DEAR ABBY: I am a sophomore in college, currently living with two of my best friends in an apartment. The other day, we went shopping at a thrift store. I showed one of my roommates, "Beth," a T-shirt with a logo of a band she liked. She took it and I went to look at something else.
Later, my other roommate and I were waiting for Beth to finish shopping. She came up to where we were sitting, and when I asked her if she was going to buy the T-shirt, she whispered that she was stealing it.
I was in shock. I didn't say anything because I wasn't sure what was the right thing to do. Beth walked out with the shirt in her bag.
I'm still really uncomfortable about it. What should I do the next time Beth does something like this? Would I have been out of line to tell an employee? How do I handle this so it doesn't hurt our friendship? Beth is somewhat immature, and I wouldn't put it past her to retaliate by vandalizing my possessions. My other roommate hasn't expressed an opinion either way. -- SHOCKED IN CHICAGO
DEAR SHOCKED: Rather than telling an employee of the store, you should have told Beth that you didn't approve of what she was doing. And if you truly wouldn't put it past her to retaliate by vandalizing your property, then it's time to face the fact that your roommate has serious problems that go beyond "immaturity," so keep your things under lock and key until your lease is up.
If I were you, I would no longer go shopping with this young woman, because the law of averages suggests that eventually she will get caught -- and you don't need the embarrassment of being an accessory to her crime. Your other roommate, who "hasn't expressed an opinion either way," should also be reminded that silence indicates approval, and this could be embarrassing for her, too.