Supermarket silliness

They had been for a run and called in to the supermarket on their way home so one could buy a bottle of wine.

They were both 25, the one buying the wine had a licence to prove that but the woman serving her wasn’t going to let her buy the wine because her friend didn’t have any proof of age with her.

Surely, if she’d been going to supply someone under 18 with alcohol the minor wouldn’t have been at the counter with her.

And what happens if parents are buying alcohol with their children in tow?

Is this what the law requires or is the supermarket being over cautious?

9 Responses to Supermarket silliness

  1. kismet says:

    Had the same thing over Christmas when 24 year old son stood in the queue ahead of me with a bottle of wine and some beers while I got the groceries. When he didn’t come up with ID I said stick it in with the groceries and was told by the check out operator that I couldn’t do that. A discussion with the manager ensued and eventually he decided he might allow middle aged me to buy some alcohol when I suggested the other option was I left a couple of hundred dollars of groceries on the check out and walked out never to return.

    Not sure if it is the law or their interpretation and it probably has a place with a group of obvious teenagers coming through the checkout together but it really is a bit over the top!


  2. Paul Corrigan says:

    Seems to me to be a consequence of the law, Ele.

    Checkout operators and their supervisors are not la
    wyers, usually, and so their knowledge of the law will be basic — the result of what they’ve been told.

    Therefore they will adopt the most cautious and no-risk approach, because in that way they can’t be accused of breaking the law or get into trouble.

    It will be entirely safe, even if it means pissing off customers.

    – Paul


  3. bearhunter says:

    What happens is that in the past supermarkets have lost their licences temporarily because of selling to minors. So they toughened up considerably (to the stage where a supervisor has to authorise all sales of alcohol and tobacco) as a result of the lost revenue. Also be careful if you’ve had a drink already and are buying more. Supermarrets will often refuse service on the basis that you might be drunk.
    The problem is that supermarket staff don’t have the same level of understanding of the SOLA as bar staff do, since liquor is not the sole item they sell.


  4. gravedodger says:

    This is the direct result of prosecution activities where the Nazis go to an outlet with a very mature looking minor at a very busy time and entrap licence holders. Bearhunter correctly points out the financial penalties can be very onerous if the temporary suspension coincides with a “Harvest Time” hence the ultra cautious attitude. My good friend at the Tree Fellers Arms was caught when he sold a small amount of liquor to a girl he described as old enough to be rearing her 3rd family at a busy time when he was a staff member down and the suspension did hurt him severely.
    Silly me thought entrapment was not legal, it was exactly that.


  5. I had a friend barred from a nightclub on her 30th birthday because she didn’t have ID with her (and yet the 20 or so of us with her all had ID saying we were around the late 20s early 30s bracket). If you were 18 would you get around with a bunch of old married chicks? Anyway, end result, they lost 21 customers. Sadly, I haven’t been asked for my ID for a long time 😦 but understand the worry of young staff serving to people who may or may not be 18. As for the two 25 year olds, if the one paying for the booze had the ID then the purchase should have been completed. End of story.


  6. homepaddock says:

    “Sadly, I haven’t been asked for my ID for a long time”

    I was asked by a security guard outside a pub in Wanaka a couple of years ago – not sure if he was bored or blind 🙂


  7. bearhunter says:

    “Anyway, end result, they lost 21 customers.”

    It amazes me that people complain about the evils of drink in this country and then complain when a responsible host does what the law requires. You can’t win if you’re a bar owner in New Zealand.


  8. homepaddock says:

    “when a responsible host does what the law requires.”

    It must be difficult to be a responsible host when it’s not always easy to tell someone’s age and it’s understandable they’re cautious when the consequences for getting it wrong are severe.

    But does the law require them to go to the lengths given in these examples?


  9. bearhunter says:

    The problem is that the law doesn’t give any concrete guidance as to when it is appropriate to ask for ID. It’s left to the doorman/barman/checkout operator to make that call and if they make the wrong call it can cost them personally $10K and the manager and owner even more in fines. Then there’s the issue of having a black mark against your name with the District Licensing Authority. It’s simply not worth it and too much of the law’s onus lies upon the host.

    So while half the country is decrying the “evil booze barons”, it’s bad, piecemeal law that has made all this necessary.


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