generally contains obligations for both sides -- in this instance, you agreed to pay dues, and they agreed to provide a list of available women to date. If they haven't held up their end of the contract, you may indeed have a way out, but it will require seeing a lawyer. Meanwhile, keep in mind that dating services, even legitimate ones, are not guarantees.
Dear Annie: Earlier this year, I thought I smelled gas around our property, but my husband could smell nothing. Today, I returned home from shopping. The house had been closed up for several hours, and as I walked through the living room, I was sure I smelled gas. I opened up the doors and windows, and noticed that I had developed a slight headache.
I called the gas company, and the representative showed up promptly. When he approached the furnace room, his detector started clicking very fast. He confirmed there was a leak. He explained to me that women seem to be much more sensitive to the odor of gas and men often do not notice it.
This is one time I'm glad I could tell my husband, "I told you so." The repair will cost us, but the alternative could have been so much worse. Wapakoneta
Dear Wapakoneta: People should not be timid about calling the gas company if they have the slightest suspicion there may be a leak. Better safe than sorry.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Tracy in Nashville, Tenn.," who suggested people should donate money for the care of people, not animals. She cited a story about a blind great-horned owl receiving implanted contacts.
I'm guessing she heard about the story, rather than having read the details, or she would have realized that the couple who contracted for the surgery were wildlife rehabilitators. They contributed $300 to the $1,800 operation, and the balance was funded by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, where the operation was performed. (To read the entire story, your readers can visit the school's Web site at http://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/articles/68/5/417.)
The total support for human causes is overwhelming. Let's not criticize Wildlife of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine for meeting their mission to be primary caregivers for those who cannot amass dollars to care for themselves. University Supporter
Dear U.S.: There are two sides to every story. Thank you for providing the other one.
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