I am seething with righteous indignation, and bang-your-head-on-the-wall-with-the-stupidity-of-it-all frustration.
I had read about such things, but thought they must have been a one-off over-enthusiastic interpretation of company policy. But no, it seems it is company policy.
Bear with me while I get this off my chest.
I have just been to Somerfield for a little bit of top-up shopping, taking no. 2 son (19 3/4) with me to help carry stuff. I was delighted to spot that a rather nice red wine was still on offer, so I added a bottle to the basket in anticipation of my friend Donna coming round. So all the shopping was put through and neatly packed, when the checkout guy gets to the wine, and says - to me, mind, not son - has he got ID? No, I said, it's my shopping. Doesn't matter, he said. If anyone with you looks under 25 (and that's bloody stupid in itself) we can't serve you without ID.
So I did what any sensible person would have done, tipped my bags back out onto the counter and walked out. Wish he had had his ID, then I would have shown it and then tipped my bags back out onto the counter and walked out.
I've tried without success to track down the actual policy, but it seems to suggest that if you have anyone with you who is under eighteen, even a toddler, they won't serve you. Where does this mindblowingly stupid and pointless policy come from? The law hasn't changed; it's just companies wringing their hands and trying to look as if they're doing something about 'binge drinking'. So no. 2 son could go with his ID and buy 24 cans of cut price Stella, but I can't buy a bottle of half decent wine.
It is in fact perfectly legal for me to give a child over five alcohol in my own home, should I wish to, but the supermarket powers that be have decided that they know better than the law and will not allow the slightest possibility that this might happen. Of course, if I was buying alcohol on behalf of someone who was under age, they'd keep out of sight, wouldn't they? So the policy achieves nothing; it is completely and utterly just for show.
Once one supermarket adopts such a stupid policy, then surely they all will, because no one wants to look 'soft' on under age drinking. As an aside, I think this will only worsen the problem of public drunkenness among the marginally-over eighteens, who don't get the chance to learn to drink responsibly in the company of adults an an impressionable age.
So if I want to buy a bottle of wine, or a few bottles of beer, I have to go on my own, as if it were almost something shameful, and without a willing sprog to help carry the bags, make a special trip separate from the main shopping.
And worst of all - as I already said - this is not some change in the law; it is not the law at all (which in itself is pretty sensible). It is the supermarkets (ab)using their own immense market power to pre-empt the law; to regulate the behaviour of their customers; to set themselves up as being able to improve upon the law.
If they really cared about underage drinking or excessive drinking, they could just stop selling alcohol. But they won't do that all the time half price lager draws in the eighteen year olds and the piss heads. Instead they look as if they're doing something by stigmatising the purchase of a bottle of wine.