Miami U. deploys ‘mystery shoppers’ to catch bars serving underage

Miami University is testing Oxford bars with “mystery shoppers” as part of efforts to prevent underage patrons from entering. Some mystery shoppers have also faked drunkenness to see how bar employees deal with it, according to the university. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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Miami University is testing Oxford bars with “mystery shoppers” as part of efforts to prevent underage patrons from entering. Some mystery shoppers have also faked drunkenness to see how bar employees deal with it, according to the university. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Miami University is making sure Oxford bars are abiding by laws concerning underage drinking.

Part of that plan includes sending underage patrons into bars, according to Dr. Mike Curme, associate vice president and dean of students at Miami.

“We have had two rounds of mystery shopper (visits) on weekends we select, and of the 50 permit holders checked, 49 passed,” he said.

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The test involves not only preventing underage patrons from entering, but also dealing with intoxicated drinkers.

Some mystery shopped have faked drunkenness to see how employees deal with it, according to Curme.

“It’s an important step in cutting off intoxicated patrons,” he said.

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He said studies have shown more than 80 percent of students, nationally, possess fake IDs.

There is now a computer program that determine if IDs are genuine, he said

The issue of fake IDs has another ramification for Miami students.

“Fake IDs are a ‘dishonesty’ and two dishonesties, you’re suspended,” he said. “That gets students’ attention.”

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