Blarney Pub and Grill, near the University of Minnesota- Minneapolis campus, has purchased scanners to ensure the legitimacy of customers’ identification, but the trend doesn’t seem to be catching on at some popular St. Thomas weekend hangouts.
Dan McQuillan, Plums Neighborhood Bar and Grill owner, said the scanners aren’t a necessary investment because they don’t provide all the pieces of information.
“All the scan says is whether or not it’s real,” McQuillan said. “It doesn’t say whether or not it’s that person. It just says whether it’s real. If you have a person that’s trained to look at them, it works.”
McQuillan said he caught more than 50 fake ID cards in September. With that kind of success, McQuillan will use instinct instead of the scanner.
“Our instinct says that if somebody who does not look old enough walks in, we’re carding them. I don’t care what that little box says. That’s one of the reasons we don’t scan,” McQuillan said.
However, senior Rae Rae Horton said she has seen underagers while at the bars around campus.
“When I do choose to go out at the typical St. Thomas bars such as Tiffs and Plums, I often see underagers there,” Horton said.
Blake Montpetit, Tiffany Sports Lounge owner, said he has considered looking into buying a scanner.
“It’s something that we could definitely look into, along with all the other college bars in the area. It’s important to us to make IDs a priority,” Montpetit said.
John Hershey, St. Thomas neighborhood liaison, said he thinks that bars should purchase the scanners because any method of keeping underage people out of the bars and protecting businesses is key.
“If I owned a bar and if I knew that a scanner could detect a false ID, I would use one to protect my business investment,” Hershey said.
Assistant Dean of Students James Sachs said he believes that these bars should start purchasing scanners, mainly for liability purposes.
“It seems that from a liability standpoint, you’re going to need to have these scanners, because if something bad happens, they (authorities) may come after you as the bar that served somebody underage,” Sachs said.
Montpetit said new technology helps students easily get fake IDs, some that even scan successfully. This advancement has made it more difficult to catch students with fake IDs.
“When I was young, you’d just use your brother’s or sister’s. Now it’s your picture, it’s your name, it’s your second, third form of ID, everything,” Montpetit said.
Montpetit, however, has developed tactics to catch these scan-able fakes. When a large amount of students have IDs from the same state, Montpetit said it becomes apparent that these students ordered them online.
“It’s obvious there’s not 20 kids from Pennsylvania that are at St. Thomas. We know that, and we call O’Gara’s, and vice versa,” Montpetit said. “We all work together on this issue because it’s important for us to not let it happen.”
Senior Richard Shallbetter said he doesn’t think the scanners are necessary.
“I personally don’t feel that it should be imposed upon the establishments. I’d like to think that my word is enough. If someone wants to lie about their age, let them take that on their own integrity,” Shallbetter said.
Senior Bobby Ranallo said he thinks that the bars are doing a good enough job already.
“I think they do a good enough job already. I’ve only seen a few people I know who are underage in the bars,” Ranallo said.
Kayla Bengtson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.