A trading standards officer (TSO) has accepted a store chain's challenge to work behind the counter and enforce a Challenge 21 policy.
Steve Lawford of Hampshire County Council had attended a conference at which Musgrave Retail Partners' Jonathon Bayne invited TSOs to put themselves in the firing line in a Londis store. "I saw it as an opportunity to experience the problems staff encounter 24/7," he told Convenience Store.
Lawford worked a full evening shift in the busy Londis in Basingstoke. "I made a number of challenges and most young people happily produced photo driving licences," he said. "One or two grumbled and one had to go back to his car to get ID. I made one refusal, to a girl who couldn't produce ID when attempting to buy cigarettes."
Steve acknowledged that some young people who entered the shop and saw him and Bayne "might have thought better of it" and admitted that, as he didn't live locally, he wouldn't face the anger of any young people he refused.
"I wasn't under quite the same pressure that staff are, but it was good to have a taste of it," he said. "Now when I visit a store to talk about a complaint, and they say 'you don't know what it's like,' I can tell them I do."