As a youth volunteer enters a tobacco retailer while doing our WI Wins compliance checks they have their ID's ready for display. When the employee doesn't ask, the youth leaves with a face of shock. Other times the clerk asks for the ID, after "checking" the ID, they decided to sell tobacco anyways....what we call a math error. Usually the clerk just didn't take the time to determine the teens age. So which scenario happens more often? Well that happened to be a question at our latest MJC "Mega-Meeting"....and now we have the answer!
For our MJC area, 62% of the time the employee simply didn't ask for an ID. There were 12 incidents (out of 32) where the clerk "checked" the ID, but then completed a sale of tobacco to the youth. It could be a variety of reasons for the sale to occur, however most of the time its due to the clerk making a error with the date of birth.
Individually, each county was different. In Sheboygan Co., 100% of sales were due to the clerk not asking for an ID. Manitowoc Co. clerks asked, but made a mistake 88% of the time when a sale occurred. While Winnebago Co. was more equal, with 60% of the sales being attributed to an error being made with the date of birth. Door and Kewaunee have NO SALES so far this year.
When it comes to statewide stats, its a "coin-flip". Of the 467 sales in Wisconsin, 52% of them where due to a "ID checking error". And what about the clerks that just don't ask.....that happen 48% of the time.