Responsible retailing means having a continuous commitment to compliance and community welfare. A cursory glance at legal guidelines won’t cut the mustard. Fast-changing times demand a meticulous understanding of age restrictions and a proactive approach. Here are some quick tips to steer clear of under-age drinkers and serve legally.
1. Play by the rules. Familiarise yourself and staff with local and national regulations on age-restricted products. A comprehensive understanding of policies such as Think 21/25 is the foundation for secure and responsible alcohol transactions. It’s important to instill an ask-don’t-assume mindset among customer-facing employees. A robust training programme that spells out what kind of ID to ask for, how to identify a fake, and what steps to take when you do is almost a necessity if you don’t want to lose your licence.
2. Use tech with caution. Age-estimation technology is all the rage, especially among online retailers. It promises a bias-free, customer-friendly future, but it still comes with challenges. The risk of losing a licence is with the retailer using the technology and not with the provider, so stores need to monitor its effectiveness in complying with GDPR and age restriction regulations. Regular audits are advisable to ensure that the technology is giving fair and accurate results.
3. Proactivity is key. Collaborate with local law enforcement agencies or hire compliance professionals for periodic checks. This approach identifies potential pitfalls and demonstrates your commitment to upholding the law. Think of compliance checks as a collaborative effort between yourself and the regulatory authorities, working together to maintain a safe and legal environment.
4. Keep an eye out for proxy sales. Proxy sales have been around for as long as age restrictions have existed. It’s impractical to ask each and every customer if they’re buying for a child, but it’s not too difficult to spot some obvious signs. If you hear an adult asking a child what kind of restricted product they’d like or if a child’s behaviour suggests the product is for them, it’s a sign of a proxy purchase, and you must consider refusing the sale.