If supermarket clerks were really selling booze to nine year olds, like the kids buying smokes on Clerks, well, that would be worth damning.9 yr olds accessing alcohol at the Countdown Manukau last night. Supermarket's response is poor. Sort it out Countdown— Papa Nahi (@papanahi) November 16, 2015
It's illegal to sell to under-18s; clerks are supposed to card anyone looking under 25. Susan, far from 25, is occasionally carded and is never sad about it when it happens; never happens to me though.
An employee selling to a 9 year old should be fired on the spot and the store would likely be up for some penalties - would expect they'd be suspended from trading for a while, with the duration depending on the store's history and training practices.
But is it really that plausible that anybody would sell to a 9 year old? Are there really 9 year olds who could pass for 18, or clerks so addled that they'd fail to card? And, more junior staff can't make that call themselves: somebody has to come over and authorise the "yeah, over 18" call. Or that happens most times I buy beer or wine at the supermarket. So something seems fishy.
But let's go on from there. NZ Drug Foundation re-tweeted that initial tweet with comment:
NZ Drug Foundation seemed pretty quick to find it plausible.A giant supermarket chain selling booze to children, NINE years below legal age! #shame #appalling https://t.co/LjrqDu0NNI— NZ Drug Foundation (@nzdrug) November 17, 2015
But Dylan Reeve was less credulous:
And Lew Stoddart rightly noted that using the term "accessing" when what was really going on was 9 year old kids shoplifting is, well, misleading. It's inviting people to draw the outraged reaction that NZ Drug took:@nzdrug 3 occasions in past fortnight where minors stole alcohol that store aware of. When confronted staff said too overworked to deal with— Papa Nahi (@papanahi) November 17, 2015
And who's @papanahi? The handle says "General Manager Maori Public Health at Hapai Te Hauora"
Not entirely sure why a public health official would use the term "accessing" when "shoplifting" is more appropriate, but glad that she clarified things.
Very nice that Dylan had his sceptic's glasses on.
Update: NZ Drug's corrected things. But they've also added this interesting policy suggestion to combat shoplifting by kids:
Behind lock and key where the beautiful packaging can't be seen. Any other products that supermarkets have to sell that way in New Zealand?@DylanReeve @papanahi Open shelves of alcohol not only way - in Canada state owned stores do not display. If we have problems..... 1/2— NZ Drug Foundation (@nzdrug) November 17, 2015
I love going shopping for beer and wine. The displays at places like Moore Wilson's, and New World Thorndon... they're things of beauty. Folks like Garage Project and Yeastie Boys put tons of work into their packaging. Tuatara's won awards for their bottles. Hiding that all away, to prevent a few cases of shoplifting a year... well...