I have to commend Dilip Patel on two counts. One, he takes responsible retailing extremely seriously at his store, and two, he employs Sharon Hill. 

The store, Dilip’s Multistore, trades in the large village of Shepshed in Leicestershire, near some schools, and consequently operates a ‘Challenge 30’ policy. Sharon rang me after she had read the article on responsible retailing in our May 30 issue which featured OK.ID’s counter-top fingerprint scanner. I gave her the details and caught up a month or so later to see what had happened.

Apparently, it’s a hit with the kids – and with both the too young and the too old, who just like to muck about by sticking their fingers on the scanner (which responds by saying: ‘please try again’ if they’re not on the system and with a ‘thank you’ if they are). And, for those who are the right age, well, it seems that they like having their dabs done. “There’s a fair bit of work involved to get people on the system correctly,” says Sharon. “They have to bring in their ID and it has to be verified properly, but once it’s on the system, it’s brilliant. It’s quite a talking point.”

When I asked her about the store’s Challenge 30 policy, she spelled it out. “It’s the responsible way to go. I think this country will come in line with the US where 21 is the legal age and the difference between someone aged 21 and 30 is not all that great – it’s not the same as the difference between someone aged 16 and someone who’s 21.”

I suspect she could be right but I hope there won’t be any councils that decide, as they did with the Mosquito device, that it infringes teenagers’ human rights.

And for anyone else wanting to apply this touchy-feely solution, have a look at the website at www.okid.co.uk (the site is under construction but you can still download a brochure).

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