For the most part, it’s easy to see why most establishments that find themselves in the I-sold-alcohol-to-a-minor hot seat at a liquor control Adjudication Board hearing are facing the music. A clerk never carded a customer or a bartender just gave a careless glance at an ID—you can argue over the merits of the law, but the violations are clear. But every once in a while, a case goes before the board that is so petty it borders on the ridiculous.
The case against Lamont’s, a small retail store in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, is one such case. On Aug. 5, 2005 at about 8:20 at night, Lamont’s got busted for selling a six-pack of Bacardi Silver 03 malt liquor to a minor decoy working for the LC.
According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeffrey Temas, the minor walked up to the cash register with the booze. The clerk then asked the minor for her ID, which she handed over.
Because Lamont’s has a cash register that requires the customer’s date of birth for all alcohol sales, the clerk then punched in the minor’s birthday. And here’s where things went sour for Lamont’s. According to the LC’s reports on the matter, the clerk entered Dec. 2, 1966 as the birthday and rang up the sale.
Which would have been great, except the minor’s birthday was actually Dec. 2, 1986. Had the clerk entered that birthday into the register, it would have froze up. When interviewed later by the investigating LC officer, the clerk said she didn’t know why she entered 1966 as the minor’s year of birth, though she seemed sure that’s what the ID said.
Unlike many other cases that go before the board, Lamont’s clerk seemed to have tried to do the right thing. She actually carded the minor and attempted to input the correct date of birth into her cash register—not simply punch in 1-1-1-1-1-1 to speed the customer through like so many other clerks apparently do.
Still, Lamont’s didn’t try to fight the case. Pleading no contest to a single charge of selling alcohol to a minor, they wound up with a $2,000 fine, $500 of which was suspended pending no further such violations for a year.