Music Store With Kids
QUESTION 52: MUSIC STORE WITH KIDS
The Barnes and Noble bookstore has a music section where you
can listen to CD's with earphones. Can I take the family
there (including little kids) to listen, if I have no
intention of buying anything, and if I'm not sure I can
control the kids from making a ruckus and pulling down
CD's from the shelves. Is there a problem of chillul
Hashem (profaning G-d's name), and of gezela (theft)?
We discussed a similar question before, regarding reading
magazines and newspapers at a newsstand. At that time I
said that the company itself probably realizes that people
come in who are not going to buy, but they nevertheless
hope -- and they're probably right -- that many of the
people who think they're not going to buy do in fact buy.
So it would seem to be similar here, that you could go
with your kids to listen, because it may very well be that
your kids will say that they would like such and such a record,
and you may agree that it is good for them to have it, and
you will buy a record.
However, if you are not certain that you can control your
kids, and that they may cause a ruckus and pull CD's off of
shelves, then it really is a problem. It is a chillul Hashem.
And you're also risking damaging the store's property. When a
CD falls, generally a person will just return it to the
shelf -- without knowing whether or not the CD was broken.
And you may be disturbing the other customers that shop at
What if there is no damage, but the kids will cause a ruckus?
As I mentioned, there is a bit of a problem with this, because
the store may lose customers who are disturbed by the atmosphere
the kids are creating. . But it depends on the environment.
A supermarket generally has lots of kids in carts, etc. It
is possible that many types of stores expect that the people
who buy the most are the ones with big families, so it is
acceptable to them that big families will come and fill up their
shopping carts, and so they're not that unhappy about it. That is
also a factor. Generally a music store would be less accepting
of this situation.
How about a clothing store, where there would be more potential
for damage of something worth $40 or $50?
There you have to be extremely careful. Children must be trained
not to damage someone else's property. This is very important,
that a child should be taught not to touch someone else's belongings,
and if this is taught well, then the child will grow up to have a
sense of honesty and responsibility. Children who don't learn this
lesson when they are young often do not learn it later either, and
they can cause problems for the community.
When I was a youngster, some kids used to take out a penknife and
scratch their names into the desk. Then a teacher who had a lot of
experience and classroom presence saw one boy scratching his name
into the desk. The teacher called out with a strong voice,
"Mr. Goldberg," or whatever the child's name was, "is your father
very rich?" The kid was taken aback. The teacher said, "I'll explain
to you why I'm asking the question. Does he have enough money to pay
for all the damage that you're doing to those desks over here? Because
he's going to have to pay for it, you know." The kid stopped. And
after that no one touched the desks.
How about running up and down the aisles?
It depends on the atmosphere of the store. If it's a store that is
peaceful and quiet, no. If it's a supermarket where running up
and down the aisle is common, then the only concern is that the
kids don't touch anything. Some mothers, on the other hand, are
too excessive in their discipline.
What about magazines that are at the checkout aisle in the supermarket?
Is it acceptable to look at these magazines, even if there is no
intention to buy?
What was said previously applies here. Although a person has no
intention of buying it, what's in these magazines stirs up his
interest and eventually the shelves are emptied of the magazines.
So what's the answer?
According to the letter of the law, one can look. But be careful.
In many of these magazines there are things that a Jew shouldn't
be looking at, in which case, from a different perspective, he
shouldn't look at them at all.
NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION 53: USING AN IRA TO PAY DEBTS
Let's say a person owes money to a variety of places (Yeshiva,
the person who takes care of the lawn, etc), and it is very
difficult to pay these loans from one's salary. Also let's
say the person has an IRA (Individual Retirement Account)
that has been reserved for one's retirement. Taking money
from the IRA incurs certain penalties, in addition to losing
the considerable benefit of the money accruing tax-free
until retirement. To what extent is the person obligated to take
money from the IRA to pay off his debts? To take the question further,
would a person be obligated to take out a second mortgage on one's
home to pay debts? What if a person's investments (in stocks or
real estate) are very illiquid, and currently at a depressed
value, would he be obligated to liquidate the investments at
a loss to pay such debts?
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