By Meghan Powers and Katherine Rouse
Asst. Arts & Life/ Web Editors
“I had always heard that IGA was tough with IDs, however, I never expected to have trouble once I turned 21,” says Audrey Fitzpatrick ‘16. Numerous Denison students over 21 have experienced difficulties with purchasing alcohol at the local IGA Granville Market.
These problems have to do with students not having the proper forms of identification and being unaware of Ohio state laws which put strict regulations on what forms of identification can and cannot be accepted.
There are three valid documents according to Ohio state law. Alcohol buying customers must have a United States issued drivers license, an Ohio identification card or a military identification. Proper identification cannot be expired, as Ohio does not offer extensions, through attached forms or certificates.
The Granville Market has had trouble with of age customers trying to buy alcohol with the wrong form of ID. Geoff Ross, Beer, Wine and Liquor Department Manager, says, “This happens pretty regularly, at least once a week, probably even more.”
According to Mary Glancy, Store Manager, “Passports are the one thing customers try to use more than anything else.” The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol does not accept passports, as they can easily be forged and are not considered a true form of identification due to their application process. Therefore, if Granville Market did take a passport as a legitimate form of identification, the Bureau of Alcohol and State of Ohio would not support them if the passport turned out to be fake.
Beyond these laws, cashier workers must also use their best discretion when deciding whether or not someone has a real identification. Granville Market often has trouble with underage customers trying to use fake IDs and have modified policies based on Ohio regulation changes.
When a customer buys alcohol, the cashier must check their ID with a booklet provided by the state. If the ID does not compare well with the booklet version, for example in color, the cashier may ask the customer for a second form of ID.
Cashier’s caution is due to the fine they will receive if they are caught selling to an underage customer. “They’ve increased the penalties for those who sell to underage customers to a pretty hefty fine,” Glancy says. The cashiers are kept up to date with common faults in fake identifications and trained by the state of Ohio about how to deal with these situations.
Cashiers must also be careful with groups coming in together with just one individual buying the alcohol. Eric Wolf, Enforcement Commander with the Ohio Investigative Unit, says there is no official Ohio state law that informs clerks to ID someone accompanying an of age alcohol buyer.
However, if there are actions observed by the clerk, like an exchange of money at the cash register, they have the right to ID the entire party in order to protect themselves from any liabilities. This decision is ultimately up to the cashier’s judgement as they are the ones liable for who they sell to.
Though difficulty with proper identification is something that Granville Market must deal with regularly, the store’s managers encourage Denison students to understand their situation. “We do want to do business with you guys, and we try to be fair, but we have to follow the regulations,” Ross says.
Photo Courtesy of Linh Nguyen