Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (CBS) – A new state law requires those who buy industrial drain cleaners and other caustic substances to provide photo identification and sign a log.
The law does not apply to most drain cleaners that consumers typically buy at grocery stores, but only to high-grade industrial cleaners that are normally only sold at hardware stores. Even so, it’s getting a rough reception from customers and merchants alike although perhaps none more than a cashier at Schroeder’s True Value Hardware in Lombard.
“They’re not very happy about it at all,” said Don Schroeder, one of the store’s owners. “One of the customers actually threatened the (cashier) and threatened to throw the acid on her.”
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Although the customer did not make good on the threat, and no one called police, other employees of Schroeder’s said they would call police immediately if any similar threat is made.
The law, which took effect Sunday, requires those who seek to buy caustic or noxious substances, except for batteries, to provide government-issued photo identification that shows their name and date of birth. The cashier then must log the name and address, the date and time of the purchase, the type of product, the brand and even the net weight.
Schroeder said that when he called his local legislator, the legislator claimed not to know about the new law. Neither, he said, did other retailers in the area. He said he and other store personnel had to call to a number of stores before they could get details.
Non-compliance results in fines: $150 for the first offense, $500 for the second and up to $1,500 for the third and subsequent violations.
Schroeder estimated that there are “easily” 30 or more products in the store that must be reported when sold.
Jewel-Osco has removed the few items it carried from its shelves, but Schroeder said he does not have that option as a hardware store. He said he does not believe that the precautions written into the bill will prevent such crimes from occurring.
“How are they going to find out, by asking every customer, what kid might have done that? It’s not going to solve any problems,” Schroeder said. “It’s not going to cure anything.”