MEDFORD, Ore. – Sunday an underage customer between 18 and 20 walked into the Thrifty Nifty Market and 9 others in Medford in an attempt to buy alcohol. The attempts were part of a police operation and resulted in three stores selling to the minor including this location on west Jackson Street.
When underage customers step up to the register with alcohol at the Thrifty Nifty Market, clerk Josh Emery said he hears it all.
“‘Oh you know me, just this one time,’ or “Well then fine, I’m going to go to another store,” said Emery.
While he said he’s turned down countless minors, another store employee did not. Sunday, Medford Police teamed up with the O.L.C.C. and tested the compliance of 10 random convenience stores. Of the 10, 3 failed, including Emery’s Thrifty Nifty. Emery said the owner immediately fired the employee who will be charged with a misdemeanor. As far as penalties for the store, he said they are still waiting to find out.
“The owners cannot be here at all times, so we rely heavily on our employees to finish and to follow through on what they’re supposed to do, what they’re hired for,” said Emery.
The now-former Thrifty Nifty employee reportedly manually entered an older age for the underage customer. Emery says be it cigarettes or alcohol, underage costumers will not be getting away with anything.
“We have a business to run here. It’s my job to check ID’s and it’s my job to make sure if you’re not old enough, I can’t sell you alcohol, or cigarettes for that matter,” said Emery.
While Emery said this is the first time the store has failed under the current owner, Medford Police said underage drinking is a problem city-wide and are hoping to cut the problem off at the source.
“What we’re after is the bigger picture here. We’re trying to address the folks who are giving these juveniles alcohol. What’s the problem,” said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.
Emery said customers can count on an even greater emphasis will be placed on checking I.D.’s.
“It’s not a store-wide thing. We don’t all not check I.D.’s so you know, be prepared to have your I.D. out to show us to let us know you’re of age,” said Emery.
Emery estimated about 100 under age customers attempt to buy alcohol every week, and cans of Mike’s Hard Lemonade are what they seems to go after most.