Dear Ellen...Can I steal my neighbour's Waitrose shopping delivery?

Your ethical dilemmas answered weekly, in 50 words or less. This week: What to do when a supermarket delivery goes wrong. Send dilemmas to @MsEllenEJones

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3rd August, 2013

Dear Ellen,

I got two bags of someone else's (pricey) shopping in my grocery delivery. Do I ring the shop?

Nah. Whoever has your own-brand products will be raising hell. Why make extra work for the delivery driver when you could be relaxing with a Duchy Originals rhubarb yogurt?

27th July, 2013

Dear Ellen,

Is it OK to pass wind on an aeroplane, given that no one will hear you do it?

Assuming it's of the loud-and-proud, non-smelly variety, absolutely. In fact, I'd go further: if you fart on a plane, where no one can hear you, does it even make a sound?

20th July, 2013

Dear Ellen,

A friend once told me the name she'd like to call her first-born. I'm now pregnant, can I steal it?

I can see your point of view; Judas is a lovely name, after all. Faux-innocently suggest the name and see if she protests. If you're lucky, she'll have forgotten it was her idea first.

13th July, 2013

Dear Ellen

Is it OK to take photos of sleeping commuters and send them to a friend?

Only under this very specific set of karmic circumstances: 1. The sleeping person is said friend's ex 2. Who cheated on them. 3. And has since had a terrible haircut.

6th July, 2013

Dear Ellen,

A date took me to watch an inappropriate film. Is this a legitimate reason not to see him again?

Yes, if we’re talking De Niro-in-Taxi Driver inappropriate or, naturally, Rourke-in-Diner inappropriate. If those references mean nothing, you’re probably not enough of a cineaste to use this as dating criteria

29th June, 2013

Dear Ellen,

Is it okay to take photos of sleeping commuters and send them to a friend?

Only under this very specific set of karmic circumstances: 1. The sleeping person is said friend’s ex 2. Who cheated on them. 3. And has since had a terrible haircut.

22nd June, 2013

Dear Ellen,

How drunk is too drunk at a work do?

The fun-crushing truth is that work drinks still count towards your professional rep. So ask yourself, how drunk is too drunk for Monday morning at the office? I suggest staying one drink behind everybody else.

15th June, 2013

Dear Ellen,

Should I be offended or grateful when a man holds a door open for me?

Neither. Just say thank you and hold the door open for him next time. Or, if you prefer, continue rudely letting doors slam in people’s faces, regardless of gender. Consistency is key here.

8th June, 2013

Dear Ellen,

How many days is it acceptable to go without calling your parents?

If you view this as a chore, you’re doing it wrong. Parents are the only people biologically-bound to put up with your whinging. These calls are an opportunity to offload weaker anecdotes and make unreasonable loan requests

1st June, 2013

Dear Ellen,

My favourite singer was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. Do I boycott his new album?

Join the campaign to have artists' crimes included in promotional materials, like health warnings on cigarettes. Then buy it, if you still want to, but donate twice the cost of the album to Women's Aid.

25th May, 2013

Dear Ellen,

A work colleague has an absurdly loud sneeze. Can I bring it up with her?

Sneezing is a spasmodic involuntary action, so that's pointless. But maybe she's trying to advertise impressive vocal chords? Invite her to work karaoke, already, and put the poor woman out of her misery.

18th May, 2013

Dear Ellen,

My cousin's Facebook status updates really annoy me. Can I defriend her?

The tech-savvy solution is to untick 'show in newsfeed' from the dropdown. If you want to send a stronger message, defriend. Just make sure it's a message you can justify over Christmas lunch.

11th May, 2013

Dear Ellen,

I can't help glancing at texts when they pop up on my partner's smartphone. Should I look away?

Yes. Whenever you hear their text tone, silently repeat this mantra: "I respect my partner's privacy, as he/she respects mine". Before long, the sound alone will induce in you a Zen-like calm. Then download a fake text alert app. Your dignity demands it.

4th May, 2013

Dear Ellen,

Do I have to tip for a pedicure?

Yes. Especially for a pedicure. Forget waiters, tell hairdressers where to get off, save all your money – and triple-tip for pedicures. These heroes touch other people's grisly feet for a living. It would be exploitation at 10 times the price.

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