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Ask Lisi: Aunts are using niece's store as a place to chat

Relatives getting in the way of the customers’ shopping experience.
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher.

Dear Lisi: I own a store (I’m going to keep it vague so no one identifies me) in our community. My two aunts love to come and help me out at the store. When I first opened, about a dozen years ago, they had both just retired, neither had grandchildren, and both were full of great ideas and energy.

Fast forward, they both have several grandchildren, are a decade older, and have less energy. I have zero expectations of their availability, so when they come, they’re superfluous anyway. However, they have now started using my store as an escape. They arrive in the middle of the day, flounce in, start chatting with my employees, and then proceed to chat with each other.

I wouldn’t mind that they use my space as a safe haven except that they get in the way of the customers’ shopping experience. How can I get that message across with the utmost of kindness?

It’s a Family Affair

It’s hard for me to come up with ideas since I don’t have a clue what the store sells, or how the space looks. However, since the weather is warmer, is there an outdoor area — even out back — where you could set up a little seating area, with a bistro table and chairs for your aunts to congregate? If your store sells any furniture, food, kitchenware, clothing, knick-knacks, is there a corner that could be turned into an inviting nook for them?

I’m just thinking that if they have a specified space, they won’t get in the customers’ way, but could add to the ambiance. If that doesn’t work, I suggest taking them out to lunch and having a good chinwag. Then explain to them that at this point, they can’t just hang out at the store.

This may be overstepping, but…. perhaps they could hang out at your house when you’re at work and they need a place to hide?

Dear Lisi: I’m having a problem and don’t know who to turn to. I’m embarrassed because I think it sounds ridiculous. I love my girlfriend and am contemplating asking her to marry me. BUT I can’t sleep in the same bed as her! She is an early morning person, so prefers going to bed early. I’m a night owl and wake up at what I think is a normal hour. So, we are constantly waking each other up no matter how quiet we try to be.

Also, she tosses and turns all night long, snores and grinds her teeth. I can’t sleep! What do I do?

Not so cosy couple

Don’t be embarrassed! You’d be surprised what happens behind many people’s closed doors. There are solutions to your issue; you’ll just have to work together, as a couple, to figure out what works best for both of you.

For her sake, I suggest she see her dentist about her grinding, which could be caused by a variety of issues, such as stress, anxiety and sleep disorders. And I suggest she see a doctor about her restlessness, which could be caused by stress, sleep apnea, or something else.

Her doctor can also help with her snoring. They will hopefully get her to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. There are many reasons why people snore ranging from a tongue-tie to adenoids, alcohol consumption, your weight, allergies, and many, many more.

Once these issues are figured out, you may find it easier to sleep together, even with the different bedtimes and waking hours. And if not, there is nothing wrong with having separate beds. We all need adequate and quality sleep to function. You aren’t the first couple to suffer these issues, and you won’t be the last.

FEEDBACK Regarding the friend with bad teeth and bad breath (May 6):

Reader – “The poor dental issues and bad breath may be a result of Celiac Disease. It is an autoimmune disease and is also hereditary. There are several symptoms and not all are digestive issues. A blood test can confirm if there are Celiac markers and if so, a gastroenterologist will schedule an endoscopy.

“Sadly, Celiac Disease is often overlooked. Too often only the symptoms are addressed rather than the root cause. I’ve experienced this with family members and seen close friends deal with Celiac Disease. Unfortunately, not all those in the dental field are aware of that with poor enamel may be the result of Celiac Disease.

“The Canadian Celiac Association have a wonderful website for information:”

Lisi – This is just one of the MANY reasons why people suffer from halitosis. If you or someone you know suffers, investigate all the possibilities.

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnist based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions to [email protected]