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Age diplomacy

Tesco to challenge any person who looks under 25 if they buy alcohol - Telegraph.

I have sympathy for Tesco. The law puts the company at risk of losing valuable alcohol sales if employees make innocent mistakes. I feel sorry for managers who must train staff to handle the situation without upsetting customers. For example, as a matter of basic marketing, they will need to be told to "challenge" women well in excess of 25, for fear they may be offended.

A lady I know in her late thirties was "chatted up" by a supermarket employee on the pretext that he needed to verify her age as she was buying booze. I don't often give advice on matters of the heart, but I can inform my male readers that this "line" was very well received. I was not surprised. When working part-time as a barman decades ago, I was asked by an elderly lady for "a Gin and IT". I had to confess I didn't know what it was and she explained it was "very popular in the 50s". Smiling, I said I supposed her mother must have told her about it. She made her husband buy me a drink not only that night, but every night until I left.

Bad though they may be for society in general, all stupid laws are marketing opportunities for someone (if only a lawyer). Tesco are treading on sensitive ground. I wish them luck in treading lightly.

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