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September 12, 2008 7:34 AM   Subscribe

My little brother just got busted for smoking pot. Help me deal with a text message that just came in on his phone.

So, my little brother (a high school senior) was busted by my parents for smoking pot and, what I consider worse, buying alchohol for parties on a fake id. The parents have pretty much put him on lock-down: he can't drive, go out, use the computer w/o their knowledge, or use his cell phone. Since I've just gotten back from the Peace Corps and am penniless and living at home for a moment, I "inherited" his cell phone.

This morning, after I dropped him off at school (both parents happen to be out for most of the day), he got a text from a couple of girls at school asking him to buy alchohol for them.

So, hivemind, what do I do with this? I don't want to undermine the punishment -- it's my parents' job to raise him, and I do think he needs some degree of punishment, anyway -- but if this disappears, maybe it spares everyone some grief.
posted by wandering steve to Human Relations (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Are you asking if you should delete this text message? I would reply, letting the sender know that the phone has a new owner, and then delete it and not worry about it.

Is there more to this that I'm missing?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2008


I think you can handle this quietly with the following:

Text back

Ladies,

You have reached the wrong number. This number is no longer "insert name here"' cell phone, but unless you want me to pass your number on to the authorities (because I would assume you are underage if you are asking someone to buy alcohol for you), I'd stop texting me and asking me to do things for you that are illegal.

Thanks, have a nice day.

They will *NEVER* contact you again. You brother won't be in any additional trouble. Problem solved.
posted by Ponderance at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm confused.

Why can't it just go away? I mean, he's being asked to do something. He could easily say "no thanks" or "sorry, parents on my case about stuff" or "look, just not worth the risk any more." He hasn't done anything wrong - he's being asked to do something wrong by a couple of classmates. Just delete/ignore it.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:41 AM on September 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


SuperSquirrel Jinx you owe me a coke.
posted by Ponderance at 7:42 AM on September 12, 2008


I don't understand the dilemma you describe, b/w undermining and disappearing. You could delete or ignore the message, which is what I would do.

Alternatively, you could tell your brother that someone was trying to contact him, but not say who it was, and tell him you're sure he's not continuing to do that crap -- as a way of signaling that you know others are still talking to him about it, with the downside that it may be facilitative. Not sure what else is going on.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:42 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would reply, letting the sender know that the phone has a new owner, and then delete it and not worry about it.

I would do this, too, mentioning that this was now his older sister's phone, as a way of suggesting that this alley is permanently closed.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:43 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Chances are the girls have, by now, found out about his lockdown.

Part of me says you should give this to your parents, and leave the decision to them. They know what he's done; the question for them will become do they contact the parents of the girls.

I lean this way because it'll shift the issue to the parental level, which, based on your 'it's my parents' job to raise him' comment, is where it belongs.
posted by mephron at 7:43 AM on September 12, 2008


Seriously, mephron, tell the 'rents? If you must do something send a text back saying the phone is someone else's now, then delete the damn thing and be done with it! Otherwise, just delete the damn thing and be done with it!
posted by piedmont at 7:48 AM on September 12, 2008


Is the issue that he was busted for buying alcohol for a party, and that buying alcohol for a friend would be a separate infraction? Sounds like a related charge to me, and not worth ratting him out on. While it's possible or even likely he's done so in the past, this is just a favor request. Text back that "[brother] won't be able to help," or something.
posted by Horselover Fat at 7:49 AM on September 12, 2008


Good ol' MeFi -- thanks for telling me to do what I was thinking I should do!
posted by wandering steve at 7:52 AM on September 12, 2008


You have reached the wrong number. This number is no longer "insert name here"' cell phone, but unless you want me to pass your number on to the authorities (because I would assume you are underage if you are asking someone to buy alcohol for you), I'd stop texting me and asking me to do things for you that are illegal.

The fuck is there any reason to go intimidating and threatening these people? Because there's A LAW? Poor answer.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 7:57 AM on September 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


If the message was "Hey we heard you got a new ID!! Can you get us some more alcohol now?" Hell yeah I'd be telling (And pointing out to my lil' bro how totally dumb that was).

But otherwise... What would be the point? Duh, of course he was buying it for girls, among other people! Him being punished is why you have his phone in the first place... right? If it were a stream of messages that indicated the situation was more serious than they'd assumed - then yes. But one message from a pair of girls - erm no. If your parents ask, then tell them.

And I doubt he's gone around telling everyone specifically why he can't get alcohol anymore, you know? The loss of his 'special talent' would become apparent soon enough...
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2008


The best reason not to send back the intimidating text is that it's too long for an SMS.

However I agree that there's no reason to go all Judge Judy on them. "This isn't X's number anymore. And I won't buy you booze." does the job just fine.
posted by phearlez at 8:20 AM on September 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


If I were a parent of those under-age girls, I would want to know about that text message.

Do your parents own the cell phone account? If so, give them the text message. Your brother should not get in trouble for simply receiving a message. Your parents can decide if they want to contact the girls' parents.

I sure you know... underage drinking can lead to all sorts of bad things, including automobile fatalities. Don't let this slide. Hand it to the people in charge.
posted by valannc at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I sure you know... underage drinking can lead to all sorts of bad things, including automobile fatalities.

More specifically, drinking and driving (regardless of a person's age) can result in automobile fatalities.

Rather than establishing yourself as someone that your brother can't trust, I would say something to him along the lines of "I can't tell you what to do in your life, but if you ever are in a situation where you or your friends are going to drink and drive, don't. If it's 2 AM and you're smashed with no way of getting home other than something that involves a drunk person behind the wheel, call me and I'll pick you up."
posted by burnmp3s at 8:46 AM on September 12, 2008 [7 favorites]


Poor kid. Of course you shouldn't tell your parents. Reply that it's not his phone anymore and be done with it.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:04 AM on September 12, 2008


He hasn't done anything. Some people have asked him to, but he hasn't yet. How do you know he even would want to buy for them after the trouble he is already in? I would just tell your brother about the message and that you are concerned, but don't rat him out to your parents for this.
posted by caddis at 9:04 AM on September 12, 2008


Definitely disappear it...there's no more need for drama, the poor kid's already busted.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:51 AM on September 12, 2008


Text them back that this isn't your brother's phone anymore, and that you won't buy them alcohol, as others have said.

If it were me, I would add "And don't ask my brother to break the law for you again" because if someone wants to break the law, they should have the gonads to do it themselves. But I was always a very protective older sister.

And then I would tell my brother to get the word out that he was out of the alcohol resale business.

But I would never tell my parents, because there's no danger or emergency. Just people who need to be informed that your brother is no longer their errand boy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:16 AM on September 12, 2008


He's already being punished. This is old news. Delete it.
posted by mpls2 at 10:51 AM on September 12, 2008


The fuck is there any reason to go intimidating and threatening these people? Because there's A LAW? Poor answer.

I do not favor responding aggressively, in part because I don't know enough about the original text, and in part because I feel like this is inadvertently intrusive (the girls thought they were texting a different party, and the brother will probably resent the editorial reply).

But I think your comment is itself insuitably aggressive. I think it's easy to guess why some believe more is required: because, perhaps given the law, underage drinkers obtaining alcohol illegally frequently drink to excess, under unsupervised conditions, and engage in reckless and sometimes fatal behavior. So the idea of discouraging people who troll for booze is perfectly rational and, I'd have to say, quite obvious, and does not depend on simply reciting that such a purchase is illegal. You and I may disagree, but there's no reason to accuse others of a "poor answer" that you simply haven't understood or anticipated.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 11:32 AM on September 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


I would not tell the parents for one text. Your brother is already being punished.

What I would do is respond to the text and tell the girls that your brother is in lockdown for doing stupid stuff like this. And tell them not to ask your brother again because next time you will tell their parents.

I would also tell your brother about the text. Make it clear that you won't tell the parents this time. But next time, you will.

This way, you're reinforcing the punishment but in a humane way that allows you to keep your brother's trust.
posted by cjets at 12:34 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


What caddis said. No need for any high-and-mighty self-righteousness.

I don't know your family dynamics, but I cannot imagine narcing on my brother to my parents unless I thought he was an imminent danger to himself or others. Really- it's an appalling idea.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:00 PM on September 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - sidebars to metatalk or email thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:01 PM on September 12, 2008


"If I were a parent of those under-age girls, I would want to know about that text message. "

So?

Look, if you send some sort of "I IZ JOHNNY LAW!" text back, all that's gonna happen is that your little brother is going to have to explain what an incredible dork his brother Steve is, and possibly you'll damage his friendship with a couple girls (who you don't know anything about aside from them wanting booze).

You don't have to DO anything. You can delete the message, maybe mention it to your brother, and silently regret using your weekly AskMe for something so trivial.
posted by klangklangston at 5:45 PM on September 12, 2008


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