I was talking to the check out assistant in the supermarket this evening, after being asked to provide ID to buy some Pimm's. She said their store policy now was to ask anybody who looked under 25 for ID, and sometimes anybody who looked under 30! This was suprising given the 'challenge 21' signs plastered about the place.
So, the legal age to purchase alcohol is 18. The outward facing policy is to ask for ID anybody who looks under 21, and actual policy adds between 4 and 9 years to this.
According to the assistant, this was because they (and I'm not sure if this is the company or the checkout staff) were doing this because they got in trouble if they were caught selling alcohol to under age people (fairly obviously). She said it was making her paranoid about it. According to her, the police were (or were thought to be) sending in people to test the store. This does happen, but I'd assumed that it was done with under-18's. According to the person I spoke with, this also happens with people who are over-18, but look under-18.
how's that judged or assessed?
Anyway, nice way to make workers paranoid. If I was being paranoid, I'd tie this to the post below. If you're between 18 and 25(or 30!) there's another pressure to tie into assorted forms of identification - documentary rather than organic or negotiated. Discretion is removed from people in workplaces by giving these massive 'margins of error' because companies are not confident enough in the abilities of their employees to make judgement calls, whilst making them paranoid about failing in those judgement calls.