After going to Red Lobster with my wife, I had to do a follow-up to my article ‘Legislation: Why Can’t Less Be More?‘.
You see, my wife ordered an alcoholic beverage, and the waitress was tediously careful to give her a black straw. Puzzled, I inquired the reason and was told it was a policy to make it easier for inspectors to determine if they were in compliance with not serving alcohol to minors.
Apparently, some youngin’ was served an alcoholic beverage by mistake somewhere in their vast nationwide chain. I doubt the kid was harmed, but do not doubt heads rolled. Now they have separate stations for beverages, which makes sense, even if it’s a huge effort to avoid the rarest of mistakes.
But equally apparent is the belief that color-coding straws will somehow fix the problem, as if a wrong-colored straw could not be used just as easily as a wrong drink served. In fact, all it will do is make it MORE difficult for an inspector to determine the situation.
The idiocy of such policies and regulations are often lost on those of us prone to emotional over-reaction, justified only by more of the same. It needs to stop, or be stopped, by the pressure of wiser citizens, who undoubtedly will be vilified for it. If American history was a bible, this would surely be the era of Lamentations.
You would think the opposite would need to be true, that they would have to give a specific color to the minor, not the adult. So what about a glass with no straw?? What if I take the straw out after the server leaves?? Did I break a law?? Am I going to have to tape the tag back on my mattress now??
This is as effective as the old “X” on the back of a minor’s hands at a concert. All they have to do is go in the washroom and pull out a bar of LAVA or any other pumice soap. Would that mean a person who even looks 15 could get served just because they don’t have the “X” on his hands anymore?
The one thing that continues to be overlooked is this simple fact : It is only illegal to SELL alcohol to minors, it is NOT illegal for a minor to consume alcohol. A parent or guardian is completely within thier rights, and it is not considered illegal, to allow thier minor child to consume alcohol in moderation. Only on grounds of neglect or danger to the welfare of the minor could this practice be questioned.
So, since I doubt the child is picking up the bill for his entire family’s meal, the parent, who is paying the bill, is within thier rights to order a beer or mixed drink for thier child, since the server is accepting the order from an adult, and it is that adult who is paying the tab.
Of course, this isn’t the way life works. The moment alcohol is allowed to touch the lips of a minor, it is considered contribution to the delinquency of a minor.