WENDELL, N.C. – Experienced alcohol sales professionals on Friday said trying to disguise yourself as a senior won't get past a watchful cashier.
Viral videos on TikTok have shown young people disguising themselves as seniors and walking into convenience stores to buy alcohol, in some cases wearing elaborate wigs and contacts as well as the face masks now required by health authorities.
The videos don't amuse Kurtis Taylor, the director of the Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolina and an ambassador for Talk it Out NC.
“This is far more serious than a game of dress-up,” he said. “During this pandemic, parents are dealing with basically bored kids. This is a problem that can sometimes lead kids down very dangerous paths.”
Taylor said more teens die from alcohol abuse than from all other illicit drugs put together. Alcohol sales already are up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wake County ABC General Manager Ike Wheeler said sales in March were similar to those around Christmas and his stores have struggled to keep items in stock since.
Wheeler said nobody so far has tried to buy alcohol in Wake County while disguised as a senior, and it won't work. He said his staff is trained to watch customers closely in case anything is amiss. Moreover, every purchase requires an ID, and staff members scan them to make sure they aren't counterfeit.
Taylor said with so many people now working from home or learning remotely, there is no better time to talk to your children about underage drinking. No matter what circulates online, he said parents are still by far the biggest influence on their children.
Talk it Out NC has a number of resources to help parents start those conversations. The organization recommends doing your research and having lots of little talks rather than one big one.