Dear Barb—Stolen Friendship

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Dear Barb:

I work part time in an office and a good friend of mine also works there. We have been friends for 10 years and get along great. We both applied for jobs at the same place and we were so surprised that we both got in. I am a mother of two young children and a part time student as well. Kara has no children, but is also a student. We are both struggling financially, but we have everything we need. Recently I have noticed that Kara is taking a lot of supplies home from the office. At first, I thought it was just the odd thing and maybe some paper, or pens, but it seems to be escalating.  For example, last week she took home, three reams of 500 printer paper, and an entire box of file folders, and that’s only what I saw, she definitely may have taken more items. When I mentioned something about it, she said, “they don’t need it, they’ve got lots of money.”  The worst part is that she is selling these items online, which I just happen to see while browsing on facebook marketplace. The business that we work for is a small local shop and the owners work in the shop. I feel like I am between and rock and a hard place. I don’t want to lose my friendship, but I don’t feel what she is doing is right. I need some advice! Thanks, Danielle.

Hey Danielle:

You are in a difficult spot, should you do what is morally right and lose your longstanding friendship, or do you ignore what your friend is doing and perhaps try to encourage her to stop. Without a doubt, she will eventually get caught, and in all likelihood the owners will charge her with theft, as obviously she is stealing enough items that would warrant her selling them online.  She could end up in a lot of trouble, possibly even going to jail. On the other hand, if she were to stop now, before the missing items make too big of a dent in inventory, she may be able to move forward and maintain her job without being discovered. If she continues stealing and you don’t come forward, there is a good possibility that because of your close relationship, the owners will assume you knew what was going on, or maybe even participated in helping your friend to steal these items, thus putting your job in jeopardy. I think your only option is to advise your friend to stop, and if she doesn’t,  you are going to have to talk to the owners about what she is doing.  The choice is yours. Thank you for writing Danielle and I believe you will do the right thing.

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