DEAR HARRIETTE: I am doing a group project with my school about a store. My classmates and I were video-recording how people react to certain items. While doing our research, we recorded someone shoplifting. We didn't realize it till after the woman had left the store, but we have her face and the action clearly recorded. What we were doing isn't necessarily legal because we aren't a part of the store. Should we tell the store manager, or leave it be? -- Gotcha, New York
DEAR GOTCHA: It is your civic duty to share that videotape with the store manager. Go into the store with your group and ask to speak to the manager privately. Explain that your group was in the store working on a school project. Apologize for not informing the manager about your project earlier. Explain that you want to share the video footage with the store because you recorded an incident of shoplifting there.
Show the footage and give a copy to the store manager. It is likely that you will have to speak to the police and share your findings with them, too. The store should consider this a blessing. In the future, though, request permission in advance to conduct a study in a public or private setting outside of your home.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My aunt told me there is something going on in our extended family that will affect everyone. She says that it has to do with one particular family and that the news will come out in the next few months. She left me with a huge cliffhanger.
I know it's not my right to ask questions, but I am going insane thinking of every possible situation (death, cancer, divorce, etc.). Fear is taking over my thoughts. I can't wait any longer, and I don't know what to do. How can I make peace with this situation? -- Worried Niece, Cincinnati
DEAR WORRIED NIECE: I wonder why your aunt chose to give you such a cryptic message? I understand that some people feel that they have premonitions based on knowledge they think they have. But this presumed knowledge is often just that -- presumed.
On the other hand, your aunt may legitimately know some news that has yet to surface. If so, it was wrong of her to tease you with such an ominous prediction.
Go to your aunt and ask her what she is talking about. Tell her that you don't mean to pry, but you have been worried sick since your last conversation. Ask her directly if you should be concerned about a family member's health, safety or well-being. Suggest that if she doesn't want to share her suspicions with you, she may want to speak to one of your parents or another elder in the family.
If your aunt will not budge, tell one of your parents and ask for their guidance.