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Walmart manager explains measures to prevent alcohol sales to minors

WILLMAR -- The store manager of the Willmar Walmart Supercenter said measures are being taken to prevent a repeat sale of alcohol to a minor as happened during the Willmar Police Department's semi-annual liquor license compliance check July 8-9.

WILLMAR - The store manager of the Willmar Walmart Supercenter said measures are being taken to prevent a repeat sale of alcohol to a minor as happened during the Willmar Police Department’s semi-annual liquor license compliance check July 8-9.
Walmart Manager Kim Lippert told the City Council’s Finance Committee that Walmart has many safeguards designed to prevent the sale of alcohol to underage consumers, and she told the committee what has been done to train and retrain employees who work in the liquor department.
Interim City Administrator Kevin Halliday said this was Walmart’s first failure. He said that establishments that fail their first check are required to appear before the committee and discuss any changes in training or protocols to prevent future failures.
Halliday said this was Grizzly’s second failure. Halliday said the person who sold the alcohol was fired and the establishment paid a $1,000 fine.
Each Walmart liquor department associate will meet with a manager and receive a hard copy of Walmart’s alcohol sale policy, Lippert said. They will discuss the cash register prompts that must be followed and to check the ID on every sale of alcohol to a customer under age 40. The meetings will be completed by Friday.
Lippert said the standard operating procedures of selling alcohol have been discussed and she said the associates must complete a computer-based learning module before they can sell alcohol. The associate who sold the alcohol is no longer with Walmart, Lippert said.
Lippert said self audits of all cashiers who work in the liquor department will be conducted once a week for the next 12 weeks, and she said only 100 percent compliance will be expected. After 12 weeks, one check will be conducted each month for the following eight months.
Also, Lippert said she has verified the current operation of all cash register prompts, and she has reviewed all corporate, city and state sign regulations to make sure those are current.
Walmart’s off-sale liquor store and Grizzly’s on-sale restaurant each failed the compliance check by selling alcoholic beverages to the department’s 19-year-old decoy, Police Chief Jim Felt said.
A total of 16 on-sale establishments were checked. Others checked were Applebee’s, El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant, Golden Palace, Green Mill, KEC, KRA Speedway, Peps Sports Bar, Ruff’s Wings & Sports Bar, The Oaks at Eagle Creek, Valley Golf, Willmar American Legion Post 167, Willmar Eagles Club, Willmar Elks Lodge 952, Willmar Stingers, and Willmar VFW Post 1639.
The Barn Theatre and New Fireside/Caribbean Club were closed and were not checked at this time.
Five off-sale establishments were checked. Others were Cash Wise Liquor, Cub Foods Liquor, Sunray Spirits and Westside Liquor.
Councilman Tim Johnson, who is the vice chairman of the committee, said he liked the practice of carding everybody that looks under 40.
“If you want to be safe, that’s what you have to do,’’ he said. “I think 40 should work well. It makes sense if you want to avoid being caught up in coming to visit us again. They have to do the math, too.’’
Councilman Rick Fagerlie asked if the Police Department has server training available.
Felt said the training is offered at least every other month and incorporates reading IDs.
Lippert said employees have to enter the ID into the cash register and it does the calculation for them.
“So it’s either pass or fail, yes or no,’’ she said.

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