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A Closer Look

As a Montclair Mart worker stands behind the counter early one Friday evening, a young man pushes open the door and walks up to the register. This customer peers at the plethora of liquors and spirits in front of him and then asks the worker, “What alcohol is best for making daiquiris?” The worker orders him out of the establishment.

This occurrence took place a few months ago, said the assistant manager of Montclair Mart Sean Dimri.

“When something like that happens it is pretty easy to tell. I do not know one dude over the age of 21 that would be trying to make a daiquiri on a Friday afternoon,” Dimri said. “Other times it is not so obvious though.”

Telltale signs of a minor trying to purchase alcohol are often patchy beards, young looking faces, under developed bodies, and lots of acne, Dimri said. There are also store policies in place such as always carding people that appear younger than 30 and not accepting any out-of-state forms of ID.

Photographic Photographic Elisofon Archives Archives Eliot Eliot Elisofon Eliot Photographic Archives Eliot Elisofon Elisofon “Small stores like ours do not have the money to buy expensive scanners and we can’t be sure if [an out-of-state ID] is fake or not,” Dimri said. “We do not call the police and we don’t cut up your card, we just kick you out on the street.”

From the stores perspective, it does not make financial sense to take any risks of accepting questionable forms of identification, because they could loose their liquor license if convicted of serving alcohol to minors.

“As a business our concern is making a profit,” Dimri said “I am only worried about the money, and being prosecuted for selling liquor to a minor would certainly interfere with that.”

Larger stores that students commonly use, such as CVS and Safeway, are venues that have the resources to more thoroughly check if a form of identification is real. With black-light detectors and scanners, employees are given more power to assess the validity of an ID.

“The more expensive fake IDs will get passed most tests, so it’s really up to the clerk’s discretion at the counter,” a Safeway customer service representative said.

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