The other day, a supermarket in the UK refused to sell a bottle of wine to a 47-year-old grandmother because she couldn't prove she was over 18. She finally got her cheap Claret elsewhere. The story is in the Daily Mail, which isn't exactly a supporter of the current government - it's more of a "bring back hanging for murderers, lefties and illegal immigrants" type of paper. Naturally then, they would blame the government, wouldn't they? But perhaps this time they've got a point.
With the introduction of bigger fines, the retailers are getting stricter. Obviously, this is a good thing in that it presumably means that underage sales are falling, but it can be inconvenient for everyone else. Although strangely, despite my youthful good looks, no one has seen fit to challenge me (not that I ever carry ID).
In fact, a few weeks ago the woman on the checkout looked at me and said something sarcastic like "No point asking you if you're old enough!". Maybe her eyesight isn't so good, or something.
Recently they've started to get stricter, not just about checking the age of people buying booze, but also of those selling it. Now, I know that on paper the idea of allowing, say, a 15 or 16 year old to sell alcohol sounds wrong, but as usual they didn't think about the consequences before they changed the rules.
Perhaps it's because I tend to go shopping after work, but there always appear to be a lot of acne-covered teenagers on the tills at my local supermarket. If you've got a bottle of wine, or whatever, this holds up the queue while they get the supervisor to come over and authorise the sale. "Alcoholic at till 15".
Consequently I have now got into the habit of checking out the checkout assistants. I walk along, looking eagerly for a hint of grey, or a less than perfect complexion. If need be, I'll queue for slightly longer at my chosen till, rather than pick the one that is empty, but staffed by someone who might not be old enough to sell me the Demon Drink.
Maybe I should start asking them for ID. Or since, despite appearances, I'm not getting any younger, their phone numbers?