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DEAR ABBY: I work as a runner in a law firm, which means I do pickups, make deliveries and do any other out-of-office tasks the lawyers or other staff need. Part of my job involves picking up lunch for the office.

Sometimes the office manager will give me cash from the firm account to pay, other times the lawyers give me money out of their pockets to cover it. Whenever I pick up and pay for these orders, the cashier/waiter is usually expecting a decent tip (especially when there are large orders). I am instructed to tip 10 percent -- no more.

Personally, I believe in being more generous because I know how poorly restaurant workers are paid. However, because the money is not mine, I must tip only what I am instructed to. Sometimes, depending on the order, this results in a very poor tip.

How can I let the cashier know that I would tip more if it were my money, but I can't because it's not? I know just saying "I would if I could" doesn't help them much. -- RUNNER IN THE SOUTH

DEAR RUNNER: Your bosses don't tip more than 10 percent because they are getting takeout, not table service. You should not feel embarrassed or apologize for them. If you are wise, you will say nothing, because to do otherwise will make it appear that you think your employers are cheap -- and word travels.

Read more in: Money | Work & School

DEAR ABBY: I'm taking my son to a concert because he likes this artist. It's someone who probably won't ever perform here in south Texas again, but my new wife is giving me hell for going.

I'm always doing things with my wife and stepson anytime she wants me to take him along -- which is often. I rarely do anything with my son. Because I'm always working, I see him only every other weekend. It's our only time to bond. He will be 17 this year, and I don't know what will happen after he turns 18. -- BONDING IN TEXAS

DEAR BONDING: Draw a line in the sand. Do not allow your new wife to dictate your relationship with your son. He may be turning 18 next year, but age has nothing to do with it. He will always be your son. If you nurture the relationship and let him know that he is loved, it should last forever.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: I'm 30 years old and have been in love with my best friend since childhood. I'm afraid if I tell her how I feel, I'll lose our friendship. Should I take a chance and tell her? -- SHY LESBIAN IN MICHIGAN

DEAR SHY LESBIAN: Yes, tell her how you feel. If that's the end of your friendship, it would be better for you than what you're experiencing now. If your friendship is strong, it should survive even if your romantic feelings are not reciprocated. If your friend doesn't share your feelings, you will then have to decide whether hurting inside the way you are is emotionally healthy for you.

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