Is no news good news?

Lindsey Jackson · Friday, March 8, 2013
A couple weeks ago we were struggling with the Index’s cover story. Nothing major had happened, and the truth is, not much major happens around West Liberty. Usually, breaking news is bad news. So, on a good note, the fact that we sometimes struggle with cover stories can be seen as a good thing.

In a later discussion, I asked the editor what he thought would have been a good story, that week, for the cover of the paper. He mentioned how the local dollar store was fined $300 for selling cigarettes to a minor, but I had not written a story about it. I had heard about it, but no alarms went off. I didn’t think to jump on the phone to gather the gory details of the sale.

There is a difference between selling a ten-year-old a pack of cigarettes and selling a 17-year-old, who looks like a 26-year-old, a pack of cigarettes. Anyone who sells a pack of cigarettes to a true child should be fined, probably more than $300. Most young children are not mature enough to personally decide if smoking is good or bad. But, most children, 14-years-of-age and older, are able to identify the ill effects of smoking.

I don’t know the age of the minor who was sold cigarettes by a cashier at the dollar store in West Liberty. My guess is it was a tobacco compliance check run by law enforcement. In other words, the officers hired

or used a minor by telling the minor to try to buy cigarettes at the check-out counter, which is almost as weird as the actual sale of cigarettes to a minor.

But, I am guessing this hired minor looked about 26. So, possibly in a rush, without hesitation, or laziness, the cashier at the dollar store illegally sold cigarettes to this minor who looked 26 years old. Oh no. Now what?

Well, now that store owner pays the fine.

I have heard Taco Bell pays the fines they receive from using low-grade beef just so they can continue to use the low-grade beef. I think they make more money by selling the bad beef and paying the fines. That would be the only explanation, in my opinion.

If law enforcement really wants to stop stores from selling tobacco to minors, they should fine more and crack down on the laws which regulate how many times a store can sell to minors before losing a license to sell. But, I don’t even believe stores should be fined for selling cigarettes to anyone who looks older than 14, which is nearly impossible to regulate.

As the compliance checks continue, people who are obviously old enough to buy cigarettes will continue to be flattered. Like someone who is 46 and is being carded by the cashier, just to avoid a fine or possible loss of a license. I know the compliance checks will at least do some good for some people. That makes it easier to understand.

If you are 46 and carded for cigarettes, it is not the cashier’s fault. It is the law enforcement agency’s fault. Sorry, you can be on your way now.

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