RAF officer banned from buying alcohol because he was shopping with son,17

Daily Mail
24.07.2009

An RAF squadron leader was banned from buying wine at a supermarket - because his 17-year-old son was with him.

Father-of-three Mark Giles, 42, popped to Sainsbury’s buy food for dinner and took son Ian to help carry the bags.

Along with his other groceries, he picked up three bottles of red wine which were on offer, but was stunned when the cashier asked if Ian had any proof of age.

Even though Mr Giles explained that the alcohol was not for his son, the cashier refused to sell the alcohol to either of them.

Furious, he demanded to see the manager, who said it was Sainsbury’s policy not to serve alcohol to anyone accompanied by a child.

He said: ‘I couldn’t believe it. I was fuming. I tried to explain that I was just shopping with my son and the wine was for my wife and me, but they wouldn’t listen.

‘| totally agree that they need to crack down on underage drinking, but I was just a dad out buying a normal selection of groceries with his son.

‘Does this mean they won’t serve alcohol to a mum who is shopping with a toddler? Sainsbury’s is basically saying it is no longer a family-friendly supermarket.’

The RAF officer and Ian, who turns 18 in December, said they had picked up around £25 of groceries from the store in Melksham, Wiltshire including two lasagnes, garlic bread, green salad, two bottles of Coke and three bottles of red wine.

Mr Giles added: ‘I just left all the food where it was and walked out.’

Mr Giles later popped into a local Tesco store with youngest son Christopher, 14, and bought the same items - including wine - without question.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s said the checkout worker insisted on ID because Ian had ‘presented’ the alcohol by placing it on the conveyor belt.

She added: ‘In this instance it appeared that the person who was underage was buying alcohol so our colleague was legally obliged to refuse the sale.’

She said the policy is not a blanket ban on parents buying alcohol when accompanied by children, but that staff must use their discretion in each individual case.

A spokesman for Tesco said it operated the same policy but said they would never prevent a parent shopping with a child from buying alcohol.

Full article

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