The Newcomer

Are the convenience stores corrupting Sunnyside's youth?

by Frankie Potts

How about these convenience stores that are tempting our young people to smoke? They not only offer cigarettes for sale, but advertise them on signs outside their stores where kids can drool over them on their way to nearby schools.

What a nerve!

But the school district and some city council members may have them on the run as they pursue concerns about these blatant temptations.

Don't these store owners realize that part of their job is to raise, educate, police and discipline the young people of Sunnyside?


Wait a minute!

Somehow those duties conjure up an image of something spelled P-A-R-E-N-T-S, not business owners.

When are we going to quit trying to shift parental responsibility to almost anyone else?

Are these same businesses supposed to forego ads for soda pop because it might rot kids' teeth, or for chips and Twinkies because they might make kids fat? Oh yeah, I suppose so, since McDonald's recently got its hands slapped for cooking with the fat that isn't good for us. (Of course, everyone thought fast food was healthy, right?)

Who is raising these boys and girls who can't be trusted to walk by a cigarette or alcohol ad without rushing into the store to try to fool the clerk into selling them something it's illegal for them to buy?

Where do we draw the line on outlawing 'tempting' signs? Will the scanty, lacy undies in shop windows be next?

What are we thinking?

I was raised in a time in which a common ad was "Lucky Strike means fine tobacco," and the beautiful people in almost every movie held a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other. Never was I tempted to follow suit. Of course, I was raised by a non-smoking mother in a house where it was expected I would never smoke. I learned how to deal with temptation the first time mom shook her finger at me and said, "no, no." Graduate courses in temptation resistance were covered at church. When I crossed a line, I knew where the buck stopped.

Every day teachers have to deal with ill mannered students, who should have learned respect at home, and with students who fight learning as if it's their enemy. Whose fault is this?

When do parents start being responsible for their actions and for teaching their children to be responsible for theirs?

I'll never believe the answer is to ask the corner store to do a job that belongs to the parents.

. Frankie Potts is a retired journalist who spent her career working at several newspapers in Washington state.


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