I had to smile this week over the hubbub about people scalping tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert with David Archuleta.

Some have called the scalpers sacrilegious.

Others think they're unethical or even thieves.

They are none of those.

They're just tacky hucksters — hucksters who, if they'd been at the first Christmas, would have probably tried to make a buck off the angels singing to the shepherds.

The Archuleta performance isn't a sacred service and it's not a charity event. It is a Christmas present from the LDS Church to the community. When Natalie Cole, Brian Stokes Mitchell and others perform at Christmas with the choir, there are expenses involved. The LDS Church has simply decided to eat those expenses instead of making the money back on ticket sales.

The concert is a gift.

The fear is that people who abuse a gift may make the giver think twice before being so generous the next time.

Imagine yourself giving grandma a beautiful locket as a Christmas gift.

Now imagine you see grandma a few days later the pawn shop, trying to wring what money she can out of the thing.

You opinion of grandma probably goes down. And next year, you may not be quite so thoughtful.

That's the problem with those scalping the Archuleta tickets. The loss isn't financial, the loss is in damaged good will. And in some ways that stings more than out-and-out robbery.

Years ago I walked into a used bookshop and saw a copy of my book, "Dads and Other Heroes" on the shelf. I opened it. The young woman who bought it had inscribed it to her father, with love and admiration and hope he would enjoy it. But enjoy it or not, he had chosen to dump the thing off for a buck or two.

I took out my pen and wrote my own inscription below hers, letting the old boy know what I thought of dads who unloaded the heartfelt presents from their daughters for a few pieces of silver.

Looking back, it was a petty thing for me to do.

But the guy had damaged my hope in human nature.

So it is with the tickets being scalped to the Archuleta Christmas concert.

Being a money grubber isn't a crime. It's just bad taste.

Have I ever bought a ticket from a scalper?

Yes, several times.

Would I buy a scalped ticket to the Archuleta Christmas concert?


And what does that say about me?

It says I may be a shifty opportunist, but even a jerk like me would never buy or sell tickets to a free Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.

Even we scoundrels have our limits.