A recent event reported by a Mount Juliet High School student and employee of Kroger caused one of its store policies to change. The conflict sparked a controversial question: Should minor employees be allowed to touch and sell alcohol?
At Kroger, a young, teenage girl was working as a cashier when a customer attempted to purchase alcohol.
“She couldn’t scan the alcohol. The customer was getting really mad because… a lot of people just get mad. Probably because they want their alcohol as soon as possible,” said the student employee.
In the state of Tennessee, it is against the law for minors to buy, possess, sell or dispense alcohol.
Workers can sell and dispense alcohol as an employee at a restaurant or grocery store after the age of 18 but cannot legally purchase or drink it until the age of 21.
This means that if an adult wants to purchase alcohol at store, but a minor is currently the cashier, the worker has to call an older employee or supervisor to check the item out for them.
This can cause the checkout and bagging process to take longer than expected. Usually, it is only a small inconvenience.
The anonymous employee said, “It was a little bit of a wait, because we were busy and we only have one supervisor. After she scanned it, he was being really irritable and he asked her, ‘Why are they able to bag it, but not able to scan it?’”
The manager attempted to explain the situation, but instead, the customer complained to Human Resources.
Now, underage employees are not permitted to scan any alcohol products. Additionally, underage workers can’t bag or stock them throughout the store.
By applying stricter alcohol regulations, teenagers have less jobs available to them. Due to these rules, high school students have more difficulty being hired.
Even if students are able to get jobs at places that serve or sell alcohol, they have to deal with inconveniences like this.
When asked what customers at grocery stores should take from this, the Kroger employee said, “If you’re going to buy your alcohol at a grocery store instead of a liquor store, just be able to deal with what’s gonna happen.”