Oklahoma Bill Would Ban Alcohol Sales at Self-Checkout Stands

February 28, 2012

An Oklahoma state lawmaker has filed legislation aimed at curbing the sale of alcohol to minors by requiring face-to-face interaction for alcohol purchases.

House Bill 2725, by Democratic Leader Scott Inman, would disallow the sales of alcohol at self-serve checkout stands.

“Self-serve checkout stands are in most of our supermarkets as well as many grocery stores where alcohol is sold,” said Inman, D-Del City. “In these stores, one quarter of all transactions is occurring at these self-checkout machines. I know that the automated kiosks are popular with store owners as they claim it keeps prices competitive and they may also be convenient for some customers who are in a hurry. But an unfortunate consequence of these stands is that at times minors have been able to buy alcohol by cheating the system. My bill simply seeks to require that alcohol be purchased through a sales clerk and not a self-checkout machine.”

A recent study, “Self-Checkout: Is It Reliable for Selling Alcohol?,” by the Community Economic Development Clinic at the University of California, found that participants were able to override the self-checkout system or purchase alcohol without an employee’s assistance 20 percent of the time.

Low numbers of employees supervising self-checkout machines, obstructed views and long wait times enhanced the risk of error in monitoring alcohol purchase and may make it easier for customers to purchase alcohol illegally, either through deception or theft.

“I have personally witnessed times when the self-checkout stands were completely unmanned. When stores are busy and understaffed, it’s difficult if not impossible to keep track of all the registers,” said Leader Inman. “Inadequate staffing, inconsistent monitoring and computer failures are allowing our young adults to illegally purchase alcohol, and I simply want to make sure that we stop any future instances in which a six-pack of soda is scanned, but a six-pack of beer is bagged.”

HB 2725 passed out of the Appropriations and Budget Committee and is now pending a hearing by the full body of the House.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives

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