Dear Abby: Should store owner have spoken up when regular customer spewed bigotry?
Stunned speechless at the time, the merchant has been questioning that inaction ever since.
DEAR ABBY: I am a small-business owner. My store has local (repeat) and one-time customers. The other day, while checking out, one of my local customers spewed out a verbal and extremely bigoted rant. I was stunned speechless. I felt I should do something, but I wasn’t sure what it should be.
I have started losing sleep over it. If it happens again, should I remain silent and keep the peace, or stand up for all Americans and lose this customer and probably more? — FREAKED OUT IN FLORIDA
DEAR FREAKED OUT: To paraphrase a well-known saying, “All that’s necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to ignore it and say nothing.” If the rant your bigoted customer spewed was aimed at another shopper, you had a responsibility to protect the victim of the onslaught.
In the future, it would not be out of line to state firmly that you don’t want that kind of talk in your establishment. While doing that may (or may not) lose you a few customers, you would at least be able to sleep better than you’re sleeping now.
P.S. It may also GAIN you some customers once word gets around.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with the same doctor for 15 years, only requiring an annual checkup. The problem is, the office is about a 40-minute drive, longer if I hit a rush hour. I have stayed with the provider because the care is so good. However, I recently found a doctor who is 10 minutes away and provides the same quality of care. Do I call the original doctor to let them know I am leaving the practice? Write a note? Leave it alone? What is the proper protocol? — GOOD PATIENT IN MICHIGAN
DEAR PATIENT: Contact your longtime doctor’s office and ask either that your medical records be sent to your new doctor’s office, or they be readied for you to pick up so you can deliver them yourself. In light of the fact that you have had a 15-year relationship with “Longtime Doctor,” it would be nice if you wrote a letter thanking him/her for taking such good care of you all these years and explain that the commute has become more than you can now handle, which is why you are leaving.
DEAR ABBY: I was sitting around bored with nothing to do and started thinking about my classmates from 1960. I hadn’t seen or heard from some of them in more than 55 years, so I decided to call them and found all but two. Boy, was it ever worth it!
Most of the conversations lasted 30 minutes or more. I enjoyed hearing their voices and reminiscing about old times. I couldn’t believe how quickly the day went by. It made me feel great, and I hope it did the same for them.
When I told them why I was calling, some of them thought it was such a good idea they were going to do it too. Maybe others will want to consider this. Try it. It’s worth it. — CATCHING UP IN WISCONSIN
DEAR CATCHING UP: What you did was wonderful. Many people have been using this quarantine period to reconnect with long-lost friends, and I highly recommend it. There’s no surer cure for the blues — or boredom — than reaching out to others. Thank you for an upper of a letter.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)