It was wonderful to win the Responsible Retailing accolade at the Convenience Retailing Awards in London this year. Many of you will already be responsible retailers without giving it a second thought.
As you go about your daily business at the heart of your community, most of you wouldn’t dream of selling cigarettes to children. Most of you will regularly be running the gauntlet - asking a young lady to prove her age only to be met with the sort of language that would make a docker blush, while many others invest in fingerprint recognition technology and epos prompts to avoid accidental underage sales.
But however you look at responsible retailing, one thing is for certain - it’s not something you can do by yourself. Everyone that works behind your counter needs to be on board. By providing staff with a refusals register, you can monitor who is rejecting underage sales and when your problem times are.
Staff can take part in training schemes which educate them on dealing with age-restricted sales, while the Challenge 25 scheme gives staff a safety net by asking every customer requesting alcohol to prove they are over 25 with shop signage and badges. Having older customers on board is also vital. By placing a poster in your store informing them that proxy purchasing is an offence, you may cut down on the chances of children having age-restricted products bought for them.
Local policing teams are also a great resource. If required, they can visit your shop at vulnerable times and also visit schools, informing teachers of any issues of underage attempts to buy alcohol, lottery or cigarettes.
We also have a policy of not selling energy drinks to under 14 year olds. As a mum of two boys, I think kids have far too much natural energy, without making matters worse for the poor teachers!
Responsible retailing is probably one of the easiest areas to get right. As retailers, we all have a vested interest in protecting children and helping to produce a community we can all be proud of.