Watch this TV Commercial: An 8 year old boy, trick or treating, comes upon a basket of candy with a sign saying “Please take one only.” He takes one piece of candy. Next up the walk is a little girl, maybe age 4. She takes a whole bunch of candy. Boy: “The sign says to take one only”. Girl: “I can’t read”. Whereupon, the girl skips along her merry way with lots of candy. Close up final shot- The boy stands there with his one piece of candy, looking like a schmuck, feeling like he is being punished for obeying the rules. The tag- line- Buy Walmart. Funny, right? Ha ha. The little boy is the sucker, the little girl the winner. Now that she actually knows the rules, she feels free to ignore them because she has the excuse of not being able to read. Is her excuse really a defense? As a lawyer, I can tell you it certainly does not work that way in our criminal justice system. Not only is actual ignorance not a defense, but in this case the little girl knew the rule but flouted it anyway. But forget about the law, let’s talk ethics here. Let’s talk about the right thing to do, vs. the thing that you can get away with doing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mZiu3C_5Xg . I’ve read the comments. “The commercial is funny, get a life…” It is usually really funny to see other people look like fools. But is it really funny to see a kid look like a fool? Is that the message Walmart wants to send?
Then the conversation morphed, as they so often do. We discussed today’s Halloween parents. The perennial tag-alongs, the ones who can’t cut that umbilical cord and then complain that their kids are too dependent on them. I found out that some parents actually carry their own bags for candy. Their own bags! I was speechless, a true rarity. Apparently, there are others who tote newborns and young toddlers on the trick or treating trail. Last time I checked, infants weren’t dining out on Snickers. The phenomenon of adults crying for their lost youth, lost in the excitement of free candy, would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. Sad, and also disgusting. Tomorrow night for Halloween this family will hand out the goodies as usual. Reese’s, Skittles and whatever else I can buy that I won’t eat myself. Reese’s is the big temptation, but I am passing the extras on to my son. The same son who, incidentally, would have been the first to grab the entire bowl of candy without even a second thought. Who said we goody-goody parents have children that listen to us anyway? Not I.