Thirteen Stores Get "Stung" For Selling To Minors

Thirteen convenience and liquor store clerks will pay the price for selling alcohol to minors. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office conducted another "sting" operation over the weekend. The goal is to cut off the supply of beer and booze to underage drinkers. It also helps law enforcers find out which stores and which clerks aren't following the law.

Clerks say it's a constant battle to do the right thing. Hundreds of people come through Kim Green's check out each day at the Dodge Store in Gautier. She greets everyone with a smile. Everyone except teens trying to buy beer. Don't waste her time with excuses. She's heard them all.

"I know my age and I get carded everywhere I go, so they should expect it too. Because we go to jail over that, and it ain't worth me losing my job over," clerk Kim Green said.

"We have a company policy that says if they look under 30 then we ask them for an ID... We say if they don't look like your grandma ask them for an ID," store manager Shelley Shumock said.

Besides the grandma rule, Clerks receive special training to help spot fake ids and handle teens trying to fool them.

"We have classes where we educate them, show them what a fake ID looks like, go over some of the excuses. I've even been to classes where we role play as someone coming and asking and what would you say and just trying to get them ready for the pressure because it is a lot of pressure," Shumock said.

Sheriff Mike Byrd says he and his department don't want to add to that pressure, saying these sting operations aren't meant to harass clerks or store owners. They're meant to save lives.

"We've had a couple of incidents where kids have been drinking and have been involved in accidents and have gotten killed, or killed other people, and that's why we're trying to crack down on this," Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

by Josh Ridgdell