Dear Aunty Social: Save-a-Penny Stacey


I am so confused.  I had been dating this really great guy for a couple of weeks and invited him over for to my place for dinner.  He commented on how much he liked my apartment and shared his appreciation for my contemporary, minimalist style.  I was putting the final touches on our dinner when he asked if he could help set the table.  I thought how polite and said, “yes, please.”  Before I could direct him to the correct cabinet, he opened up THE cabinet, and then it happened, you can’t mistake a look of shock and awe.  We actually got into an argument. I don’t understand it Aunty Social, he seemed so shocked.  It’s only a bunch of logoed napkins stacked in alphabetical order from various eating establishments as well as sugar, artificial sweetener packets, ketchups, mustards, and straws all nicely arranged in their own separate containers.  I don’t see the problem.  I spend good money at these places and feel like I have every right to take extra napkins and sugar packets etc. whenever I make a purchase due to the high margins.  After all, if those establishments didn’t want me to take them, they wouldn’t put them out.  Suffice it to say, he totally ghosted me.

Please help

–Save-a-penny Stacey


Dear Scarcity Stacey,

You seem to have a slippery situation of the senior citizen kind.  By that, I, in no way, mean all senior citizens.  I had a friend with an immigrant grandmother who grew up in poverty, came to this country, and then lived through the great depression resulting in the, “standing in the bread line” mentality held by many of her generation.  She recounted to me how as a young girl, she would go visit her Nana at her retirement community.  Nana and some of the other women from the community who hadn’t yet distanced themselves from her got together for a weekly “Early Bird” dinner. Not two minutes after being seated, all the sugars, creamers, butter, jellies, crackers, rolls, and occasional cloth from the breadbasket went right into the handbag of whichever lady could grab them first.  Her grandmother was never one of them hence the distancing.  The other ladies found her to be self-righteous and stopped inviting her Nana to dinner with them.  This grandmother was not long for the retirement community and ended up moving back to New Jersey with her divorced son where she wasn’t happy there either as evidenced by her dismay at being attacked by a dozen or so flying sharp-cornered, foil, catsup packets from his refrigerator.

Sanctimonious Stacey, there is another suspect issue going here.  During my heyday, like you, I was just a few weeks into dating a man when he invited me to his home for the first time.  On my way to the powder room, I noticed a door with a padlock on it.  I was curious about it and asked him but was quickly dismissed and told it was just “equipment.”  For some reason, I remained suspicious and after a few weeks inquired again.  This time, he opened the door to reveal a “Red Room” complete with restraints, whipping bench, and a myriad of other “equipment” I had never seen before.  I believe I had fifty shades of shock and awe not unlike your fellow.  He explained to me he didn’t use the room anymore which I actually found more curious than the room itself even though he never invited me in it which was clearly all the evidence I would need.  After all, with my reputation as the “It Girl”, I was always invited everywhere. One day, it all became very clear.  I went into his pantry where I was surprised to find a box of cat food.  Never having seen a cat in his home, I inquired about the food only to be told he used to have one.  It was then I realized he really didn’t use the room anymore.  He was a hoarder and I have a funny feline you may be one as well. 

So, Sanctimonious Stacey, I believe there are some easy suggestions to your problem;

Should your cabinet be left unlocked,

don’t be surprised when others are shocked.

You may want to address your hoarding issue,

or you’ll find yourself crying in a stolen tissue…

boyfriendless with condiments and a cat.


Love & Air Kisses

Aunty Social

Editor’s note: Dear Aunty Social is masterfully written by Shelley Brown, whose career as an advice columnist continues to blossom, as she offers comfort and a reality check with unparalleled candor. Her unique ability to read between the lines and respond with, wit, wisdom, and radical in-your-face honesty will continue to win her the loyalty of millions of fans worldwide. Click here to enjoy your favorite Aunty’s entire archives of tastefully delivered bad advice.


Aunty Social
Aunty Social
Modern life can be hideously complicated which is why I, the sassy, irreverent Aunty Social is here to help. From heartbreaking relationship issues to table manners to nosey neighbors, I always do my very best to deliver brutally blunt, in your face, no-nonsense bad advice with the wit and wisdom of a lady thrice my (none of your business) age. I'm ready and willing to solve your problems without beating around the bush. Need some bad advice? – Just click on my email icon below to send me your problems and leave your cares behind! And then come back and visit me now and then because who knows? –I might actually get around to answering my emails. Please be patient, because what I lack in speed, I make up for in gibberish.

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE


  1. I witnessed the scene you describe at the community center only it was at a restaurant. My one aunt would routinely abscond with napkins, dinner rolls, and coffee accoutrements. I can’t say that cups and dishes went missing from these establishments. I, well, I just can’t say for sure.

    Thanks for a good laugh.

  2. LOVE! This totally took me back! Remember the days when restaurants would give out those yummy butter mints? Well, back in the day, there was a restaurant in my home town that, after dinner, would pass around a bowl of mints with a little scoop. These mints weren’t wrapped in plastic or anything – just a bowl of mints, like in bulk. I remember one night my Grandmother, who grew up very, very, very poor and was the youngest of 12 (!) opened up the cloth napkin on the table, poured the entire bowl into her napkin, and stuffed the whole thing in her purse! I was horrified! I’m sure Aunty would definitely have something to say about that! Hugs to you, you talented woman you!