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MILWAUKEE - Roundy's is rolling out a new policy requiring employees at all of the company's grocery stores to check the identifications of anyone seeking to purchase alcohol or tobacco -- no matter how old the consumer appears.
The new policy, which became effective on Nov. 22 and will be implemented in all Roundy's Rainbow Foods stores in Minnesota early next year, was adopted in an effort to lower the levels of drinking and smoking by minors, thereby making Roundy's communities safer and helping local law enforcement agencies, according to company officials.
When asked how the program was working so far, Roundy's director of communications Lynn Guyer told Progressive Grocer: "To our knowledge, the new policy has been totally effective in the legal compliance category. We continue to work through some service challenges presented by lack of identification at checkout, keeping with our goal that no customer of legal age will be denied a purchase because of identification issues."
Wisconsin purchasers must be at least 18 to buy tobacco products and at least 21 to purchase alcoholic beverages. Roundy's previous policy was for cashiers to check the identifications of customers who seemed to be 30 or younger.
"The 'We Card Because We Care' initiative is a win-win proposition," said Roundy's chairman, c.e.o., and president Robert A. Mariano in a statement. "Communities gain with better restriction of underage alcohol and tobacco sales, and Roundy's wins by streamlining our process and removing judgment calls from cashiers. The program will help ensure that only those who are of legal age to use tobacco or alcohol will be able to purchase it from our stores. That's a big step toward keeping our communities' youth safe and healthy."
According to Randy Williams, president of the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and chief of the Onalaska, Wis. Police Department, Roundy's is the first supermarket company in the state to adopt such a policy.
Roundy's operates 128 stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota under such banners as Pick 'n Save, Copps Food Centers, and Rainbow Foods, and employs over 20,000 associates.
-- Bridget Goldschmidt