Be A Jerk


Alcohol Retailers Can Be a Jerk

Those who sell alcohol are on the front-line of preventing underage drinking. Responsible alcohol sale and service is key. But, just telling your staff not to sell or serve to minors isn't enough. Effective underage drinking prevention takes specific polices, training and enforcement. Staff members need to know and understand the consequences they face if they provide alcohol to a minor - from monetary fines to losing their job to jail time. Here are a few tips that can help alcohol retailers establish practices to reduce illegal alcohol sales.

  • Create and maintain strict sales and service policies that all employees must follow.
  • Give a copy of the written policy to every staff member.
  • Some points you may wish to include in your policy:
    • Check IDs if someone looks age _____ or younger
    • What are acceptable forms of ID
    • Are there times when a second form of ID is required
    • What to do if an ID appears to be faked
    • What to do if you suspect a "shoulder tap" - an adult buying for a minor
    • When and how should a sale or service be refused
    • What kind of record keeping and supervisor notification is needed after an incident
    • What are the consequences if staff fail to check IDs
    • State and county laws regarding sale and service of alcohol to minors
  • Train all staff on the alcohol policy before allowing them to sell or serve alcohol.
    • Provide information on why it’s so important for your staff not to sell or serve minors
    • Go over each and every point of your policy to make sure your staff fully understand
    • Role play how to ask for an ID, how to check an ID and how to deny service in a kind way
    • Provide refresher trainings
  • If you have programmable registers, program them to prompt cashiers for an ID when alcohol is purchased.
  • Post signs by cash registers showing the birth date necessary in order to legally purchase alcohol.
  • Prominently display signs giving notice that your establishment checks IDs.
  • Conduct "undercover" inspections in which you have seemingly underage people try to purchase alcohol. Give your staff feedback on how well they are following your policies and what needs to be improved.
  • Keep alcohol shelves and coolers in unobstructed view from store management and staff to reduce theft.
  • Keep alcohol shelves and coolers away from candy, snack and toy aisles or other areas where young people congregate.
  • Restrict alcohol advertising to "adult" areas and away from spaces highly visible to young people.