In general, a retailer may not accept a
gift or service from a wholesaler or a
supplier. There is a short list of excep-
tions among which are inside signs and
retailer advertising specialties.
An “inside sign” includes posters,
placards, designs, mechanical devices
and window decorations which bear ad-
vertising matter. By definition, signs may
have no value to the retailer except as
advertising. A three-dimensional item,
such as a statue, which has no value to
the retailer other than advertising, will
also qualify as a sign. A supplier or whole-
saler is permitted to furnish, give, loan or
sell signs to a retailer. The wholesaler is
not permitted to pay the retailer for the
privilege of hanging the sign.
Like inside signs, the wholesaler or
supplier may give the retailer dummy
display bottles, provided the bottles are
five gallons in size or less and bear fed-
erally approved labels as well as a label
stating the bottle is for display only.
A “retailer advertising specialty” is an
item which has permanently affixed
advertising matter and is primarily valu-
able to the retailer as point of sale ad-
vertising, but which has some secondary
value to the retailer in connection with
the operation of its business. Examples
are thermometers, clocks, mirrors and
calendars. The total value of retailer
advertising specialties furnished to a re-
tailer may not exceed $200 per brand in
any calendar year.
A supplier or wholesaler is per-
mitted to set up window displays for
a retailer. In creating a window dis-
play, the supplier or wholesaler is not
permitted to give the retailer any item
of value unless the item also qualifies
as an exception to the gift or service
rules. Consequently, the supplier or
wholesaler is not permitted to place
an item in the retailer’s window unless
the item is of de minimis value, quali-
fies as a retailer advertising specialty,
or qualifies as a sign.
Remember, the violation is recipro-
cal. What the supplier and wholesaler
are not permitted to give, the retailer is
not permitted to accept.
It is not legal for a wholesaler or sup-
plier to place an item of value in the re-
tailer’s window which does not feature
conspicuous brand advertising perma-
nently attached. Even with conspicuous
advertising, items that are either not pri-
marily valuable as point of sale advertis-
ing or have a secondary value that is not
related to the retailer’s business may not
be placed in the retailer’s window. Such
things as sleighs, hockey sticks, baseball
gloves, bats and helmets or barbecue grills
must be rendered permanently valueless.
It is not sufficient to remove a part that
can easily be fixed or replaced.
Everyone involved in rendering an
item valueless must make certain it will
not be misused. Taking the protective
cushioning out of a helmet may render
it valueless, but it will also make its use
dangerous. Care must be taken so that
such a defective helmet has appropriate
I wish you all a happy, healthy and
prosperous New Year.
Keven Danow is an attorney representing members
of all three tiers of the Beverage Alcohol Industry and
a member of the firm of Danow, McMullan & Panoff,
P.C. 275 Madison Ave, NY, NY. 10022 (212-370-3744)
. This article is not intended to
give specific legal advice. Before taking any action, the
reader should consult with an attorney familiar with the
relevant facts and circumstances.
Ins & Outs of Window Displays
Plus a Reminder on ID Vigilance
By Keven Danow
Remember, the violation is reciprocal.
What the supplier and wholesaler are
not permitted to give, the retailer is
not permitted to accept.
The National Survey on Drug Use
and Health reported that one in six
New Yorkers under the age of 21
said he or she was able to purchase
alcohol within 30 days of the survey.
New York’s 15% average was well
above the national norm of 8.7%.
This is not the type of publicity the
State of New York wants and may
result in the additional allocation of
police and Liquor Authority enforce-
ment resources. Retailers, who care
about their licenses, should fully train
Remember, minors will lie if
asked about their age. Make certain
all sales persons know the year and
date at which a potential customer
reaches the age of 21. A valid state
driver’s license, armed services
license or passport is required.