Retail Concern: Can I refuse to sell items?

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My jurisdiction is: Georgia, USA

Hello all,

First of all, I apologize if this post is in the wrong category. It deals with consumer law and I couldn't find a good place for it. I thought this would be a good place since it sort of deals with my obligations to sell items to an individual in a retail setting. Here goes...

I am considering part-time employment with a local health-food/supplement store that is part of a national chain. These types of stores typically sell a class of products that, in the past, have been marketed as helping one pass a urinalysis test.

During my pre-employment talks with the store manager it was mentioned that there is a new company policy regarding these types of products. The policy has two parts:

1) If an individual asks to buy/see a product that can be taken to help them pass a drug test we are to tell them that it is store policy to not sell any items to an individual that might help the individual pass a drug test.

2) Once an individual has indicated that they are looking for products to help them pass a drug test we are to refuse them sale of ANY items in the store.

Basically, once they say the magic words "drug test" or "urinalysis" we cannot sell them anything. I certainly understand that the company does not want to sell products intended to help the individual pass a drug test. No problem there. But can a sales associate then refuse to sell anything in the store to that person?

It seems to me that the chain should not sell items that even remotely would appeal to folks looking to pass a pee pee test. With such a policy in place, the presence of such items pretty much guarantees that employees will be put into the difficult situation where they now cannot sell anything to the customer and will probably have to engage in verbal conflict as they explain the store policy. The manager said she has been called a racist (and worse) many times for refusing to sell to people looking for these types of products. But this is neither here nor there.

What are your thoughts? It sounds fishy to me. Is this a legally sound company policy?

Am I obligated to sell to the customer whatever they wish to buy (assuming they are over 18 and not trying to buy weight loss products which are covered by law)?

Could someone please point me to some laws regarding ones obligation as a salesman in a retail setting?

Many thanks,

I don't know the specifics of law in this area but I do know this - if my clients asked me about selling a product after I was asked if it would help me potentially commit a crime, I might instruct the employees the same. I might tell them that while I can appreciate their wanting to just "be a person" the fact is that once the magic words are out of the box - the likelihood that the customer is looking to break the law - I'd err on the side of caution and explain to the customer I cannot sell them anything. What if this is an investigator undercover? How many laws does each employee know about with regard to each drug after the customer asks about the law? I don't know.

With regard to policy of selling the product - what if it has legitimate uses? This isn't marijuana and the argument of medicinal value. This is a legal item that can be sold. The issue is whether the store is being asked to help the customer find the right drug to commit a crime. That's really the issue. I'll move this to employment as that is probably where it belongs.
You don't have to sell a product that violates public policy, other than that what ever the store is legally selling its your job to ring up the sale. Most legally sold products do not violate a public policy.

Here is an example say you work in a paint store a customer comes in staggering wreaking of a chemical he walks over to the chemical section and brings a gallon of Toluene ( a legal product intended for a specific use). You ask him what he intends to do with it? He replies "get stoned huffing it". Then you would have a public policy case if the employer was dumb enough to fire you for not ringing up the sale.

I don't think you could make that argument in your post because the legal product is used as intended by the manufacture.
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