With King County’s sheriff’s deputies getting ready to do their annual liquor sales patrols—also known as stings—it’s important for local businesses, cashiers, managers and owners to understand a few things.
First, that the person who bonks that bottle of wine or beer on the counter some time in the next few weeks might be younger than he or she looks and acts—and might be working with a cop outside to test you. So, second, you better know the rules.
The goal of these annual visits is to save lives by following the liquor law, says North Bend’s police chief Mark Toner.
When Toner and company run into minors who have alcohol, they always ask where the teens got it. They follow up right away, checking with store managers and employees to make sure they know the rules.
But it’s also standard procedure to run random stings to make sure everybody’s on their toes. Sheriff’s deputies and liquor agents don’t play games—with a possible year in jail and a $5,000 fine, not to mention loss of your job as a cashier if you screw up, plus a charge of furnishing liquor to a minor in your file, this is serious business. The teens who come in to try to test you don’t carry ID, and Toner says they don’t come in during a rush to trip up a flustered clerk. But they may come in singly, in twos or threes. The lesson is, no matter what, ask for that ID.
More big changes
We’ve been through a lot of changes, liquor-wise, in this Valley over the last year. From 1933, right after prohibition, until 2012, you couldn’t buy liquor anywhere but from a state agent. Today, the hard stuff is sold out of bigger stores and supermarkets, mostly. Small-time operators are few and far between, with Fall City’s decades-old store the exception that proves the rule.
More changes are coming. The state and county are pondering how newly legalized marijuana will be sold, and where. King County just held the Eastside’s sole town hall meeting on marijuana zoning this Wednesday, in Fall City, and it was a mite contentious.
While the locations for sale of marijuana in the county look to be few and far between, still, this time next year, county deputies could be conducting marijuana sales stings as well as checks on tobacco and liquor. It’s a whole new world.
It’s easy to forget that these substances, from cigs to booze to spliffs, are controlled for a reason.
As a society, we’ve collectively decided that drugs in general carry a risk, and that you shouldn’t have them until you’re mature enough to stand by your own decisions.
So know the law, be safe, and protect yourself and others.
• Bouncers, bartenders, servers and cashiers are the first line of defense when it comes to selling alcohol responsibly. They should be vigilant when checking ID, understand that they must refuse to sell someone alcohol if they are apparently intoxicated or under 21.
• Checking identification is an important part of ensuring legal sales. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license, ID card or instruction permit issued by any U.S. state or Canadian province, a Washington temporary driver license, military or Merchant Marine ID, a passport or a state Tribal Enrollment Card.
• A valid ID must show a date of birth, signature (except U.S. Military IDs), photo and expiration date (except Tribal Enrollment Cards)
Source: Washington Liquor Control Board