Dear Abby: Bakery where I worked had issues with mice, allergens, unclean staff

Former employee considers posting a review to warn potential customers.

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DEAR ABBY: A year ago I was working at a small wholesale bakery with maybe 15 employees. While I was there, the place was overrun with food-safety issues, including mice, allergen cross-contact issues and poor employee hygiene practices. At the time, the owner was working on fixing some of the problems, but not fast enough for my taste. Although he was never my favorite person, he was clearly overwhelmed with running a business and didn’t have the resources to fix the problems.

Now that I have been gone for some time, I’m on the fence about whether I should leave an online review or comment detailing some of the problems. I don’t want to hurt a struggling business, and it’s possible these problems have been fixed, but there is no way for me to know for sure because I am no longer there. Personally, I think customers should know about these issues before purchasing their products, but I don’t want to stick my nose where it shouldn’t go. Even if I leave a review anonymously, there is always a chance they will find out. Advice? — POSSIBLE WHISTLEBLOWER

DEAR WHISTLEBLOWER: I agree customers of that bakery should know there are possible problems. Rather than leave an anonymous review, contact the health department in your city and report the conditions you observed. It should trigger an inspection of the place.

Your personal feelings about the owner have nothing to do with this. The cross-contamination you described could trigger a possibly fatal allergic reaction. And the vermin infestation and poor hygiene practices of the employees could cause someone to become seriously ill.

DEAR ABBY: My 53rd high school class reunion is coming up. Former classmates have been emailing me about participating. I do not want to go. I went to my 50th and that was enough catching up for me. I like hearing about the lives of my former classmates from our class correspondent, but 50 years ago I moved more than 1,000 miles away and began a new life. So did my parents and siblings.

Today, my parents are gone, and my siblings and I are spread around the country. There’s nothing left in my hometown for me other than the graves of my father’s family, our old family home and memories. Is there something wrong with me because I’d rather spend time with my friends in my present city and travel to the remaining places on my bucket list? Should I be ashamed of my attitude, or am I “normal”? — FEELING GUILTY IN TEXAS

DEAR FEELING: It is normal and healthy to want to concentrate on the present rather than keep revisiting the past. I see nothing shameful about it and nothing to feel guilty for. You attended your 50th and touched base with your old classmates. It was a blessing to be able to do that. If, however, the trip down memory lane and the number of classmates no longer on this side of the sod depressed you, skip future reunions, concentrate on the future, and do it without beating yourself up.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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