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On Monday, the convenience store chain will debut a new technology at all of its 1,600 California stores that scans a 2-D code on the back of a customer's driver license or identification card when age-restricted products are being purchased. The scan will verify the birth date stored on the card, as well as the validity of the ID. However, the c-store chain stressed that no other customer information will be recorded.
"We believe that this new system takes compliance at 7-Eleven to the next level," said Keith Jones, senior director of regulatory affairs for 7-Eleven Inc., based in Dallas.
The State of California has enacted several laws in the past 15 years in an attempt to control illegal alcohol, tobacco and inhalant sales to minors. The measures have worked. According to the c-store chain, only five percent of illegal purchase attempts by minors in 2011 were successful, representing the best success rate ever in California.
However, 7-Eleven added that much more work must be done to prevent underage sales of restricted items.
To update its technology in order to scan the data on IDs, 7-Eleven invested $1 million to upgrade all franchise registers, at no cost to the franchisee. "7-Eleven considers this a small price to pay to combat the serious nature of illegal underage sales," said a company spokesperson. "Penalties for such offenses are steep with an ultimate result of a possible loss of [an] alcohol license."
According to 7-Eleven, it is rolling out the technology in California first because that's where its highest number of franchises are located. The technology will soon be rolled out to the rest of the country.