These days, part of the job description of being a parent includes participating in fundraisers. And like most parents, we’re well-versed in the usual ones; the pasta feeds, gift wrap/candles/cookies/cookie dough/See’s Candy sales, silent auctions, and even bingo nights.
However, now Steve and I have moved up to the more adult side of fundraising because we’re going to be working a beer booth at next week’s NASCAR race at Infineon to raise money for the Petaluma High School cheerleading program. And in preparation for serving the over 21 crowd, we went to a morning of training on how to safely serve alcohol at an event described by the trainer as having “over the top adrenaline.”
First off, it’s a pretty cool arrangement that non-profit groups have the opportunity to raise some serious money over the three-days of NASCAR and future events at Infineon by working the concession booths. It would certainly be more efficient for the racetrack and concession company to hire people who know what they are doing to work the booths instead of some neophyte beer server and cheer-mom like myself. Instead they allow a wide assortment of non-profits including Sea Scouts, Christian schools, Lions clubs and even Navy recruiters to trade sweat equity for dollars for their group.
So what did Steve and I learn in sitting through two hours of videos and testing presented by the ServSafe Alcohol Program?
In spite of the party atmosphere that is part of the experience at many places where alcohol is served, pouring drinks is serious business. The person serving the drinks can be held personally liable for serving drinks to an intoxicated person, serving more than the two drink maximum, or serving alcohol to someone under the age of 21.
To drive the point home, the training started out with a Dateline episode about a drunk driver who hit another car on his way home from a sporting event. The driver’s blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal limit. The young girl in the car he hit was paralyzed from the neck down and eventually died as a result of the accident. The family sued and won a $136 million lawsuit. If the investigation could have determined the person who actually served the drinks to this already intoxicated customer, he/she could have also been held liable. Yikes.
Another point the training made is that drinking alcohol is a privilege and not a right. Just because someone demands you serve them, there are non-judgmental ways to respectfully decline service to them. Instead of saying, “Do you think I was born yesterday? Who are you trying to fool with that fake ID?” the better option is to say, “Our rules prevent me from serving someone without a valid ID.”
The training took me back to when I was 19 but I wanted to be 21 in the worst way so I borrowed my sister’s driver’s license to get into a bar with some friends. I was hoping that the guy checking ID at the door wouldn’t notice that the photo didn’t look anything like me and that according to the age on the license, I was 30. Maybe it was too dark or he just didn’t care that night, so I made it in.
However, at Infineon next Sunday, anybody under 21 shouldn’t even think about trying that stunt at my beer booth. I am trained and ready.