Refusing Sales of Tobacco Products to Customers
Refusing to sell tobacco to a customer can be very difficult. Please see the following tips on how to deal with these types of situations:
Practical Guidance for When You Must Refuse a Sale:
- Decline purchase attempts by a minor made with written parental permission.
- Decline to sell cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and covered tobacco products to underage persons who are friends and acquaintances.
- Decline a sale when the customer has no photographic identification (photo ID).
- Decline a sale when the customer’s photo ID contains no date of birth.
- Decline a sale when the customer’s photo ID has expired.
- Decline a sale when the customer’s photo ID does not appear to be authentic, or appears to be tampered with.
- Decline a sale when the customer’s photo ID shows the customer to be under the age of 21 years.
- Decline a sale when the customer has no photo ID.
After informing a customer that you cannot proceed with the sale:
- Resist customer pressure. Do your best to stand your ground and stay in control. If needed, you may state to the customer:
“I apologize for the inconvenience, but the NEW Tobacco 21 Law states that I cannot sell any tobacco products without verifying a customer’s age with a government issued photo ID.”
- Seek management assistance, when necessary. If a customer acts in any way inappropriately, find your manager, or supervisor on duty, to resolve the situation.
More options for responding to a customer:
- Let the customer know you need to ask your manager for assistance with the transaction, or another employee to assist.
- Simply that you cannot make the sale (with or without a reason).
- Ask the customer for a different government issued identification that shows their date of birth.
The Right to Refuse a Sale when Acting in Good Faith:
- Employees are not required to make a cigarette, smokeless tobacco, or other tobacco product sale if there is any question that doing so would violate the law.
- If at anytime a store employee does not feel confident in their choice to sell a tobacco product to a customer, the best option would be to not conduct the sale.
Role-Playing: Refuse a Sale with Confidence
To gain confidence in your ability to refuse a sale to a customer, practice Role-playing.
- Role-playing is a learning technique in business training. It is a confidence builder, it helps develop good listening skills, and it provides opportunities to strengthen problem-solving skills.
- Role-Playing, allows a learner to assume the role or tasks of a job by practicing or simulating real working conditions. The objective of role playing is to learn, improve or develop upon the skills or competencies necessary for a specific position.
- Role-playing takes place between two or more people, who act out roles to explore a particular scenario. It’s most useful to help you or your team prepare for unfamiliar or difficult situations.
Learning how to refuse a sale to a customer is difficult and challenging. Role-playing different scenarios will make a difference in your ability, confidence, and success.
**See “Role-playing” under “Tools & Resources” in the drop down menu for “Employee Resources” at www.responsibletobacconv.com