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Discount Liquor Wall of Shame
Cooperstown, Toronto, Canton and Springfield: All of these cities house a Hall of Fame that also serves as a major tourist attraction. Is it possible that Hamden could acquire a Hall – or Wall – of Fame of its own?
Don’t worry Colorado Springs, Hamden will not be poaching your Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. Quinnipiac’s hometown already has its own Wall of Shame at Hometown Discount Wine and Liquors on Dixwell Ave.
As soon as you step foot through Discount Liquor’s automatic sliding doors, your eyes are immediately drawn to the names, pictures and descriptions that adorn the wall. There are no sports legends or Hollywood megastars here but rather only under-aged citizens, including several Quinnipiac University students who have had their fake IDs confiscated.
Since Discount Liquor opened its doors in the Hamden shopping center in 2004, it immediately became a target of would-be underage alcohol buyers according to store owner Kenan Kiranlioglu. Since then the store has taken measures such as using ID scanners and the “Wall of Shame” to curb underage attempts to buy alcohol.
“We’ve been working with the state to do our part in stopping under-age drinking,” Kiranlioglu said from behind the store counter. “We take our job very seriously.”
The results since the wall’s inception have shown that fewer minors venture past the Wall of Shame to the liquor-lined aisles. The store’s owner reported that even attempts of fake ID usage have gone down.
“Word has gotten out that Discount Liquor does not accept fake IDs,” said Kiranlioglu. “We’ve gone from over 50 people trying to use fake IDs in a month to 10 to 15 now.”
According to Kiranlioglu, the public response has been a positive one as well. He said that parents of Hamden and New Haven area youths have thanked him for his efforts in stopping minors from purchasing alcohol.
Even the people enshrined on the wall have shown their appreciation for their newfound fame. When asked if any of the minors had a problem with their photos being displayed, Kiranlioglu laughed and said that most were amused and showed their friends.
But despite some minors’ lack of objection or even elation at having their ID plastered on the Discount Liqour “Wall of Shame,” there are still some who are not too quick to boast about their place on the wall.
The Chronicle approached several Quinnipiac students whose names matched with some of the IDs on the Wall of Shame and all declined to be interviewed for the story. Other Quinnipiac students wondered if Discount Liquor was taking the minor’s privacy into account.
“If their pictures are on the wall, there’s no way to know who will see it,” said Elisa Agosto, a junior journalism major. “It would terrible if it [the wall] costs one of them a job.”
And maybe Agosto has a point. Section 30-86b of the Connecticut Liquor control act says that, “No permittee or agent or employee of a permittee shall sell or otherwise disseminate a photograph taken or a photocopy made pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or any information derived from such photocopy, to any third party for any purpose.”
Kiranlioglu was quick to point out, however, that Discount Liquor will happily remove anyone’s ID who objects to it being posted on the wall and that the wall’s purpose is not for marketing or publicity.
“We are not trying to make fun of anyone,” Kiranlioglu said. “We put up the IDs in order to help others who might make the same mistake.”
Others, like junior finance major Sai Ahmed, believe that getting a fake ID to purchase alcohol is not worthwhile and can also be dangerous.
“The legal ramifications that come from getting caught using a fake ID far outweigh its benefits,” Ahmed said.
The ramifications that Ahmed alluded to could include a $200 to $500 fine, up to 30 days in jail or both. Despite these potential consequences, the owner admits that he knows that no matter how successful the “Wall of Shame” is, the use of fake IDs will continue.
“I know we cannot stop minors from having fake IDs,” Kiranlioglu said. “But we are doing our part to prevent it.”
Even though people may not flock to Hamden to see its newest tourist attraction, Discount Liquor’s “Wall of Shame” is making its mark.