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Dear Abby: I work in the print center of an office supply store. Often when parents of small children come in to get copies made, they’ll sit their babies/toddlers on the counter while we discuss their needs. Sometimes these children have dirty diapers.

While I am not a parent, I do understand that small children have a tendency to run off or otherwise misbehave if they are left standing. But sitting children on the counter strikes me as unsanitary and unsafe.

Would it be appropriate to ask these parents to remove their children from the counter? Because my workplace is geared toward satisfying the customer, I worry about offending a customer and displeasing management. I haven’t said anything so far, but this is really getting to me.

– Disgusted in Ohio

Dear Disgusted: After reading your letter, I confess that my first impulse was to gag.

The idea of a child in a soiled diaper sitting on a counter in a place of business is, indeed, disgusting. You would be doing your employer a favor to suggest that if a child should fall off the counter, there could be liability involved.

Tell the customer that for the child’s safety to please remove him/her from the counter. And if the child has a dirty diaper, make sure you have a large supply of sanitary wipes on hand so staff and customers will be protected from the bacteria.

Money manners

Dear Abby: After years of enduring overdraft charges and dodging bill collectors, I have finally gotten my financial house in order. I pay all of my bills, and I pay them on time. However, I have very little money left over at the end of the week.

Many of my friends have two-income households or use credit cards when they go out to eat or to the movies, which is often. I want them to know that because I decline their invitations does not mean I’m antisocial – I just can’t afford it. I have said so at times, but I hate to be a broken record.

Friends: PLEASE know that I appreciate being invited, but don’t be offended when I am unable to join you.

– On Track But Still Broke in Maine

Dear On Track: I congratulate you for straightening out your finances. It’s not always easy to do, and breaking ingrained habits can be a challenge.

The next step in your “recovery” is to keep reminding your free-spending friends that while you’d like to join them, you are not always able to do so.

If you repeat it often enough, eventually your friends will get the message. It would be better if they hear it directly from you rather than read it in my column.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com.