Ask Amy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 9:00pm

DEAR AMY: Six months ago my guy, "Kent," was living with his parents and lent about 25 of the family's movies to a couple who are friends of ours.

Kent got permission from his mom to lend the movies.

We gave his friends about one month and then started sending text messages asking if they were done with the movies.

We keep asking them, and they always have excuses about why they can't give them back. Kent has been trying really hard to get the movies returned, and his parents have tried too.

Now his younger sister is demanding that we get the movies back or he will have to pay her for them.

The couple always has an excuse as to why the movies can't be returned. The girl says her boyfriend has the movies, but the boyfriend won't say whether he has them. During this period they've broken up and then gotten back together.

We need to get his sister off our backs, because we're trying and getting nowhere. What more can or should we do?

— DVD Deprived

DEAR DEPRIVED: Your friends have property of considerable value. Unfortunately for you, the burden for the return of this property falls upon your guy.

Essentially, "Kent" borrowed material from the family's collection and then made a bad loan, leading to a credit default crisis whose proportions depend on how much you love your movies. (For me, this would be a disaster.)

I'm siding with the younger sister. Kent owes his family the replacement value of these discs. Obviously, this will compel him to step up his efforts to retrieve the films from your (soon to be former) friends.

If he can't manage to recover the films from them, he's still bound to replace them or pay for them himself.


DEAR AMY: We have friends who invite us to their vacation home from time to time.

They are not good hosts.

We always bring some food and drink to share, but they don't stock their pantry or fridge at all, and they choose expensive restaurants for all meals.

In addition, they are pretty content to sit around and do nothing in a yard filled with mosquitoes. We won't be accepting another invitation, but what should we do if they are persistent?

— Miffed Guests

DEAR MIFFED: If your friends persistently pester you to join them in their bug-infested back yard, then you should persistently thank them for the invitation and just as persistently say, "We're sorry — but we can't make it."

Your friends are being hospitable to extend this invitation, and it's important to remember that, even as you politely decline.

Believe it or not, eating out every night and then "doing nothing" in the back yard at someone else's vacation house is exactly the kind of holiday some people would appreciate.

If you enjoy your friends' company, make sure to invite them to your home — you may be able to influence them by being the kind of hosts you would like for them to be.


DEAR AMY: I'm responding to "Desperate," the student with plans to attend a prestigious university but has no cash.

I'd like to offer my advice for high school students hoping to find financial help to go to school:

Get the best grades that you can in the most challenging classes.

Study, and do well on the PSAT and SAT.

Talk to your school counselor, and look online for scholarships. There are many kinds of scholarships.

Apply to the universities that interest you regardless of the cost. Worry about the cost once you get accepted. If you are a very strong candidate, the school will find a way to help you.

— Been There, Chicago

DEAR BEEN THERE: I agree that students should be encouraged to go for it and apply to the very best colleges — and then work hard to raise the money once they're accepted.

They should also learn about deferred acceptance — and consider attending community college for one or two years to start their higher education and take advantage of the savings offered by two-year schools.

Send questions to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles