October 21, 2016

Businesses should not be condemned for mistake

By Tim Barnum
News Editor | news@ogemawherald.com
Posted 4/20/11


Eleven businesses in Arenac County recently made a major mistake. There’s no doubt about it.

No matter what the excuse is, an employee responsible for selling alcohol should have taken the few seconds necessary to make sure the person buying or consuming a drink was of age.

That being said (the most popular transition in the world when something unpopular is about to be said), I don’t feel that these retailers should have their names dragged through the mud, be made into scapegoats and, as some people have called for, boycotted.

But before pointing a judgmental finger, they should take a long look in the mirror.

First off, how many people reading this drank alcohol when they were underage? How was that alcohol acquired? Was it purchased by someone of age? Was there a store clerk who neglected to check your ID?

In this most recent case, it seems to me that the only reason people are speaking out on the problem is because a law enforcement agency performed a sting operation and these businesses got caught. What if the cops randomly knocked on your door one day, though, and a couple of your children/nieces and nephews/younger friends were sitting around watching a football game drinking a beer? Would you drag your own name through the dirt if they were underage? Call yourself an idiot? Question your own integrity?

While we’re on that topic, how many people out there have ever purchased alcohol for someone underage? I’m willing to bet it’s a pretty high percentage. And I’m also willing to bet that many of those who have gotten a little older, and realized that buying for minors was a bad idea, probably didn’t have a problem buying for 20-year-old friends when they turned 21.

It’s not right. It’s not to be condoned. But it is not uncommon. If you answered no to both questions above, congratulations. Now look to the person to your left and right (if there is one, if not, try this exercise when there is a person to your left and right). Ask them if they ever A. drank as a minor; or B. purchased alcohol for a minor. If they answer yes, are you going to cut off all ties with them and preach to the community that they are bad people?

Also, how many times has a law enforcement officer let off someone for drinking underage? How many “warnings” have been issued? Is there any way for this data to be collected?

Perhaps it never has happened in Arenac County. I doubt it, but could be wrong. Again, if I am, then congratulations to Arenac County. But if I’m right, and I have a sneaking suspicion I am, then it seems like the problem is not only with 11 businesses.

So go ahead and refuse to buy from these bars and stores. That’s fine. I don’t even care if you have a negative opinion of these places for the rest of your days here on Earth. Go for it. But I personally prefer letting the law handle this on a case-by-case basis (this being a legal issue and all).

God knows I’ve made mistakes, and I will make several more. I hope that my mistakes don’t bring about condemnation from every person in the county.

So, it’s fine to acknowledge mistakes were made. It’s even fine to form an opinion and make a personal decision as to where you conduct business in the future based on that opinion.

But it’s not fine to direct personal attacks against these business owners’ and employees’ characters based on one mistake that just so happened to come to light because it was a law enforcement issue. I swear we live in a time when the whole concept of “shoe on the other foot” has not only been forgotten, but rebuked.

It makes sense, I guess, as empathy takes effort. It takes reflection. And who wants to admit they make mistakes anymore? It’s much easier to come up with a snap judgment and scream from a soapbox knowing nobody will point out our flaws.


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Right/wrong verses the law are two different things. As are private verses public or family verses business. The ladder of all these must be held to high standards. If not lawyers and courts will have a field day. There are lawyers waiting for the ladder of those to mess up so they,the lawyers, get rich. You must hold businesses, the public and laws to high standards and that will keep the others at bay. If you say it is not a big deal that businesses sell to minors, watch the minor drinking in the area increase dramatically. It is the old give an inch take a foot.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | Report this

Maybe we should all pat them (sellers to minors) on the back and tell them "good job"!

People complain when no one takes an interest and now complaints when people do take an interest!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | Report this

If you use your business to do something illegal you loose that business. If you use your business to purposly do something wrong(know the law look the other way) you should loose that business and have charges from the law brought on you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011 | Report this

I think some of these people do deserve a pat on the back. Do you know how many stings go on in a year? Do you know how many times these 11 businesses didn't sell to minors? The fact is, none of these people were breaking the law until the law brought a minor in to break the law. The officers didn't see any other minors buying or drinking, only their own. Who's really in the wrong here?

Monday, April 25, 2011 | Report this

joejoe, how's your tax return looking? Maybe speed home from the unemployment office? If you're breaking the law should you "loose" your trailer?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | Report this

Whats to argue about. let one of these drunk kids kill someone in your family or my family and then let the lawyers take over `problem solved

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 | Report this

speaking of business has anyone else heard that lowes is coming to standish. I heard its going in between 13 and 75 on the 23 bypass. now that would be something worth talking about give these kids something to do besides getting drunk all the time.

Saturday, May 7, 2011 | Report this

One of what kids? It was a police plant. Again, none of these businesses were serving minors until the cops brought one in and, I won't name names but one of two of our Arenac county finest were with them. This whole sting is beginning to smell if you ask me. But you didn't.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Report this

raybob6 I think you need to take a look at the article on this site of the two teenagers who were in the accident Saturday. Maybe if one of Arenac County finest had been there to stop who ever provided these two with alcohol there wouldn't of been an article to write.

One of Arenac County's finest were trying to stop just what happened on Saturday. Why would you want to diss them for trying to stop just what happened? Shame on you!

My prayers go out to the two families of these young men and shame shame of those who provided the alcohol.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | Report this

In this town you can do what you want. It is not a matter of right or wring but who you know and who will lie for you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Report this

The accident you refer to happened at 5 in the morning. Is there anything to suggest that they purchased anything from any business. Don't lose track of the discussion. I'm sure the businesses in question are on high alert. A bunch of local people are paying wages for being set up. What good did it do for the teens you mention. Kids can get whatever they want from any number of sources. Check your medicine cabinet. My only objection has been setting up people who weren't doing anything wrong until they were set up. If cops walk in to a store or bar and there are minors being served, throw the book at them.

I love the "shame on you" to help you make a weak point.

Friday, May 13, 2011 | Report this

well I don't think they grew the alcohol in their backyard, someone gave it to them.

I hope the police have the time to do a sting every week and really keep the businesses on their toes. The businesses got caught because they were doing something wrong,and that was selling to minors. If they were on their toes they wouldn't of gotten caught.

after the death the "shame on you" is a weak point, but I don't see anyone coming forward and turning themselves in for providing the alcohol resulting in this accident. So again shame on them for providing the alcohol!

Saturday, May 14, 2011 | Report this

They were probably at the funeral.

Monday, May 16, 2011 | Report this

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