When weekend guests arrive, providing their favorite wine and beer is a familiar part of the routine. Along with milk, eggs and baby spinach, a case of Newcastle brown ale made its way to the conveyer belt during a recent grocery trip. Since my excessively chatty, gum-snapping cashier was not yet 21 years old, she needed a manager to complete the transaction.
She paused, tilted her head and asked, “Do you have ID?”
My age is no secret. I was born during the Nixon administration, before Watergate, before the energy crisis. Before disco. I have laugh lines and a mother's glare. I think I’ve earned the right to purchase a case of beer without showing off the horrendous driver's license photo.
I don’t look 21, nor do I care to. I’m a candid Gen X’er that read Dale Carnegie while listening to Van Halen on her Walkman.
While waiting for Mr. Manager, I kept thinking that the situation was ridiculous. I understand there are rules and regulations in place, but this takes the cake. Not only do I have to wait for a manger to authorize the sale of alcohol, my cashier, with countless ear piercings and Tasmanian Devil tattoos, unsuccessfully tries to salvage the relationship.
“You think this would make your day!”
No, it doesn’t make my day.
It only reminds me how farcical this policy is. I’d rather tell the manager my days of road trips to the county flea market for $20 fake IDs are over.
I lived in Seattle for a year, during the middle of the 1980s. Much like Connecticut, Washington state had drivers less than 21 years old pictured with a side profile on their license. A side profile was the only calculation needed for any mathematically challenged police officer or cashier. Managers weren't needed for transaction assistance.
It was common sense in it's purest form. The people behind the counter at the liquor stores knew all the tricks, remembered faces and repeated attempts. Shoulder tapping was a waste of time. The fear of a subsequent parental encounter was too great.
When asked for your ID, don’t bat your eyes and squeal in youthful tones. If you believe the cashier thinks you’re under 21, then maybe you should stop drinking.
We no longer stand with ID in hand, anxiously awaiting acknowledgment from the gatekeeper of alcohol. It was anticipated in our 20s and expected in our 30s. It's down right ridiculous in our 40s.
It’s situations such as this that make me question the lack of common sense at my local Stop & Shop.