DEAR ABBY: I am an adjunct teacher in a small college in the Midwest. For the most part, my students are great, but one breaks my heart. I admire him because he has overcome some incredible obstacles. Last year, he lost a good job and had to drop out for a time. He's back now, and when I asked about his new job, he said he runs a strip club.
At first, I thought he was kidding, but he assured me he manages more than 50 ladies who, at the end of their shift, leave with their lives and their dignity. He doesn't strike me as a common street pimp, and I realize he took this job to survive. I'd like to approach him outside the classroom and offer to help not just him, but his employees. I don't want to come across as a do-gooder, but I don't think this is a great career.
- Wants to Help in Illinois
DEAR WANTS: I think it's a little of both. You are well-meaning, but may have jumped to some incorrect conclusions. Managers of adult entertainment clubs are not "pimps"; they are club managers. Further, just as not all prostitutes are exotic dancers, not all exotic dancers are prostitutes. Many are single women working to support themselves and their children; others may be students trying to pay for their educations.
Before trying to "rescue" any of them, visit the club and see firsthand what is - and is NOT - going on there.
DEAR ABBY: I work at a doughnut shop inside a college campus. There have been instances when some of them realized they were a few cents short, so they stuck their hands in my tip jar and fished out the coins they wanted. It is not out of ignorance! The jar is clearly labeled "Tips - Thank you." If I tell them they can't take the money, they get angry. Am I right to feel robbed?
- Doing My Job on Campus
DEAR DOING MY JOB: Your tips are meant just for you. What these people are doing amounts to petty theft. Some establishments avoid this problem by leaving a small container of pennies on the counter. Please suggest it to your boss.