Some liquor stores are balking the Boston Police Department’s request that they post employees at entrances to prevent underage drinking after a number of stores allegedly failed to check IDs at counters.
BPD conducted a series of stings on Nov. 8 involving an underage decoy who purchased alcohol at six liquor stores in Allston without an ID. All six stores failed when the employee at the register did not ask for the customer’s ID.’
The police stings are part of Boston’s ongoing process to combat underage alcohol consumption in the city.
The most common problem occurs on busy weekend nights when liquor store employees do not ask customers for cards if they look old enough or if new employees forget to check IDs, Boston police officer Stephen Law said.’
‘We strive for 100 percent compliance, but stuff does fall through the cracks sometimes,’ he said. ‘So we do the process to keep everyone on their toes. Every liquor store is aware of the fact it will happen again.’
Though some liquor stores like Blanchard’s Liquors in Allston, which failed the Nov. 8 sting, have begun checking IDs at the door, it is not necessary for every store to do so, Law said.
Blanchard’s Liquors owner Joe Gomes said checking identification at the door forces stores to spend more money paying doormen.
‘It is an added cost, so a lot of stores wouldn’t be able to do it,’ he said. ‘We are a pretty good sized store, so we can do it. It’s labor-intensive.’
Peter Therios, owner of Oak Square Liquors in Brighton, said the store has been consistently strict in regard to checking IDs at the register, though the store failed the Nov. 8 sting. The store cannot afford to put an employee at the door to check IDs, Therios said.
‘It’s a good idea, but it’s expensive,’ he said. ‘We try very hard to card everyone. I’ve been here almost 25 years and we only have five violations.’
Jim Pesiridis, co-owner of Allston Food and Spirits, another store that failed the sting, said it would not make sense to check IDs at the door because the store also sells nonalcoholic items.
Pesiridis said that after the recent sting, which was the store’s first violation, management at the grocery store has been adamant about carding customers.
‘Sometimes we forget we’re not supposed to check, and someone puts two cartons of ice cream on the counter, and I ask them for their ID,’ he said.
Pesiridis said he has confiscated hundreds of fake IDs over the past 10 years.
‘We basically have the task of law enforcement without the badge,’ he said.’ ‘
To ensure liquor stores are operating under the rules of their liquor license, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to people under 21, officers conduct random and routine undercover checks of local businesses, BPD Capt. Frank Mancini said.’
‘This lets them know they have to be on their toes.’