Thursday, July 19, 2007

Carding Granny

This article is about the growing trend of ID'ing everyone who wants to buy alcohol, no matter what age they look. We already have a state law which basically says that anyone who looks even near the age of 21 must be ID'd. I don't have a problem with that. I do, however, think asking to see identification from someone who is obviously a senior citizen is taking things a bit too far:

These days, more and more stores are demanding identification from anyone buying beer and wine, and some customers — including Cantrell — are unhappy about it.

“That’s the way most retailers are going,” said Sgt. Charlie Cloud of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s enforcement division. “They’re trying to be cautious and make sure the law isn’t violated, and their people are checking IDs.”

Getting snagged in the paranoia are folks such as Cantrell, who has degenerative arthritis, an ever-present pair of glasses on a chain around her neck, little patience for fools — and 72 years under her belt.

There is a picture of this woman at the link provided above. Though she looks great for being 72 years of age (she could easily get away with saying she's a decade or two younger), any person with eyes could see that she is well past the legal drinking age.
Funny thing is — the store was within its rights, if nowhere near what would seem reasonable to most folks.

“The store has a right to refuse service to anyone, and they have a right to request your ID,” Cloud said.
Yes, they most certainly do have the right to refuse service to someone who is unwilling to show their identification. In cases like this, however, it really isn't good business. I'm still young enough that all I have to do is think about alcohol and I get carded, and that's okay. I can't reasonably expect a clerk to assume that they aren't breaking any laws by selling me alcohol without carding me. The same thing can't be said about millions of other consumers though, and in cases like this, a clerk will only offend a customer by asking for ID when the tiniest bit of reason shows that there are no laws being broken.
The trend toward universal carding and tightened store policies is leading to confusion and misinformation about the law, TABC spokeswoman Carolyn Beck said. “I get phone calls and e-mails from people saying they’ve been told it’s the law,” she said. “People are frustrated because they don’t want to be carded, and they don’t want to be given wrong information.”

The confusion might have been prompted by Tennessee’s law change, which went into effect this month, requiring universal carding of anyone buying beer in retail stores. Tennessee is the first state to enact such a law, and supporters say it will prevent clerks from having to guess the ages of customers, thereby reducing underage drinking. After the law was passed, Comer Wilson, a 66-year-old Tennessean with a long white beard, was carded while buying beer. He told the Associated Press, “It’s the stupidest law I ever heard. You can see I’m over 21.”

Guessing the age of customers shouldn't be a problem with people who are several decades older than the drinking age. I don't understand how we've become so paranoid about selling alcohol to minors that we feel the need to card senior citizens. Like I said, I have no problem with laws that say anyone who looks to be within a certain age range should have to show ID to purchase alcohol, but carding everyone under the sun is over-kill.


  1. CC -

    Having once (many years ago!) managed a store, I think I can shed a little light on this.

    Since retail generally pays garbage, it doesn't attract a lot of employees with good judgement, and since the training budgets in stores range from minimal to nonexistent, they can't teach judgement.

    Hence, it's easier to just say 'card everybody,' especially since failure to do so could result in fines and a loss of license.

    Carding everybody is a royal pain in the *** (for everybody concerned), but it's easier for the stores' management.

    Look on the bright side - every now and then, some middle-aged person's day is made when they are carded to verify that they are over 21.


  2. Since retail generally pays garbage, it doesn't attract a lot of employees with good judgement

    Well, if their judgement cannot discern the difference of appearance between someone in their twenties and someone in their seventies, then maybe carding everyone is a good idea. I guess I should know better than to assume that everyone uses the gray matter that resides in their noggins!

    Good to see ya, cpmaz!


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