Hello people who know a lot more about alcohol laws than me,
So a general gist of my question is, why is it legal for certain stores to deny the sale of alcohol to me (who is over 21) with a minor present (20 year old).
So some background information on this, on my 21st birthday I went to Sam's club with some friends to buy alcohol for my birthday party, I heard from other people that they would deny sale if not everyone in your party at checkout is over 21, so to avoid that hassle I had my friends just walk right past the checkout line and I purchased it by myself.
Yesterday afternoon I went to a Sam's Club near my place with one of my roommates (she is 20 years old). We were doing some apartment shopping for groceries and misc things for our place, and on the way out I was asked by my parents over the phone to pick up a few bottles of wine for dinner that night. Not thinking to much about it I grabbed a few bottles and threw it in my cart that was piled high with items. Once we shopped for everything on the list, we went to checkout, piled everything on the conveyor belt and had the sales associate scan it all. While I was standing there with my membership card and credit card and my roommate was loading stuff back into the cart, the associate got to the wine bottles and asked for the ID's of both myself AND my roommate for the sale of the alcohol. I argued saying that I was buying the alcohol for personal use not to give to the minor, and she called over her manager who confirmed what she said. That they have to ID everyone at the checkout lane and ensure that they are all over 21. Clearly my roommate couldn't meet that so they took the wine out and we continued our purchase.
Over this past weekend, I went to a Ralph's with my girlfriend (20 years old and she wasn't going to drink) and purchased some beer and mike's hard lemonade. We had a few other things to pick up so she carried one of 24 packs of alcohol to the register while I carried the rest. She went in first, and set the alcohol down and gave it the cashier to scan, and walked right on past to pick it up at the other end. I dropped off my stuff and after that they asked for my ID (which I gave without an issue) and I paid for it all and left. No hassle, no extra questions, nothing else.
I am under the assumption that stores "reserve the right to refuse service to anyone", but how does the denial of sale of alcohol work? Is this Sam's Club policy? Is it a California law? Is it a city/county law?
Some questions(plus the ones right above) that I would like answered if possible:
- Where is the law/rule that states you can't sell alcohol to a legal adult if a minor is present?
- Why was I able to purchase it at Ralph's without an issue? Was Ralph's the one in the wrong here for NOT denying the sale?
- If this law/policy does exist? What is the point of it if I can just make the minor wait outside, purchase it, and give it to them?
- When I was a kid my Dad purchased alcohol (beer) all the time at Wal-Mart, Ralphs, etc (not at Sam's Club as far as I can recall), and never had this issue. If a minor went with him and he wanted to purchase alcohol, would they deny him for the exact same reason they denied me? If they wouldn't have denied it to him why would they have denied it to me (profiling)?
- Is the purpose of this law/policy just to make it more difficult to give alcohol to minors? It doesn't change the fact that the person purchasing it is over 21 (and they accept the liabilities if they do end up giving it to a minor) and can just go next door and purchase alcohol there?
I am not pissed that they denied the sale as I should've paid more attention like I did the first time, I was just rather annoyed that I had to drive to another alcohol selling location and pay more there. I am mainly curious as to why this happened.