Editorial: RhodeMap policy redundant

Published: Friday, October 28, 2005  

10/28/05 - Recently, about 20 Narragansett liquor stores, bars and restaurants signed a Cooperating Tavern Agreement as part of the University of Rhode Island 's Common Ground campaign to promote responsible alcohol services and sales.

The agreement states that participants will post a storefront sign reading that their business is a member in good standing of the RhodeMap to Safety's Cooperating Tavern Program.

The agreement also states that employers will instruct their employees to confiscate fake IDs and notify them on a regular basis that their establishment "strongly supports policies of Responsible Beverage Service."

We at the Cigar aren't convinced that this is really necessary. The participants, including the Coast Guard House, Bonnet Liquors, O'Neil's Store and the Wheel House, should already be practicing responsible alcohol sales. A piece of paper posted in a liquor store is not going to deter anyone from trying to use a fake ID if they were already planning to do so. And if a liquor store needs to be told it is illegal to sell alcohol to a minor, then no piece of paper is going to change its policies.

The Tavern Agreement shows that these establishments want to send a message saying that they care about the community and about being in good standing. Who, in the first place, said that they didn't?

Contacted business owners said the agreement would change nothing concerning their current policies.

We at the Cigar understand that it is important that there is a strong partnership between the university, community and local liquor stores and taverns to help decrease the problems associated with underage and heavy drinking.

However, it would more effective for the university to spend their money educating students about drinking heavily or drunk driving. The problem does not lie in the stores that sell to underage students, the problem is the underage student who feels the need to go out and use a fake ID to get alcohol illegally. The only way to combat a problem like this is to make a case why this shouldn't be necessary - cut it off at the source, rather than go to the liquor stores.

Also, this agreement lets those students - who use fake IDs to buy alcohol - know just which liquor stores they shouldn't go to. These are the stores that are obviously not going to accept the fake IDs, and any smart student will be able to keep using a fake ID by going somewhere else.