Help camps w/bars avoid unknowingly serving minors alcohol

Help camps w/bars avoid unknowingly serving minors alcohol

Postby madmatt » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:42 pm

We have a fairly large camp (65-80 people) with a big public bar and lounge area that has a big, busy, public happy hour at 3pm daily. Last year, our happy hours got VERY busy, a couple with nearly 1,000 (we had great DJs!) Anyhoo, the bar got so busy that the scene attracted the attention of law enforcement, so they did a sting operation.

We barely talked our way out of two $1,000 tickets for serving a minor for a couple of our campmates, despite having a big, visible "No Minors Served" sign, and we actually asked all young looking people "are you over 21?" We didn't actually require people to show the ID because it was soooo busy and we thought that was sufficient. The Pershing County Sheriffs disagreed!

Burning Man Organization should do more public awareness raising - perhaps at the point of a ticket purchase or at the front gate - to underscore that minors can get themselves and others in BIG trouble by drinking at the bars.

Obviously, we are responsible for our own compliance with the law, but a big part of it involves people tricking us into breaking the law.

I think this is a very serious problem at Burning Man, and I'd love some public discourse about it and some discussion of possible ways to improve the situation.

I'll start: This year, during happy hour, we will probably rope off the front of our bar and have someone checking IDs and stamping people, so that our bartenders don't have to do it inside. But wow, what a BUZZKILL to have to do that on the playa.

Your ideas??
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Postby ygmir » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:52 pm

I can't imagine anyone not knowing about underage drinking.......

more, like, the youngsters, want to drink, and want to get away with something.....like we all did, when under age.

I'd not think "public awareness" would help

you just gotta ID 'em..........IMHO.......no way around it.

the kids will tell you they're old enough, even if they're not......."just because" IMHO......and, it only takes one.......
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Postby FIGJAM » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:53 pm

Take minors straight to the LEO and see that a report is filed, especialy if thier undercover. I dont think thier above the law.
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Postby FaeTora » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:59 pm

ygmir wrote:I can't imagine anyone not knowing about underage drinking.......

more, like, the youngsters, want to drink, and want to get away with something.....like we all did, when under age.

I'd not think "public awareness" would help

you just gotta ID 'em..........IMHO.......no way around it.

the kids will tell you they're old enough, even if they're not......."just because" IMHO......and, it only takes one.......


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Postby Token » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:13 pm

Once you go the route of hand stamps or similar you are forced to card everyone and you rely on a single person being diligent.

The stamp also imparts a greater responsibility on your camp should the system get spoofed.

Might be more effective to have an ID check without the stamp for young looking folks but do it at the enterance and the bar.

This way you get more than one chance of spotting the youths.

Tough pickle this is with no easy answer.
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Postby bluesbob » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:51 pm

Yeah...ask for ID...it only takes a few seconds.

But we also have the other problem...not asking those who look over 21 for ID. Come on goddamit...put a smile on my face!
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Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:05 am

"Are you 21 years of age or older?"
"Is it legal for you to consume alcoholic beverages in the state of Nevada?"

These are the 2 "magic questions" that will put the onus back on the person asking for the drink.

Still, I ask for ID. If the person represents him/herself as being over 21, then you have complied with the law. And remember - as the bartender, you have the right to not serve someone. That includes any person you may think is under 21, intoxicated, you don't like the color of their hair, etc. etc. It's hard to say no, but if a barkeep can't say no, then they don't belong behind the bar.
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Postby FaeTora » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:10 am

You could ask for their date of birth. Most lying can't come up with it quick enough or will give an extremely funny dates. My ex was at a place that sold to underage drinkers. But this one time she went, there was a new lady who asked for her id. She said she forgot it so the lady asked her what year she was born. "1962" was her response. She was 20. The lady told her she wasn't 21 and she responded, "No I'm just bad at math." LOL. That followed her for years.
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Postby LostinReno » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:50 am

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:"Are you 21 years of age or older?"
"Is it legal for you to consume alcoholic beverages in the state of Nevada?"



I was baffled by the second question last year. We were asked "Is it legal for you to consume alcoholic beverages in the state of Nevada?"
There were 4 of us all over the age of 40 (none of us look remotely 21 lol!). I've lived in Nevada my entire life and can honestly say I have never been asked that question. If you are over 21 and for whatever reason it isn't legal for you to consume alcohol in the state (only reason I can even fathom is that you are in some kind of rehab?) that would fall on the individual wanting to consume not the people serving. I mean hey, I'm all about CYA! I just thought it was a strange question.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:01 am

LostinReno wrote:(only reason I can even fathom is that you are in some kind of rehab?)

it can be a condition of parole
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Postby FaeTora » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:07 am

all about CYA?

what does CYA stand for?
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:09 am

cover your ass
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Postby LostinReno » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:18 am

theCryptofishist wrote:
LostinReno wrote:(only reason I can even fathom is that you are in some kind of rehab?)

it can be a condition of parole

Even if it is, wouldn't that still be the consumers issue not the servers? I've NEVER been asked that in a bar?
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:58 am

Center camp can issue wristbands or something. Make it easier for the theme camps in general. It's not commerce and it's voluntary.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:58 am

You can say that again, UD.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:36 am

Ugly Dougly wrote:Center camp can issue wristbands or something. Make it easier for the theme camps in general. It's not commerce and it's voluntary.

And a whole lot of unnecessary and useless pain.
I--a new volenteer corps?
II--how do you keep someone from taking it off and giving it to someone underage?

If bartenders aren't willing to do this to avoid the fine, if for no other reason, they can stop tending bar. Of course, easy for me to say, I can't get behind our bar. However, this really does look like a damn good place for some radical self-reliance.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:00 pm

The wrist bands would have to be taped onto the new person...adnw e all know tape doesn't stick to playa
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Postby Bounce530 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:08 pm

Yay for more steps to remove personal responsibility (sarcasm font)
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:12 pm

Listen Negative Nancy, these wrist bands are used in a variety of similar festivals. Only Burning Man is behind the times. :)

I'm sure you've had one on your wrist. If you remove it, the you've destroyed it and it can't be put back on again.

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Postby Bounce530 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:22 pm

I've also had to go through metal detectors at county fairs, and take my shoes off at the airport...is that next?
I agree it's up to the person pouring the drinks, or handing out the cans. If in doubt, is it really that important to give the person in question a drink?
And on that note, I just printed up a couple "must be 21 to drink alcohol, thank you for your understanding and not getting me fined!" posters and laminated them to hang up at my camp.
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Re: Help camps w/bars avoid unknowingly serving minors alcoh

Postby MistressSybs » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:30 pm

madmatt wrote:We have a fairly large camp (65-80 people) with a big public bar and lounge area that has a big, busy, public happy hour at 3pm daily. Last year, our happy hours got VERY busy, a couple with nearly 1,000 (we had great DJs!) Anyhoo, the bar got so busy that the scene attracted the attention of law enforcement, so they did a sting operation.

We barely talked our way out of two $1,000 tickets for serving a minor for a couple of our campmates, despite having a big, visible "No Minors Served" sign, and we actually asked all young looking people "are you over 21?" We didn't actually require people to show the ID because it was soooo busy and we thought that was sufficient. The Pershing County Sheriffs disagreed!

Burning Man Organization should do more public awareness raising - perhaps at the point of a ticket purchase or at the front gate - to underscore that minors can get themselves and others in BIG trouble by drinking at the bars.

Obviously, we are responsible for our own compliance with the law, but a big part of it involves people tricking us into breaking the law.

I think this is a very serious problem at Burning Man, and I'd love some public discourse about it and some discussion of possible ways to improve the situation.

I'll start: This year, during happy hour, we will probably rope off the front of our bar and have someone checking IDs and stamping people, so that our bartenders don't have to do it inside. But wow, what a BUZZKILL to have to do that on the playa.

Your ideas??


here's the problem... most often minors don't care what trouble they cause... most often they just got their drinky-poo and they're cool... we used to run a warehouse party off commerce in Houston and the only way we could keep things on the up and up is to literally keep it 21 and up, have a bouncer/card guy at the door to check ids and move them along if they tried to hang out in the parking lot.
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Postby Fire_Moose » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:32 pm

Bounce530 wrote:I've also had to go through metal detectors at county fairs, and take my shoes off at the airport...is that next?
I agree it's up to the person pouring the drinks, or handing out the cans. If in doubt, is it really that important to give the person in question a drink?
And on that note, I just printed up a couple "must be 21 to drink alcohol, thank you for your understanding and not getting me fined!" posters and laminated them to hang up at my camp.



Then don't get a wrist band! But don't get upset when a bar won't serve you because you have no ID on you. I don't see how this would eliminate personal responsibility...
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Postby MistressSybs » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:34 pm

FaeTora wrote:You could ask for their date of birth. Most lying can't come up with it quick enough or will give an extremely funny dates. My ex was at a place that sold to underage drinkers. But this one time she went, there was a new lady who asked for her id. She said she forgot it so the lady asked her what year she was born. "1962" was her response. She was 20. The lady told her she wasn't 21 and she responded, "No I'm just bad at math." LOL. That followed her for years.


eh most often they figure it out before they go out and memorize the right date.
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Postby Bounce530 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:48 pm

Fire_Moose wrote:Then don't get a wrist band! But don't get upset when a bar won't serve you because you have no ID on you.
As already discussed on another thread, being a middle aged white(ish) male, getting served isn't that likely anyway, no matter conversation/gifts/etc...I supply my own drink
I don't see how this would eliminate personal responsibility...
Because the person pouring the drink needs to take responsibility to make sure that the person that is recieving the drink is of age. What if little Johnny's buddy volunteers to pass out wrist bands, and some go missing, then the bartender could still get busted, even though little Johnny had a wristband on, right?

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Postby LostinReno » Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:54 pm

Wristbands or not, under agers are going to find a way to drink if they want it bad enough. I mean really, we all found ways :wink:
Just don't be the one that gives it to 'em.
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Re: Help camps w/bars avoid unknowingly serving minors alcoh

Postby lemur » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:49 pm

madmatt wrote:I think this is a very serious problem at Burning Man, and I'd love some public discourse about it and some discussion of possible ways to improve the situation.

I'll start: This year, during happy hour, we will probably rope off the front of our bar and have someone checking IDs and stamping people, so that our bartenders don't have to do it inside.
Your ideas??



this was covered in the latest Jack Rabbit Speaks: V14:#23:07.15.10

here it is in all of its glory.

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BARS & DRINKING AT BURNING MAN - "ARE YOU 21?"

Planning to gift booze on the playa? Planning to drink it? Whether theme camp, art car, or on stilts, you should be aware of Nevada laws on underage drinking. Law enforcement at Burning Man takes this issue VERY seriously - as in, undercover stings, major fines, and sucky experiences all around kind of serious. We know our community always hits the mark when they have the right information, and handles this issue responsibly.

So....below you'll find helpful information about servin' and drinkin' alcohol at Burning Man. READ UP, if you'll be doing either one.

- It is a misdemeanor to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years old in Nevada. The law still applies if the alcohol is gifted as opposed to sold. Theme camps are considered public space and subject to enforcement of this law. (NRS 202.055) In 2001 the Nevada State Supreme Court limited the application of NRS 202.055 to only servers who had actual or constructive knowledge that the person seeking the alcohol was under 21. This means that you must card someone who looks underage. Conversely, if someone looks of age you are not required to card him or her.

- It is a misdemeanor for a minor to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage in a public space (e.g., theme camps, open playa, center camp, etc). (NRS 202.020)

- It is a misdemeanor for a minor to pass him or herself off as being of age. (NRS 202.040)

- Misdemeanors carry the following penalties: Up to 6 months in county jail, and/or a fine up to $1,000. Alternatively, community service may be sentenced in lieu of, or in conjunction with jail time and fines. (NRS 176.087)

- If a minor loiters in a place where alcoholic beverages are consumed (besides a food establishment) then the minor could receive a fine up to $500. (NRS 202.030) Also, if the person in charge of the "tavern" allows the minor to loiter then he or she could be fined up to $500 also. (NRS 202.060)

Enforcement of the laws is either done by carding the person outright, or through undercover sting operations. None of this is new and not terribly different from most other state laws.

But what can you do to #1 Avoid illegally serving minors?, #2 Avoid being cited, or #3 If cited, demonstrate the due diligence against serving minors you used when operating a bar on the playa?

1) Don't serve anyone without ID who appears underage.
2) Ask for ID for anyone who appears underage. Learn to read it properly and determine by the date of birth if the person is old enough to drink.
3) Post "No Minors Allowed - No Minors Served" signs to discourage minors from committing a misdemeanor by loitering, requesting, or consuming alcohol at your bar.
4) Do not allow minors to loiter at your bar: ask them to leave.
5) Confer with a co-server -- get a second opinion -- when a patron appears "youthfully" over 21.
6) Work together - if you have refused to serve a patron because they do not appear to be of legal age, notify all your bar servers of your decision. There may be undercover operatives working with local law enforcement that attempt to be served more than once.

(NOTE: Federal and local law enforcement priorities differ on one or more of these issue. If you find yourself in an unfortunate encounter please get a badge number and/or name and note what agency you are dealing with. It might come in handy.)

Bottom line: NEVER, NEVER knowingly serve alcohol to a minor! It's illegal. It's not cool. It's not community minded.

AND -- the nice folks at camp Abstininthe remind those of you who are blessed enough to look young should carry your ID with you at the event, because they - and other camps - should, and will, be asking you to verify your age.


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Postby justfred » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:11 pm

For the ID system to work, I think you'd have to start asking a LOT more people to show IDs. Does anyone at Burning Man carry an ID? Do you really want to inspect an ID from someone who's naked - where were they carrying it?

Wristbands are nearly as bad. I'd hate to have to wear one all week.

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Postby MistressSybs » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:26 pm

Bounce530 wrote:As already discussed on another thread, being a middle aged white(ish) male, getting served isn't that likely anyway, no matter conversation/gifts/etc...I supply my own drink


So Burningman bars are just as shitty as the default world's bars are??? Not young, tiny, big titted or cocked and you're left dry no matter what conversation/gifts/etc? So this is an IN crowd thing and the pretty people run the show??? WTF? Good thing I'm beautiful dammit! Oh and bring my own drinks. pffffft! So much for utopia where you're not judged. *insert eyeroll here*

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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:05 pm

Just carry a grey fake mustache so you'll look like an old man.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:35 pm

Off course, I cannot speak for my camp. My personal take on it is that wristbands would not help us at our bar. We've been fine in the past, and by "fine" I don't mean "not caught." Apparently they';ve sent in the underage stingers in at least two years and we passed.
To the best of my understanding, our system works. I think wrist bands would just end up meaning carding someone twice once (after a long wait in line somewhere and is that line open 24 hours a day?) and again at a bar.
YMMV
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