Imagine this: you are working a busy special event at your bar, serving beverages to customers. A young man walks up to the bar and orders a pint of beer. You size him up. He seems sober, confident, and greets you with a smile. But, he does look like he might be a little young. You wonder if the bouncer at the door checked his I.D. Think fast – what do you do? Ask to see I.D. to confirm his age, or make the sale and send him back to his table with a pint? If you chose option number two, you would have failed the test.
This past Saturday marked Reno’s 17th annual Santa Pub Crawl event. While a festive and fun occasion for thousands of participants. Local law enforcement were working to help keep things safe. Five area businesses were cited for serving alcohol to minors. The Reno area’s Regional Street Enforcement Team, comprised of area police departments, conducts regular alcohol compliance and TAM Card checks. On Saturday, the Team sent four 18-20 year-old volunteers out to attempt alcohol purchases at 51 area businesses. This time around, five of those businesses made sales to the minors. These volunteers were given instructions to show their actual state-issued I.D. if they were asked for it, clearly identifying them as underage, according to authorities.
The penalties can be severe. In Nevada, serving alcohol to a minor and allowing a minor into a bar are misdemeanors, with a pre-designated fine of $500. Now, think about your training. Would you pass an alcohol compliance check? Here are some tips for keeping things safe and legal:
- Get your mandatory TAM® Card and alcohol awareness training. TAM® will train you on how to correctly check identification and how to spot fake, borrowed, or altered ID. Police officers may ask to see your alcohol awareness card during an alcohol compliance check, so it is important to be prepared.
- Check ID very carefully, and look for any inconsistencies. Watch for anyone who seems either nervous, or over confident. When checking the birth date of a customer, don’t rely only on the birth year alone to confirm someone is of legal drinking age. Minors may try to pull a fast one on busy or distracted workers by purchasing alcohol just a few months or weeks shy of their 21st birthdays. As evidenced by this recent operation, doing the math correctly is very important.
- Be vigilant about third party sales. If you see a third party (like an adult, who was approached by a minor in the parking lot) attempt to purchase alcohol for a person under 21, you have a responsibility to take steps to curtail the activity. Retailers have the right to refuse any sale when a reasonable person in their position would conclude that the adult is purchasing on behalf of an underage person. Not only do TAM Card holders have a legal and ethical responsibility not to make sales to intoxicated persons and minors; they must also be vigilant in preventing sales to other people who are clearly purchasing alcohol for minors.
Every establishment needs policies to prevent alcohol sales to minors, and to protect themselves from liability, and the public from harm. Tell us in the Comments below – how else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?