So, we got busted by Trading Standards/The Filth. And just to get serious for a minute, how the bloody hell is this legal? If an undercover copper approaches you and asks you for drugs or sex, it’s called entrapment and gets thrown out of court, but if they send an undercover 17.8 year old in to buy a bottle of Kopparberg, that’s us in the shit. They went about it sneakily as well:
- The lad they sent in was tall for his age (17 and a half). Besides which, 17 and a half is old enough to be blown up in Helmand but not old enough to have a pint on your return? What fucking lunacy is this?
- He was buying a premium brand, not the cheap nasty stuff the underagers normally try to buy.
- He was dressed like a student. If he’d had his trackies tucked into his socks and a shaven head, we’d probably have asked for ID – as it is, we serve about 1000 19-22 year old uni students a week.
- Besides, ask any 16 year old in Plungington and they’ll tell you that (Name removed for legal reasons) Convenience is where you go if you want 4 Kestrel Supers, 10 L&B, some hardcore pornography and a crossbow with no questions asked.
Yeah, I know, blah blah antisocial behaviour blah blah public nuisance blah blah corporate responsibility, you know as well as I do that’s horseshit. Everyone who works in the shop lives within 3 streets of it, we KNOW who the little trouble-making shites are and don’t serve them. Not that it makes a blind bit of difference, as their white-trash parents just come in to buy chemicider, WKD and own-brand vodka-type substance for them anyway. But it’s one more result for the crime statistics, so we get hit.
End result of which is: one of my comrades loses his job, gets an £80 fine and a caution on his record. Which, when you’re a year away from graduating and competing for jobs, is a bit of a kick in the nuts. Also, we now have to operate “Challenge 25” – anyone who looks below that age gets asked for ID. And the local 5-oh were very clear on this point; The only forms of acceptable ID are a photo driving license, a valid passport, or a PASS card. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Cut to two nights later.
“Next please!” He puts 8 Stella on the counter. I scrutinise his face. Could be 26. Could be 22. Could be some freak with a gladular problem specifically picked out by the Babylon just to get me in trouble. Play it safe. “Do you have any ID please sir?”
“ID?” He looks baffled. His girlfriend giggles slightly.
“Passport, driving license…?”
“Uh…no. I’ve got this though,” he says, and pulls out…
A Lancashire Constabulary warrant card.
“I’m sorry sir, this doesn’t have your date of birth on it.”
“Your colleagues were very insistent on this point sir. I’m afraid I cannot accept it.” I hand back the card and put his beers behind the counter. “If you’d care to return with a passport, driving license or PASS card showing your date of birth and the PASS hologram we’d be delighted to serve you. Please close the door on your way out.” He looks as if he’s about to kick off, but thinks better of it, just gives me the Standard Issue Copper Hard Stare and walks off. At least two people in the queue behind him are openly laughing as he leaves.
Petty regulations? We can play that game too, you bastards.