A father was refused alcohol at a supermarket for joking to his young daughter: “That's your beer sorted out”.
Kieran O'Sullivan, 48, from Hove, said he was refused four cans of lager at a Co-op supermarket because an “overzealous cashier” overheard the joke he cracked while queuing to pay for his groceries.
The incident took place at the supermarket's branch in Ham Road, Worthing, on Wednesday.
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Mr O'Sullivan, a teacher, said: “So there I am, this middle aged, middle income, average Joe, cracking an innocent joke to my entirely sober 12-year-old daughter when the cashier narrows her eyes and says, 'I'll have to see your ID, sir.'
“I asked if she was kidding, but then she asked to see my daughter's ID, which made me laugh.
“She said that by law, if you make a comment about purchasing alcohol for a child then they had to see both our IDs.
“I asked to speak to the manager but instead of using his judgement, he backed his employee up and said it was the law.
“I told them I was clearly not getting alcohol for my daughter and the law was all about judgement and about circumstances. But they refused.”
Mr O'Sullivan said he was told by the cashier he would have been asked for ID “even if a four-year-old points at a scratch card”.
He left the store empty handed and called Co-op head office to make a complaint - only to be told staff were sticking to the law.
He added: “I'll never go back there again. In 48 years on this planet I've never had anything like it.”
A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said the sale was refused because Mr O'Sullivan's daughter was unable to prove she was over 18.
They said: “All our stores operate a Challenge 25 policy, where potential purchasers of age-restricted products who appear to be under the age of 25 years are asked to provide proof that they are 18 or over.
“This policy also applies to anyone who is with the purchaser at the time, if there is any possibility that the alcohol could be for consumption by a minor. If no proof of age can be provided, then the sale must be refused.
“On this occasion the young person accompanying the customer was unable to provide proof of being aged 18 or over, and so the sale was refused.”