What is Reward and Reminder?
Reward and Reminder is a positive reinforcement program designed to support retailers who “do the right thing” and refuse alcohol sales to underage youth, and to remind those who would sell to minors of the legal and health consequences of such sales. There’s no citation or fines issued, just a “reward” or a “reminder.”
The R&R approach was originally developed by a National Cancer Institute project at Oregon Research Institute that was directed by Anthony Biglan, Ph.D., where it was successful in reducing the prevalence of illegal sales to youth. In 2000, PAXIS Institute applied the R&R™ strategy to Wyoming, bringing its illegal sales of tobacco to minors from a dangerously high 55% to record lows hovering around 9% for four years in a row, and from a high of 34% in Wisconsin to lows around 5%.
How does it work? Teams of at least one adult and two youthful-looking customers over the age of 21 will enter retail establishments, attempt to purchase alcohol and reward or remind clerks of the law as indicated by clerk actions.
If the clerk refuses the sale, this is a Reward visit. The supervising adults approach the clerk or store manager to present the Reward for doing the right thing. The Reward also involves some tangible reward for the clerk, such as a gift certificate. The behavior that gets recognized and rewarded gets repeated.
If the clerk does sell, the youth terminates the purchase attempt. This is a Reminder visit. The supervising adult offers a reminder about state law, and emphasizes the need for more clerks’ training. No citations are issued.
Reward and Reminder works because it is science-based.
It is the result of considerable study of human behavior. The studies show that public reward of good behavior by stores and clerks for doing the right thing and not selling alcohol to minors reduces illegal sales of alcohol to minors faster than enforcement, which is then saved for people who are really intent on breaking the law.
Reward and Reminder works because it is inclusive.
Everyone is involved. The program is not aimed at youth; it includes them and the community, too. Everyone is given a role in sharing the responsibility of protecting the health and safety of our youth.
Reward and Reminder works because it is positive.
The program works to reinforce and recreate positive behaviors as a means of reducing negative behaviors, such as illegal alcohol sales to minors, or youth alcohol use. REWARD AND REMINDER puts a positive spin on alcohol control.
What Can Be Done
We wanted to share with you the pictures of the people who are making a difference in our communities by looking out for the health of our youth! They were NOT willing to sell alcohol to under-aged youth! They deserve to be recognized!