7-Eleven Inc. is taking a new and aggressive approach to enhance its social and corporate responsibility of illegal underage sales of age-restricted products. On April 16, the company will debut a new technology in each of its 1,600 7-Eleven stores in California that will scan the 2-D code on the back of a customer’s driver license or identification card when age-restricted products are being purchased.
This scan will verify the birth date stored on the card as well as the validity of the ID, but will not store any other information about the customer.
“We believe that this new system takes compliance at 7-Eleven to the next level,” said Keith Jones, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs for 7-Eleven Inc.
Illegal sales of age-restricted items to minors are a serious concern for California. Over the last 15 years laws have been enacted and enforced to restrict the sale of alcohol, tobacco and potential inhalants to minors. In 2011, out of all attempted illegal purchases by minors, only 5% were successful nationwide. That is the lowest failure rate ever, but there is still work to be done and preventative measures to be taken.
7-Eleven has been a pioneer in the fight against illegal underage sales for nearly 30 years. In 1984, 7-Eleven developed the “Come of Age” training and awareness program that specifically targeted illegal sale of alcohol to minors, after-hours sales, sales made on behalf of a minor and consuming alcohol on store premises. The program expanded in 1994 to include all age-restricted products: tobacco, lottery tickets and potential inhalants. This proactive and innovative mentality by 7-Eleven as a corporation is another piece of its corporate responsibility puzzle. The company invested one million dollars to upgrade all franchise registers, at no-cost to any of the franchisees.
“7-Eleven considers this a small price to pay to combat the serious nature of illegal under-age sales,” said a 7-Eleven spokesperson. “Penalties for such offenses are steep with an ultimate result of a possible loss of alcohol license.” With the largest number of 7-Eleven franchise stores residing in California, 7-Eleven is rolling out this new technology in California first with the rest of the country soon to follow.
7-Eleven also has partnered with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS)’s RUOK? [Are You O.K.?] campaign in the fight against drunk driving. Store personnel will wear buttons bearing the campaign slogan “RUOK? Stop asking stupid questions.” Eye-catching cooler clings featuring such questions as “What color is white wine?” highlights the idiocy similar to asking someone who is drunk if they are okay to drive, will also be featured in store throughout California.
“We greatly appreciate the partnership we have established between OTS and 7-Eleven,” said Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “We appreciate 7-Eleven’s efforts to support the fight against drunk driving with our partnership that allows them to carry our educational materials in their California stores. The company’s continued support of responsible and legal drinking is a testament to their corporate responsibility.”
The RUOK? campaign, launched by OTS in December 2011, will appear in 7-Eleven, Inc. stores across California in May as part of the corporate responsibility effort from 7-Eleven Inc.