'I can spot them a mile off': community shopkeepers’ experience of alcohol test-purchasing

Forsyth, A. J.M., Davidson, N. and Ellaway, A. (2014) 'I can spot them a mile off': community shopkeepers’ experience of alcohol test-purchasing. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 21(3), pp. 221-224. (doi: 10.3109/09687637.2013.860953)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2013.860953


Aims: Test-purchasing (using volunteers to attempt an apparent under-age purchase) can be used as an enforcement intervention against retailers who sell alcohol to minors. This article will investigate whether community shopkeepers, familiar with alcohol test-purchasing protocols, are able to distinguish volunteers from genuine under-age customers.<p></p> Methods: Thirty-six qualitative interviews were conducted with community shopkeepers, the retailers most often associated with under-age sales, working in convenience stores located in socially-contrasting areas of Glasgow, Scotland, 24 of which were licensed to sell alcohol.<p></p> Findings: Interviewees provided details of the strategies they used to prevent under-age sales. Robust age-verification, set 7.5 above legal-age of purchase, was felt to be particularly effective. Although, they were apprehensive of test-purchases, experienced retailers reported that they always knew when one was taking place in their shop, because volunteers were not sourced locally and, in contrast to real under-age customers, they were honest and compliant.<p></p> Conclusions: Although making retailers more aware of their responsibilities, increased familiarity with the protocols of test-purchasing can allow vendors to be certain who real under-age customers are, potentially making low-risk sales to minors possible. Test-purchasing protocols (e.g. volunteers ages) should be re-oriented to keep pace with more robust age-verification checks.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellaway, Dr Anne
Authors: Forsyth, A. J.M., Davidson, N., and Ellaway, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Publisher:Informa Healthcare
ISSN (Online):1465-3370

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