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by Abigail Van Buren

Open Wallet at Cash Register May Give Too Much Away

DEAR ABBY: I own a very busy neighborhood retail newsstand/convenience store. We serve a few hundred customers a day -- more men than women, for some reason. While our male customers generally dig into their pockets for bills or coins when paying, women usually bring out their wallets and open them to get cash. This is a dangerous practice.

When women open their wallets and reveal credit cards and the driver's license in the window pocket, I get a good look at personal information -- as do customers standing beside or behind them. It may take only a few seconds to get money out of the wallet, but it takes me less time to read their names and addresses.

It may seem like a reasonable place to keep your license in order to find it quickly should an officer ask for it, but most officers ask that the license be removed from the wallet anyway. I have made my family and friends aware of the danger, and have moved my wife's license to a safer location in her wallet.

I am reluctant to point out this danger to my customers because they may feel "funny" about my noticing. However, I worry that someone who is unstable or dangerous may obtain names and addresses -- and then who knows what will happen?

I propose that women put a favorite photo in the display window of their wallets -- or better yet, a photo of a very large male. That sends a safer message. -- RICH FROM LUCKY STOP, NORTH BABYLON, N.Y.

DEAR RICH: Great idea. And if the woman has no husband, boyfriend, son, uncle or male friend, a picture of a German shepherd with teeth exposed should suffice. Or perhaps women should carry a small coin purse with a few dollars in it and leave the wallets safely out of sight in their purses.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing about the letter from Marva Boehm Mason concerning adopted children. I agree with her 100 percent. When you're adopted, you know you were wanted. I often hear people refer to children as "adopted." It's an unnecessary label.

Some birth children wish they had the love and attention that some adopted children get. Mrs. Mason's parents were kind and loving, and let her know that she was special.

Some natural-born children find out that they were "accidents" -- that their parents weren't ready for them. They are constantly reminded that they are an intrusion into their parents' lives.

Television and print media are guilty of using the term "adopted," referring to a certain actor's children as "so-and-so's ADOPTED children." They are his or her children, period! It is cruel for society to create distinctions between children. It is because of labels like these that adoptees go in search of their "real" parents, instead of realizing that the people who loved them, fed them, nurtured them and made them productive members of society are their "real" parents.

The individuals who gave them up are the ones who lose. For whatever reason, they were denied the pleasure of seeing a delightful child grow into a fine adult.

May God bless all those who open their hearts to adopt babies and give them a loving home. -- MARILYN BOZEMAN, CHICAGO

DEAR MARILYN: And God bless those mothers who placed their babies for adoption in order to give them a better home than they (the birth mothers) could provide.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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