What’s wrong with age-restriction training in retail



From the Telegraph 02/02/10:

Christine Cuddihy, 24, was stunned when a checkout assistant refused to sell her the 51p piece of cheese and onion tart because “she looked under 21”.

In the end Miss Cuddihy, who was hungry, produced her driving licence in order to make the purchase.

She said: “The girl told me: 'You don't look over 21. I need to see some proof of age.'

''I told her I was certain the proof of age laws do not apply to quiche but she just said: 'We have to be really strict now and this applies to quiche bought over the counter.'

I know this one has been doing the rounds a lot in the last couple of days. I first read about it in the trusty Metro on my way to work on Wednesday and I know a couple of other blawgers have picked up on it.

For me, this story highlights everything that’s wrong with age-restricted goods training ran by companies.  Employees are typically given a 5 second blast of ‘you can’t do this or else…’  in which employers try and put the fear of God into their employees without imparting a grounding of why and how that training should properly be put into practice.

If a touch more time was taken, the true reasons behind why these age restricted laws are in place were explained and more trouble taken to explore the context in which those laws apply, not only will the employees leave with a better understanding of the problems that age restrictions are intended to combat but it would stop silliness like this from occurring in the first place.

Also, for employees to engage their brain whilst at work tends to help a lot.  ID-ing someone over a quiche – I mean, honestly!!!???


  1. It really is silly. Once when I was a student it was a case of the checkout guy ringing up and packing up alcohol no problem, but questioning for ID over condoms. Same purchase, same guy. Clearly wasn't thinking straight.


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