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They're stealing for different reasons

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Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My difficult daughter is raising hell because "somebody" has stolen a blouse from her. I think I have evidence that my cleaning lady stole from my daughter. First, let me say my daughter has been a thief herself. She was caught shoplifting two years ago and recently has stuff in her closet again she can't have bought. She has no job right now. I have no proof of the latest stealing, but I feel it in my gut and she won't meet my eyes when I ask about her new clothes. She says her friend gifted her with them for her recent birthday. Her friend is very wealthy. It could be true, but I don't think so . . . I believe I saw a tiny bit of the blouse she describes sticking out of my young cleaning lady's backpack zipper when she was heading out the door last time. It was an unmistakable pattern and apparently the blouse (according to my daughter) still had tickets hanging on it. That makes it still sale-able. . . .I know I should do something about getting the blouse back, but it serves my daughter right if she boosted it herself in the first place. The bottom line is I don't want to lose my cleaning lady who is very young and needs the money to feed her baby. I know she's had problems with food before. What should I do? -- Serves My Daughter Right, Wpg.

Dear Serves: Look at this as fixing two totally different problem situations with two young women at very important junctures in their lives, not "serving your daughter right." There's stealing for food for your baby and then there's stealing for kicks or attention -- two different problems. 1) Talk to the young cleaning lady about the blouse and say you think you saw it sticking out of her backpack. Tell her she will not lose her job if she returns it immediately and doesn't take anything again. If she says she doesn't have any such thing, ask her if she sold it. Find out what her financial position is. Maybe you can help her if she's stealing for food. You're an adult and more sophisticated and can find agencies to help her out. At least direct her to Winnipeg Harvest and the food bank in her area, or social assistance or resources through Villa Rosa (786-5741) which helps women through pregnancy and beyond 2) Your own daughter needs to get back into counselling if she's stealing again, and to get a job so she has her own money. She also needs you to go to counselling with her, though not every session, and to try to work out her problems with her, with love in your heart even though you're angry with her.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm in trouble, caused partly by my over-riding libido. I propositioned my boss on a night when we were working together alone, finishing a project. He is a married guy with kids and I know his wife's priority is not sex. I'm a single woman with no kids and my priority is good sex. He went for it. Then he started getting addicted to the sex and asking me to stay later all the time for the express purpose of having it.. This morning I got a call on my voicemail at work from his wife who sounded very angry and told me to call her. I asked my boss what this could be about, and he went white. Then he got in the car and drove home from work. He just phoned me on his cell to say his wife suspects we are having an affair and she wants to question me, come hell or high water. I said, "No way am I talking to her." He said, "I insist that you deny this, as my marriage and family is in jeopardy and you started this." I hung up. I don't know what to do now. There are no other jobs quite like mine in this city. He thinks I can calm things down by denying it to her. I am a lousy liar and I am NOT talking to her ever. -- Zipped Lips, Winnipeg

Dear Zipped: Find another job elsewhere, even if it isn't as good right off the bat. Work is never going to be the same with this boss, never comfortable again for you or for him. The wife is going to be calling for you to be fired. It would not be fair to go running to the Human Rights Commission when you started this sexual thing, even though you might argue he kept pushing it. Ask him if he can give you a glowing referral and get you a similar job somewhere else? He owes you that much. If the wife catches you unawares by phone, patch her right over to her husband by phone. . . . . While you claim you're a lousy liar, you do have some experience at cheating with someone's husband. Should she get you on the phone somehow, you might say out how singularly unattractive you find her husband to be, and you're insulted at her accusation. His ego won't like that but it might calm things and save his kids from a family break-up. Better call in sick and start polishing up your resumé today.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 14, 2011 D5

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