Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Infringing On Your Rights.

A few days ago police in Springfield, Illinois conducted an undercover sting operation on tobacco sales. Six establishments were cited for making the sales. You can read it here. Now I am sure you are asking yourself, why is he bringing this up? Has he lost his mind? First of all, there is a debate as to whether or not I have ever had a mind to lose. As for why I am bringing this up, this little story has elicited 33 comments from the readers. Some are claiming this infringes on their rights. HUH???? Businesses are caught selling cigarettes to minors and the police department is blasted for enforcing laws. What rights are being violated?

Some of the comments are mind-boggling. Some say the law is wrong. Some say that the police should not be out doing this kind of thing. Some, I believe, got caught up in the heat of the argument and thought it was about keeping people from smoking. I guess some of them feel we should just put cigarette machines in schools and be done with it.

I don't feel sorry for the six who sold the cigarettes. They will probably get fired and by all rights should. I do not run a cash register at Wal-Mart but they have us take the training lessons for cigarettes and alcohol. We are clearly told that violating the policy is grounds for termination. In Georgia we are to ask for ID if the person appears to be under 40 years old. If we feel the ID is forged or if the person is possibly buying for a minor, we are to refuse the sale. If the person objects, we let a manager deal with it. I realize that sometimes cashiers in convenience stores get rushed, but there is no excuse for not checking.

I am not debating here the ethics of smoking. That is for each person to decide on their own. I do not smoke nor am I bothered by people who do. But until children reach the age of consent in their state they have no business buying cigarettes. I know that they can obtain them. However, if I were selling cigarettes, they would not get them from me.

I have no objection to police stings. In this case 6 failed. The story should also have had the number of stores that refused the sales. All they have to do is follow the law and nothing happens to them. Now if the police only conducted stings on one business that would be wrong. All they are doing is making sure business are complying with the law. What is wrong with that?


Travis said...

When I worked at Race Trac I carded damn near everyone who came in to buy cigarettes. We were also trained in spotting fake IDs, especially Texas ones (where I live. I saw quite a few and always refused the sell.

working there though I was astonished how many cigarettes still get sold.

Howard Bagby said...

I have never sold cigarettes. I ran a register in the Electronics department at K-Mart so I didn't have to. I did check IDs on age restricted materials, and had a few unhappy people as a result of that.