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Aldis strict underage alcohol policing leaves shoppers high and dry

IT’S called responsible service of alcohol and when it comes to supplying it to minors, supermarket giant ALDI and some bottle shops are leaving nothing to chance when enforcing it.

In the Shoalhaven area of the NSW South Coast, some stores have refused service to adults whose kids have even touched the stuff before its reached the checkout.

In a recent post on the Shoalhaven news Facebook group, one member recounted her experience on Saturday at an ALDI store where a woman buying her groceries and a bottle of gin was told by the cashier she could not sell her the alcohol because her teenage son had touched it.

Her son was with her, who looked about 15 and he picked the bottle up to move it to the front of the shopping, I assume so it wouldnt fall over, Jennifer Marie posted.

The cashier turned to the other cashier and spoke with her. She then turned back to the lady waiting with the shopping and told her she could not purchase the gin as her son had picked it up and moved it and as he was under 18, he was deemed to be the one buying the alcohol, when clearly it was the womens gin, he was just moving it so it didnt fall over.

The fellow in the other lane had his two daughters with him, they touched the bottles of alcohol that he had and the same thing happened to him, both bottles were confiscated.

She added apparently these are new rules with ALDI that children are NOT allowed under any circumstance to touch bottles of alcohol, ie. picking them up, touching them, moving them etc. Talk about Democracy gone mad!!!!!

The post attracted 300 comments, many in support of ALDIs stance, with others saying the law wasnt new, they had seen similar refusals in action at liquor chains including BWS, and other supermarkets which sold alcohol.

Rach Zerbs posted she had been warned while shopping at ALDI in Ulladulla, when her ten-year-old son offered to carry the beer she had just purchased.

I was told if he touched it, it would be taken from me and the police notified for supplying a minor. He is 10! I hardly think the beer was for him! He was just trying to be helpful. But I do get where they are coming from with older children/teens, she posted.

Jennifer later posted her thanks for the discussion, saying it was an eye-opener for her as a non-drinker whose kids had grown up.

I had absolutely no idea this law existed. My children are grown up and married and I being a non-drinker have no reason to purchase alcohol so to see this innocent young man just helping his mum sort the groceries on the conveyor belt and stop a bottle of alcohol falling over with the consequences it had, unbelievable!!! The cashier was very pleasant and I understand she was just doing her job and the lady in question was also very polite and understanding. As some of you have commented, signs need to be displayed stating that children under the age of 18 cannot touch the alcohol, I suppose unless youve done the RSA course then many, like me, do not know the rules, she said.

But a call to NSW Liquor and Gaming, which enforces RSA laws, revealed the law relating to alcohol and minors isnt quite so black and white.

Although ALDI may be right in policing it so fiercely.

Under the NSW Liquor Act, it is an offence for licensees to sell or supply liquor to minors on licensed premises, and NSW Liquor and Gaming spokesman said.

It is not illegal for adults to buy alcohol in the presence of a minor, and there are no specific provisions in the legislation addressing the issue of minors touching alcohol at licensed premises.

However, there are provisions that prohibit persons, unless a parent or guardian, from obtaining alcohol on behalf of minors from licensed premises.

Which is a little different to ALDIs understanding, with an ALDI Australia spokesman saying it is an offence to supply alcohol to a person under the age of 18 and for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or receive alcohol. The sale of alcohol can be refused if a minor has handled alcohol that could be potentially purchased by an adult for the minors consumption.

ALDI said this also extends to a minor accompanying an adult purchasing alcohol, even if the minor has not physically touched an alcoholic product.

The spokesman said it is the stores responsibility to refuse any customer who presents a risk and ultimately it is at the discretion of the person serving to decline the sale should they have any doubts or concerns.

And there are plenty of cold hard cash reasons for ALDI not to give customers the benefit of the doubt: huge fines and penalties exist for selling liquor to minors, including criminal prosecution and suspension or cancellation of liquor licences.

Maximum penalties for selling or supplying alcohol or obtaining alcohol for minors on licensed premises are an $11,000 fine and/or 12 months jail. These are among the most serious offences under the NSW Liquor Act.

Some licensees may therefore implement internal procedures encouraging a cautious approach when minors are present at the point of sale, the Gaming and Racing spokesman said.

A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a disposable temporary tattoo with an attached electronic reader they say can accurately measure alcohol levels in sweat and transmit the information to a mobile device. Photo: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Aussie dollar weak against greenback

THE Australian dollar is trading slightly lower against its US counterpart, which has continued to gain against major currencies.

At 0730 AEDT on Monday, the local unit was trading at 74.58 US cents, down from 74.65 cents on Friday.

The US dollar index gained around 0.5 per cent, mainly on the back of speculators increasing their long positions further.

The US dollar and US interest rates rose in the approach to this weeks US Federal (Reserve) meeting, helped also by stronger economic data, Westpac senior market strategist Imre Speizer said.

The Fed is widely tipped to raise interest rates at the meeting. The Australian dollar is likely to continue trading in the sideways direction on Monday, mostly within a range of 74 to 75 US cents, Mr Speizer said in a note. The local currency has, however, posted gains against the yen and the euro.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.58 US cents, from 74.65 cents on Friday

* 85.96 Japanese yen, from 85.42 yen

* 70.78 euro cents, from 70.30 euro cents

* 59.36 British pence, from 59.28 pence

* 104.55 New Zealand cents, from 104.12 NZ cents

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session)

Source: IRESS