'Sticker Shock' Strikes at Joe Canal's Liquors

Run with collaboration between West Deptford High School and community groups, "Sticker Shock" raises awareness of the dangers of serving drinks to underage kids.

Shoppers who go to Joe Canal's Discount Liquor at Mantua Pike and Parkville-Station Road this weekend may spot a bright green florescent sticker on a case of their favorite alcoholic beverage. These stickers are thanks to a program called “Sticker Shock” that made its debut in West Deptford on Tuesday afternoon.

Students from West Deptford High School's Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.) club joined Police Chief Craig Mangano, Sgt. John Chambers and Ryan Pratta from the Southwest Council at the liquor store to put stickers on products that warned patrons against the dangers of buying alcohol for people that are underage.

S.A.D.D. students slapped stickers throughout the store. As with any store before the holidays, Joe Canal's was busier than usual with shoppers stocking up on drinks before Thanksgiving.

“This is the perfect time to do this, with Thanksgiving only a few days away and Christmas and New Year's coming up in the near future,” Mangano said. “This was perfect timing for a program like this.”

Sticker Shock came to West Deptford after Mangano and Pratta collaborated while on the Gloucester County Community Partnership together. Pratta had organized the program with the Southwest Council in other areas of South Jersey and Mangano became very interested in the idea when he heard about it.

Scott West, the manager at Joe Canal's Liquor, was very willing to participate in the program when approached about it. His store is very strict when it comes to serving underage patrons.

“We do our best to create the knowledge for kids under 21 that this isn't a place where they should try to get served,” said West. “We card heavily here and we don't have a lot of instances where kids try to come in here because we're so proactive.”

It was important to get S.A.D.D. to help out with this program, as it allowed high school students to raise awareness among their peers, according to Sgt. Chambers. However, education is twofold when it comes to underage drinking. Its not just about educating children, but also adults. The penalty for serving alcohol to a minor in New Jersey is a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in prison.

“We just want to get the message out that underage drinking is, No. 1, illegal, but also the dangers that come with that,” he said

“This is a great message to get out to the adults. The adults are who we depend on to make sure that the children are staying safe.”

This was the first time that West Deptford had held such a program, but it has become a big thing throughout the area. Pratta said that the Southwest Council had recently held Sticker Shock in Glassboro, Pennsville and several other stores in Cumberland County. He is very proud of the amount of attention this program has gotten.

“It shows awareness for parents and for people who just turned 21, 22 years old. Even in the university area of the county,  so that they know this is what's going to happen to me if I do purchase for an underage person.”

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