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I thought this was an interesting story in the Ham&High. Not sure how outraged I'd be - I'm quite pleased they have such a strict policy on underage drinking but do take the point if adults were buying booze for underage drinkers, they probably wouldn't go to Waitrose! Seems that Waitrose are trying to be responsible - she did after all convince them to sell her the wine.
by Kate Ferguson, Reporter Sunday, August 14, 2011
»A mother who was buying a bottle of wine at Waitrose in Crouch End has spoken of her outrage after a cashier refused to serve her unless her daughter showed her ID.
Annie Mundy was out shopping with her 21-year-old daughter Jessie on a busy Monday afternoon when she visited the supermarket to pick up some garlic bread, olives and a bottle of white pinot grigio.
But when she got to the checkout, the cashier refused to sell her the bottle unless her daughter showed ID proving she was 18.
Indignant Ms Mundy said: “This is just ridiculous and I think everyone in Crouch End will be outraged.
“I am her mother. If I want to buy a bottle of wine and give my 21-year-old daughter or 17-year-old son a glass then that is not illegal. It really made me angry.”
The jeweller, from Stroud Green, claims that when she challenged the cashier, she was told it was store policy to ask anyone who looks too young to drink for ID in case the accompanying adult is buying them alcohol.
“This is ridiculous,” Ms Mundy added. “My son is 17 and if I came in with him I just wouldn’t get served. I would have to leave him outside while I did my shopping. And parents with 13-year-old daughters might not want to do this.
“If a teenager wanted to get a stranger to buy them some alcohol they wouldn’t go to Waitrose. This is a vast over-reaction.
“Crouch End is full of middle class mums who are out shopping with their teenage children during the summer holiday. This will mean they have to ID every other person. It is bonkers.”
The cashier eventually agreed to let Ms Mundy buy the wine, although when she contacted Waitrose customer services they insisted this was store policy.
The mum-of-two, who has been a loyal customer since the store opened around a year ago, said she will think twice before returning to Waitrose to buy a bottle of wine.
“I feel really let down,” she said. “This has annoyed me so much that I want to warn other parents that if you go to Waitrose with your child you could end up being asked for their ID.”
I feel outraged too, but I'm not sure what about. Certainly someone being mildly inconvenienced by not being able to buy a bottle of wine is hardly seems cause for outrage, especially when it is store policy to check multiple IDs in certain circumstances. There seems to be a very easy cure - she should go to Budgens (on her own) and buy the wine there, nothing worse than mild inconvenience.
Having said that I still feel outraged and the reasons (some of which Ms Mundy hinted at) are becoming clear:
There is another thing - they sold her the wine - what's the point of having a policy and not applying it.
I guess the way round it is not to take your teenagers to the checkout. I don't actually know why you'd do that in the Crouch End Waitrose anyway, there's no room! I am interested to know whether "everyone in Crouch End will be outraged". Of all things to be "really let down" by, I'm not sure that this policy is one of them.
I think these policies must be administered in a sensible fashion but often aren’t – on one occasion I was out (not in Crouch End or Waitrose I admit) buying my (non-alcoholic) dinner when I bumped into a friend (we were aged 24 and 27 respectively) at the supermarket. She was on her way to a party and was picking up a bottle of wine to take with her. Being friends we had a chat as we queued for the tills and when our turn came we to pay we said goodbye and went separately to pay at different tills, however her cashier refused to sell her the bottle of wine until I showed my ID. I tried to point out that we were not purchasing the wine together, had entered the shop completely independently of each other and that as far as I knew you do not need to be over 18 to purchase pasta, but the cashier was adamant. In the end I showed my ID just to save my friend the trouble and we went our separate ways. Only a minor inconvenience as Ivan O’Pinion points out, but still an unnecessary one which would have been easily avoided had the cashier applied some basic common sense.
If the cashier genuinely believed I was 16 and my friend was purchasing me a nice bottle of wine to binge on then of course she should refuse to serve, but I cannot believe that this was the case – she was following the policy word for word without applying any brain power to the situation at all. Often I think it is a power trip – you can see the look of triumph on the cashier’s face when he/she demands ID from all 8 friends in the group, and then the disappointment when 8 separate ID’s are produced. There have been situations in the national press where pensioners have been refused service because they did not have ID - ridiculous.
In this specific situation I can understand the cashier’s point of view as they were two adults, one of whom falls into the ‘looks under 25’ policy, at the till purchasing the wine together – if my friend and I had gone to the shop together and chosen the wine together and then gone up to pay together I would have expected to be asked for ID. I think her outrage comes from the fact that they are mother and daughter, if her daughter had been with a friend and asked for ID would she have been as outraged? However it doesn’t seem fair that responsible parents can’t buy alcohol if they have their child/children with them. She is being punished for other more irresponsible people’s actions. I would be interested to know at what age the policy kicks in – if her daughter had been in a push chair would they still have demanded ID? I imagine not – so how do they draw the line and why?