Karma Cleanser - May 25 2005

?Dear Karma Cleanser:
?I frequent an all-you-can-eat diner where, because of a confused interior layout, it's possible to load up trays of delectable goodies and nip out of line before paying a penny.

The restaurant is part of a large, highly profitable chain that employs marginal, low-paid hourly labor and no doubt relies on a mix of exploitation and fear to ensure employee production and retention. I have watched with disgust the way management, mostly self-righteous Christian types, treats the work force. After witnessing a particularly offensive display, I resolved to no longer pay for my meal but instead redirect this wealth creation by giving a much larger tip to the poor, oppressed minions bussing the tables.

The waitstaff is now always delighted to see me, calling out greetings in a number of foreign tongues on my arrival, making me feel like something of a celebrity. I like to think they know what I'm doing and are proud of me. As yet, I'm consoling myself that I'm doing what Jesus would do. Well, if not Jesus, perhaps at least Marx! Please just reassure me that all is right in my dining world.
?— Eat/Run

To assume that the restaurant's foreign-born waitstaff knows about your scheme and silently approves is to indulge in a particularly insidious form of racism. Sure, their situation may be desperate, but it's no grounds for you to rationalize what amounts to robbery. If more customers assumed your approach, the diner itself would soon tank, leaving your intended charity cases in an even more dire situation.

Dear Karma Cleanser:
?On Saturday, my friend "Phil" came over to my apartment in tears. He?and his boyfriend "Paul" had just broken up. They only dated for six?months and we had all guessed that it would not last long because Paul?is an exchange student from Britain and only here for a short period.?I did my best to comfort Phil and he seemed to be better when he left.?The next night Paul told me his side of the story. He confirmed that?he did not want to get too involved because he was leaving the?country. I did not expect it to happen, but we wound up sleeping?together.

Later I hung out with Phil again. He did not mention Paul and I did?not bring it up. I felt bad but I didn't want to risk our friendship.?After all, Paul will be gone shortly and it won't matter. Now it's?been a few days and I am pretty sure that Phil knows what happened. I?don't want to confess but I'm also feeling guilty now. I don't want my?dating karma to be screwed up. Is that so wrong?
?— A Small Taste of Britain

Sometimes casual sex just after a break-up can help heal the?heartache. But you weren't doing this for Phil's sake. You were doing?it for yourself. Not telling your "friend" about the indiscretion?makes us wonder if all your actions are determined by your loins and?not your brain. What you have with Paul is not a friendship at all;?he's just set decoration for your own vanity. You should come clean?to both parties and accept the consequences the British way: with a?stiff upper lip.