She looks approximately 18.
HER: Hiya, you OK? Just this please [hands me a bottle of Jacques]
ME: OK…sorry, it’s policy, do you have any ID?
HER: I haven’t. Sorry.
ME: I can’t serve you then. Sorry.
HER: [Breezily] Oh, that’s ok. See ya!
Must have been the test purchaser. No swearing? Civil? Not pointlessly abusive to people with a job?
It has to be some kind of elaborate trap.
Well, thank Yahweh we didn’t serve them, eh? We’ll just get on with our legally mandated business of serving enormous amounts of poison to people who should, but never will, know better, and by stopping some poor sod from having a couple of pear ciders after their GCSEs have finished, we’ll pretend we’re saving the cocking planet.
Really, I’ve spent the best part of two years at the front line of selling booze to idiots, and I feel I have some expertise on the subject – THE PROBLEM IS NOT 16-YEAR OLDS. It’s not even 18-year olds. The problem is grown-ups.
When I got this job, I thought I drank a lot. I don’t. I may drink more than the guidelines say you should, but compared to many, MANY people, I’m abstemious. And the scariest thing is that many of these VERY heavy drinkers are your friends, your neighbours, the guy in the next cubicle/classroom/office…the white trash, with their 3-litre cider bottles and knowing winks and cheap roll-your-own baccy, worried me, but not half as much as the ones who came in dressed respectably, the ones with a copy of the Guardian or Telegraph under their arm, the ones carrying 30 exercise books all ready for marking, looking frazzled, and asked for two litres of QC and a half of the cheap vodka, and while you’re at it 20 Regal…
I’m not having a go at these people, by the way. I’m sure their life would make me drink. Just pointing out that chemical dependency is not something the poor have a monopoly on.