A sting-less sting: Easthampton adults won’t buy alcohol for minors hanging outside liquor stores
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Purchase photo reprints »
EASTHAMPTON — As part of an experiment last week, teens age 16 to 18 stood outside Jim’s Package Store on Adams Street and asked customers, “If we gave you money, would you mind buying a six-pack for us?”
But none of the 26 people approached agreed.
That was exactly what the experiment’s organizers, the Easthampton Police Department and the Strategic Planning Initiative for Families and Youth (SPIFFY) Coalition, wanted to see.
SPIFFY works to promote strong families and communities where youth are supported in making healthy choices. It arranged the so-called shoulder tap survey with teens from a neighboring town and an undercover Easthampton police officer looking on, according to a statement.
When each customer refused to buy the minors alcohol, the teens explained they were doing a survey and handed the adult a yellow card that read, “Thank you for helping save a life!”
If an adult had agreed to buy them a six-pack, the teens would have informed them of the potential penalties of furnishing alcohol to minors.
Because the teens used hypothetical language and no money was exchanged, no laws are broken during the survey, said Heather Warner, SPIFFY’s prevention specialist.
“The intent of the survey is strictly to raise awareness about the importance of keeping teens safe,” she said.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.