My teen grandson was helping out the family by working the Goleta Pier location of our family bait & tackle business, Hook, Line & Sinker. It was a good day to be on the pier and people were fishing or strolling on the pier from one end to the other. Goleta Beach Pier is a special place in a gorgeous location — Goleta Bay.
A family of mom, pop and young kid came up to the counter and wanted to buy some hooks, weights and a Twix candy bar for the youngster. The pop handed my grandson his credit card. While running the transaction, the kid reached up onto the counter for the Twix bar. He unwrapped it and began eating it.
The credit card transaction was declined, and my grandson put the credit card on the counter and asked if the couple had another card or wanted to pay cash. The pop picked up the card and the three of them walked away with the kid still eating the unpaid Twix bar.
My grandson called out to them that they needed to pay for the candy bar, but they ignored him and went back to their fishing spot.
My grandson called me and exclaimed, “Grandad, can you call the cops right now?”
I told him sure, anyone can call the police if they need to, and I asked why he wanted me to make the call. He told me what happened, and I could hear in his voice how upset he was at being robbed and taken advantage of.
I felt he had the heart of the matter correct when he finished with, “I can’t believe they taught their kid it’s okay to steal like that.”
I explained to him that police officers make about $30 to $50 an hour and spending a half hour on a stolen Twix bar may not be the best use of their time.
I told him that if a park ranger comes out on the pier he can tell the ranger what happened, but the Twix bar is lost and a kid learned a terrible lesson about life’s choices and what code of honor to live by. I explained that for a retail operation, this will be considered a regrettable but acceptable loss and we’ll take it off our taxes.
It is a tough lesson for my teen grandson — who has been taught to live by an old code of honor — to suffer this affront. But my heart most goes out to the young kid whose parents taught him a horrible lesson.
It may be the parents knew the credit card would be declined, or maybe they didn’t. It may be they had a little cash they could have paid with, or maybe they didn’t.
A better lesson to teach their kid would have been to admit they had no money and offer to do something for the shop to earn the candy bar their kid was eating. As for my grandson, he learned a lesson and I doubt he’ll be so trusting as to allow consumption before the transaction is complete.
Is this making a mountain out of a mole hill? That point can be argued, but an old code of ethics teaches that whether it be a bar of candy or a bar of gold, the value of honesty remains the same.
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.