A mum has sparked a social media storm after her post sharing an ‘embarrassing’ experience at her local ALDI went viral.
The NSW woman who prefers to remain anonymous tells Yahoo Lifestyle she never expected to stir up such passionate debate when she shared her experience of being almost refused service when she tried to buy a bottle of wine in front of her kids.
The mum wrote on an Aldi fan Facebook page that she was doing a quick shop with her teenagers when she had the manager called over her attempt to pick up a bottle of red.
“While waiting in line I grabbed a bottle of alcohol to purchase, [and] the cashier said she needed to check with her manager if she could sell the alcohol as I had two children in uniform,” the post read.
“She called the manager and was told that it was at the cashier discretion if she could sell it to me!’
The mum tells Yahoo that while ultimately she was allowed to buy the wine, she was seriously embarrassed by the incident which unfolded in front of the whole store and felt like she was being treated like a bad parent.
“My kids were embarrassed, I was embarrassed,” she says. “I had people looking at me like I’m a sh** mother.”
She says she doesn’t blame the cashier but insists that if Aldi has a policy that cashiers can refuse to serve parents with children, they should advertise it.
Aldi said in a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle that their employees have the right to refuse service if they have any concerns the person buying presents a ‘risk’.
“The sale of alcohol can be refused if a minor has handled alcohol that could be potentially purchased by an adult for the minor’s consumption,” a spokesperson says. “This also extends to a minor accompanying an adult purchasing alcohol, even if the minor has not physically touched an alcoholic product.”
“It is the store’s responsibility to refuse any customer who presents a risk and ultimately it is at the discretion of the person serving to decline the sale should they have any doubts or concerns.”
They also pointed to the hefty fines as a reason they take the rules so seriously.
“There are severe consequences for breaching laws and policies set in place by the Australian government involving the sale of alcohol,” they say. As such ALDI faces heavy penalties should we sell alcohol to any customer who supplies to a person under the age of 18.”
Debate over whether RSA impacts parents with minors
The post has already attracted over 10000 comments from people who have had similar experiences, and from those who say the girl was simply acting in accordance with RSA laws.
“Anyone complaining needs to realise these people need to abide by RSA laws,” one woman wrote on the post.
RSA laws in NSW do not restrict the sale of alcohol to an adult who has children with them, but the law does mandate that any person selling alcohol can refuse service if they think the buyer is buying the alcohol on behalf of a minor.
At the same time, there is some reasonable confusion given it is still legal in the state for a parent to supply their own child with alcohol within their own home.
Liquor & Gaming NSW tells Yahoo Lifestyle that there is no law requiring RSA holders to refuse service to people in the company of a minor, but secondary supply to minors is something they consider a serious risk.
“It is an offence under NSW law for people to obtain alcohol on behalf of a minor unless they are a parent or guardian or an authorised agent of a parent or guardian,” a spokesperson said in a statement.\they did clarify.
“There is no law requiring that people in the company of a minor must be refused service of alcohol.”
“Secondary supply of alcohol to minors is a significant risk. Many stores will address this risk through policies that restrict the sale of alcohol to customers accompanied by a minor. This is a matter for individual businesses.”
They say that the department ‘encourages licensees to put in place whatever measures they deem appropriate’ to manage the secondary supply to minors.
Shoppers debate ‘ridiculous’ policy
Some agreed that it was ridiculous to assume she was supplying to her own children.
“I find this hilarious!” one wrote. “If you were buying for kids you wouldn’t bring them in with you, people are so stupid!!”
“I get they’re doing their job but I defo understand the frustration of the original poster,” another wrote.
It seems others have run into the same at other venues.
“I was with my mum and they said they couldn’t sell it because I was with her,” one minor wrote.
“Yup had this happen to me a few times,” another agreed.
Others argued the RSA laws had gone too far, saying even if the cashier wasn’t to blame, it was ‘ridiculous’.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard,” one woman wrote. “I’m sorry this happened to you, I wouldn’t have liked it either.”
Others pointed out that with workers facing an $11,000 fine for selling alcohol to a minor, its an annoyance that shouldn’t be taken too personally.
“She gets fined by authorities personally so don’t be offended,” one advised. “I get it. No Aldi job is worth a fine.”