A Lower Mainland liquor store has been ordered to pay a $7,000 fine after one of their clerks sold alcohol to a minor in a sting operation.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) fined the Langley Liquor Store, at 20821 Fraser Highway, in an April 12 ruling.
On Dec. 9, 2022, the liquor store, owned by Langley Holdings, was the target of a routine check by the Minors as Agents Program (MAP), which uses teenagers to make sure stores aren’t selling alcohol to underage kids.
Last November, the LCRB sent out notices to liquor stores across B.C. telling them that the MAP was taking place.
Minor agents are teens between 16 and 18 years old who simply go into liquor stores, monitored by LCRB inspectors who are on site at the same time, and try to buy alcohol.
If they’re asked for ID, they simply say they don’t have any on them, and leave.
Since liquor store clerks are supposed to ask for ID from anyone who appears under the age of 30, that should make them easy to catch.
In this case, however, the minor bought and paid for a six pack of beer without being challenged. It was the fifth of 10 random MAP inspections in the area that day.
During the March hearing, the store’s manager testified that they regularly get minors coming into the store trying to buy alcohol, but that all employees have had a Serving It Right course, and know to ask for ID before service. He also testified that they have even used mystery shoppers who appeared to be under 30 and checked to make sure staff were asking for ID.
The clerk who sold the six pack to the teenager had been working at Langley Liquor Store for just three weeks.
Because there had been no previous infractions for the Langley store, it faces a lower-end penalty, a $7,000 fine. Fines can rise to $11,000, and the LCRB can also impose a shutdown of seven to 11 days for stores that have breached the rules.
A sign announcing the penalty is to be placed in a prominent location in the store by a LCRB inspector or a police officer.
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