Here in the England the legal age for drinking is 18 years of age. However, many shops now operate what is known as the challenge 21 policy, which has been endorsed by Trading Standards and the Police. If a sales assistant thinks that a person purchasing alcohol is under 21 then they have to ask him/her for proof that they are 18 or over. This could either be a driving license, proof of age card, utility bill, or student card. The problem from the perspective of a Sales Assistant is that you will not know how the customer will react once you have asked them for proof of age. It is even worse if they are in a group, and the Sales Assistant is the only employee in the store. It can be very intimidating. Especially, when you do not have any immediate backup, and you work in an industry which is so driven by profit. All of which is provided by the customer.
Another problem which occurs is that the customer could turn and ask another customer who looks over 21 to buy the alcohol. You then have to explain to the other customer that you cannot let them purchase the alcohol due to the fact that you believe that the alcohol is actually for the person who has not managed to produce any I.D when asked.
Alcohol is a very social drug, and people are encouraged to drink it when they go for a night out. It makes you feel warm even though it makes no difference to your internal organs which still feel the heat. It can turn people into alcoholics and even in the most extreme cases damage the liver. It is also something which effects the brains of adolescents more than the brains of adults. Alcohol should be drank in moderation.
Society has to change with regards to its view of alcohol. You see pubs and shops offering alcohol for such cheap prices that it only serves to encourage societies dependencies on alcohol. You have packaging which is supposed to appeal to female and young drinkers. You also have terms such as ‘alco-pops’. In my view if people want to eliminate the problem of underage drinking they have to change the attitude of society as a whole.