Serving It RightServing It Right

BC’s Responsible Beverage Service Program

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Implementing Responsible Beverage Service

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Underage Customer or Minors

Underage customer or minors
Of all problem patrons, minors are the most likely to try to use fake ID, and when possible they will take evasive action to avoid being scrutinized. Minors will often leave the table when a server approaches, letting others place a drink order for them. Therefore, ask to see everyone's ID before serving the party. Minors may have difficulty maintaining eye contact during ordering. They may be unsure and order what everyone else in the group is having. Focus on your guests and try to read their body language. Do they look indecisive and appear like they have something to hide?

Typically, there are three ways in which a minor may try to mislead:

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Falsely using valid ID, hoping the resemblance is plausible
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Using completely manufactured or counterfeit ID
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Using authentic ID that has been manipulated or altered to misstate the holder's name, date of birth, photo or other information.

In British Columbia two pieces of ID must always be provided when asked. Be sure to check the secondary ID just as thoroughly as you would check a primary ID. If the person cannot produce two pieces of acceptable identification that proves they are 19 or older, you must refuse service.

Preventing others from purchasing alcohol for minors
Minors themselves are not your only issue; you must also be aware of any individual who is trying to purchase alcohol for minors to consume. This is against the law. If any alcohol is given to a minor by a person of age, immediately refuse service to the entire group and remove the alcohol from the table.

Observe and ID everyone at a table at which customers appear to be close to or under the age of 19. If you are not sure of someone's age, ask for proof. If you are still unsure, the best policy is to err on the side of caution and refuse service. Guests must provide a suitable proof of age or accept your decision.

Tips for retail liquor store employees
A retail store establishment should take measures to ensure that the customers, staff and members of the community at large are not harmed because of liquor misuse or criminal activity in the store. Reasonable measures must be taken to prevent disturbances in and around the store. Examples of reasonable measures include:

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Installing adequate lighting outside your store and in the parking lot
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Supervising your parking areas, and/or
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Posting signs asking your patrons not to disturb your neighbours.

Retail store staff should greet customers as they walk into the store and spend some time talking to them in order to assess their behaviour. A quick conversation can help identify problem customers including minors or intoxicated persons. It is the legal responsibility of all employees of a retail liquor store to ensure that liquor products are not sold to minors or intoxicated persons. If you suspect or have knowledge of a customer who appears to be purchasing alcohol for a minor or someone who is intoxicated you should refuse the sale.

Keep an eye out for activity that indicates customers are purchasing for minors. Note any of the following:

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Minors hanging out near the store, usually in groups.
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Customers who are talking to minors outside the store. These customers may tell an employee directly that minors are asking them to purchase alcohol.
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The same product purchased or attempted to be purchased within a few minutes. For example, a minor without ID or with an invalid ID is refused service, and another customer is purchasing the same products that the minor had attempted to buy a few minutes earlier. Usually, these products are the most inexpensive and are high in alcohol content.