How do teenagers get alcohol ? Tesco self service tills, that's how

Tesco have a policy in a number of their stores now of having self service tills, where you scan your own products in and you pay what it tells you to pay. You can pay with cash or a card, and in many stores, like my local convenience store, there are very often two self service tills, but only one manned by a human being, with the human till being the most popular till, but not with some teenagers.

Whilst I was in Tesco an hour ago I witnessed the self service till being very popular with teenage boys who were certainly not 18 years old, who were buying alcohol, a few cans each, from the self service till knowing that the very busy single member of staff on duty in the shop was never ever going to be able to challenge them on their age because he was too busy and the tills are organised in such a way as to prevent him seeing the items they are scanning.

We can get the police to do as much as possible about dealing with teenage binge drinking but when Tesco set up their shops so that teenagers are given a free hand to but as much alcohol as they want, the police may as well not bother.


Gallimaufry said...

Are you saying that teenage boys have found a loophole not anticipated by the finest brains in the Department of Culture or whoever is responsible for licensing in the local authority?

Holyrood Patter said...

Respectfully i will have to entirely dismiss this as a one off and a freak occourence.
Any age restricted items scanned immediately flag up on the workers scanner and thus they can challenge.

Obviously the staff member too busy to deal with it but as I have seen these machines in operation your incinuation that there is a pandemic is nonsense

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Oddly, the only time that I have been asked to provide proof of age, when buying alcohol, in the last 30 years was by an "over keen" kid on a Tesco self service till last Thursday. He insisted that I had to provide ID proof of age before he could authorise my purchase.

My wrinkles, the few strands of gray on my almost bald pate, my paunch and my aging gate were not enough to persuade him against his "no ID no Sale" mantra!

I hugged him, thanked him for the complement(totally embarrassed the poor boy) and took my trolley to a womaned till. She had no doubts about my age and didn't question me at all - what a witch with a capital B!

Norfolk Blogger said...

This isn't just a one off. I have never seen someone challenged, and given the fact that the one human on the till, indeed the only member of staff visible in the whole shop during a busy fridat teatime was rushed off his feet, there were virtually no chance of being challenged.

Anonymous said...

When using the said self-service tills a message is displayed when alcohol is canned, and payment cannot be made until a member of staff scans their card.

I think you've seen a one of glitch. (I'm not a fan of Tesco, by the way).

Will said...

It's not about not being challenged - you usually have to be proactively OKed. That was certainly the inconvenient case the only time I've bought alcohol at a self-service checkout.

Mouse said...

I hadn't heard of these age-related flags on tills until yesterday -- this story in the Times

jailhouselawyer said...

In the Tesco Extra near to where I live there are two self service machines. Whenever alcohol is scanned the machine requires a member of staff to authorise the sale.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Now given that the shop assistant was serving lots of people, he may have had to "okay" it, but he was rushed off his feet, there was no way he checked their age (being a teacher, I am good at getting people's ages roughly correctly), and I would guess he, like many others, simply pressed "yes" or "ok" because he was so rushed.

Put simply, you cannot have one member of staff in a busy shop, a long queue of disgruntles customers and still expect the member of staff to query and check each and every transaction on the self service tills because, in the case of yesterday, that would mean he would be effectively manning three tills, which is not possible.

Anonymous said...

I work on such tills occasionally and age-restricted products are flagged on my screen and I challenge the customer to prove their age before authorising the sale. I can only assume that the worker had another flag up at the same time or was deliberately allowing underage people to buy alcohol – something which could just as easily happen at a service till.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Its interesting what that anonymous Tesco worker says about possibly having another "flag" on screen because one of the self service tills in my local Tesco is always going wrong and if the door underneath the till is opened, the transaction is cancelled, as happened whilst I was in there and the member of staff had to keep shouting across to tell the woman what to do.

James said...

Being Tesco Self Service supervisor i can quickly say the following;

All age restricted sales on the self service checkouts are flagged to a member of staff who has a control console.

From their they can authorise the sale if they do not feel the need to challenge somebody. If a member of staff fails to do this and a sale is not authorised then a screen which stops payment, (or in the event of money already being inserted rather than pressing finish and pay - holds the change) until a member of staff either authorises or declines the sale.

If the member of staff is busy - the customer waits. If somebody is not challenged - it is because the member of staff does not believe it is necessary, or has already challenged the person in the past.

Hope that clears some things up.