What All Parents Need To Know When Shopping This Christmas – Proxy Alcohol Sales

Ever heard of proxy alcohol sales? Neither had I until I wasn’t allowed to buy beer when accompanied by my 21 year old son who didn’t have his ID on him. Needless to say I was indignant and my dander was well and truly up. It was the first time I broadcast my own age (51) so loudly and proudly in a public place – a supermarket chain. I thought it ridiculous, I was incredulous. They would not let me buy alcohol because he might drink some of it. They clearly did not know my inability to share nicely.

I should add that this shop is one I frequent on a daily basis, my son also buys his own booze there as well. One lady went to get the manager and the security guard hung around in a way that suggested he thought I might grab the beer and run; again another wrong assumption, this time about my physical prowess. Two checkout staff told the manager that they know us and have seen my son’s ID on many occasion (not too many I hope). The manager said that he had not. I asked if I left now and came back on my own would I be served, I was told that was a grey area. Hmmm, very grey, now they know I have a ‘child’ and I buy beer how long would I be banned from buying alcohol for?

Watching my son’s face go from white to pink to red, I resigned myself to the fact I was fighting a losing battle and we left. Once outside we had the ingenious idea of going home and getting his ID, after all we only lived a five minute walk away. I’m not sure why nobody thought of that in the first place. I tantrumed my way home, at the same time seeking reassurance that I hadn’t been too rude or unfriendly about it all. We returned to the shop within approximately fifteen minutes and made our way back to the kiosk where we had originally not been served. The security guard, the woman who first asked for the ID and another assistant were there. I announced that we now had the ID and would like to proceed with the purchase. I was told by the assistant (not the original one) that he would have served me. He served me. And, not one of them asked to SEE the ID!

I felt a letter brewing in the recesses of my mind, worthy of the Facebook page, ‘Angry People In Local Newspapers’; that was until I did my research on the subject of proxy alcohol sales. And here is what you need to know when out shopping, especially this festive season, where a few more of your favourite tipples might find there way into your trolley:

  • EVERY supermarket has the right to refuse the sale of alcohol if you have your/any children with you.
  • If you are taking over 18s with you ensure they have their ID with them.
  • Under 18s is where the area gets really grey. You will probably be fine with babies and toddlers, but I strongly recommend you do not let them hold your wine for you. Pretending to swig from the bottle would probably not work in your favour either.
  • If you have children that LOOK around nine years plus prepare not to leave with any booze.
  • Do not interact with any young people loitering outside the shop if you are going in to buy booze. Security and staff are primed to watch out for this ‘sociable’ behaviour and assume you have agreed to buy it for them.

Happy shopping and a very Merry Christmas to one and all (apart from one person, or maybe a couple of peeps, OK three or four)