Patronising attitude to age

15 June, 2007

I write in response to Lulie Halstead's article suggesting that we should be marketing to the over-50s rather than the youth market. I am an independent wine merchant and I am over 50. Most of my best customers are over 50. I do not market my product to them as Generation Silver per se because they (and indeed I) would perceive this as being patronising in the extreme.

My customers simply expect me to select for them very good wines in each type and price category, to provide opportunities for them to sample this selection and then to deliver their choice of wines promptly, intelligently and preferably with a smile. In other words they seek good service and will reward good service with good custom. If I sought to treat them in any way differently because of their age (and is not age discrimination now illegal anyway?) they would, I am sure, react very adversely.

It is the younger consumer whose taste may be moulded more by advertising. My generation knows what it wants and knows how to get it.

Jonathan Radgick

Rothbury Wines



Call for help with ban

The Scottish Grocers Federation has called on the Scottish Executive to introduce a national proof of age card to protect shop workers who will have to turn away 16 and 17-year-olds no longer able to buy cigarettes.

Tobacco should be for adults and it is right that the Scottish Executive should determine at what age someone in Scotland is old enough to smoke. This move will make it harder for children to access tobacco and for this reason alone it should be welcomed.

However, this decision will put a lot of pressure on the shop workers who will have to police the new law. Already retailers and shop workers face intimidation, violence and abuse when challenging some youngsters to prove their age. Now with 16 and 17-year-olds set to lose their ability to smoke overnight, it is shop workers, not the police or politicians, who will be expected to enforce the law.

SGF is calling on the Scottish Executive to provide measures to lessen the potential for conflict in stores.The y should include:

A national proof of age card for all 15 to 25-year-olds, free to all

Confidential smoking cessation programmes in schools and colleges for all 16 and 17-year-olds in the run up to the age change, and

A prime-time advertising campaign making everyone aware of the forthcoming change and benefits of carrying proof of age.

Reforming the age to smoke continues Scotland's progressive leadership in this area but it must not be done at the expense of the safety of shop workers.

John Drummond

Chief executive


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