MOST women over the age of 30 would find it the ultimate compliment. But for one mum, being refused service for failing to prove she was over 25 at her local supermarket was laughable – given she’s pushing 50.
Elaine Crosbie had gone to Morrison’s, at the Gyle, for her usual weekly grocery shop when she was stopped in her tracks at the checkout.
The mum-of-two was just about to pay for her shopping, which included a small bottle of vodka, when the assistant asked for proof of age.
“She said she was going to ask me a question and I joked ‘you’re not going to ask my age’, but she did,” said Elaine.
“I thought she was being funny. I don’t look 47 but I don’t look under 25, that’s just ridiculous. At the time, I was just gobsmacked. I didn’t want to create a scene, it was just hilarious.
“I told her I was nearly 50 and told her I’d been shopping there for years but she wouldn’t have it. It was really embarrassing because there was a queue behind and they were obviously wondering what was going on.
“I ended up having to pay for my shopping and leave the alcohol because of their staff making a silly mistake.”
Elaine, of Drumbrae, had taken her 17-year-old daughter, Natalie Lennox, with her to the shop. The student could not believe it when the employee, who they think was in her mid-50s, accused her mum of being just seven years older than she was.
She added: “Natalie said she couldn’t believe it. She said, ‘I’m not being cheeky mum but you don’t look under 25’.”
Elaine had no way of proving her age because she does not have a driving licence and had no other form of identification.
She called for the store manager but was astounded when he backed the check-out worker.
He explained that it was the counter staff’s decision on whether to sell her the booze or not, as it was she who stood to lose her licence or incur a fine if she was underage.
Despite security staff backing her claims she was a regular customer, she was advised to take her birth certificate with her the next time she visited – or face the same problem.
Elaine said the experience had left a bitter taste, despite the backwards compliment.
She added: “It’s nice for someone to say you don’t look 47 but to say you look 24 or 25 is just ridiculous.”
A Morrison’s spokesman stood by its policy – which requires staff to ask anyone for identification when they felt they looked under 25.
“We are required by law to police the sale of alcohol and take our responsibility very seriously. As part of this, we have adopted Challenge 25, a policy of asking for identification from anyone who doesn’t look over the age of 25.”
Since October 2011 it’s been mandatory for places that sell booze to have a policy in place across Scotland. Challenge 25 training ensures anyone who looks 25 or under is asked to prove they are over 18. Accredited ID, a passport or a driving licence are all accepted ways of proving age when asked.