American comedian Jack Handey asks: "What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get drunk?" With the recent good weather, this seems to be a question that many people are acting on; taking a few cold tinnies and hitting the park for the afternoon. The incident below is reported as exactly as I heard it told this week.
"It was a sunny afternoon, and a couple of youngsters came into the shop. They looked borderline under-age, certainly under 21, and I watched them peruse the beer fridge. They seemed confident, and had obviously done this before, but just to be sure, I asked to see ID before I served them. The young lad said: 'Yeah, no problem', pulled out his wallet, and showed me his UK passport card. I'd never seen one of these before, and asked him what it was. 'Yeah, I always get asked that, it's the new passport card' he said. It had a big Passport Office seal on the reverse, and the front had the details page from a passport on it. I think it had a hologram, it felt real, and I was convinced. They left, chatting calmly about heading down to the park.
"After they left, I had to nip out to bank some cash at the Post Office. While I was there, I mentioned that I'd just seen a passport card. The postmaster looked blankly at me, and informed me that there was no such thing. I realised I'd been had, that I'd sold alcohol to an under-age customer. I was angry with them, and with myself, for blowing years of diligent retailing with a simple fake ID scam. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I wasn't going to let some bloody kids scam me and put my livelihood at risk, I was going to do something about it.
"I got back to the shop . I grabbed our copy of their receipt, some money from the till, and set off for the park.
"When I got there, I found four of them lolling on the grass, with a couple of cans of beer open. I went over and crouched down next to the guy who had bought the beer. He recognised me, grinned a bit, but was still playing it cool. I explained to him that we both had a problem. I said I was now sure that he was under-age, and so I'd broken the law by mistakenly selling him beer, something that could cost me my licence and my livelihood. But on top of this, he'd also broken the law by buying beer under-age, and I was fairly sure that the fake ID he'd used probably wouldn't be received too well if the police got involved.
"I told him that what I was going to do was give them back their money, take back the unopened beers, and ask
them to pour away the beers they've got.
"They sat up and stared at me, eyes boggling slightly. Then one of them pipes up to the ringleader: 'You know, that's a pretty good deal'. 'OK then', says he. They give me back the beers, and I give them back their money. 'Did you come down here just to find us?' asks the ringleader. 'Yes, I'm taking this really seriously, and so should you', I say. 'Oh, right. Sorry then', he says."
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