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Rich James: Take a memo on still asking for IDs

Rich James

Rich James

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Updated: October 31, 2011 11:03AM



I knew it.

I just knew it.

Even though the law changed, I knew they were going to get me.

Maybe it’s because I worked hard to get rid of the most ludicrous law ever enacted by the state of Indiana.

Yeah, I’m talking about the law that said anyone buying carry-out liquor had to show an ID or there wouldn’t be a sale. Didn’t matter if you were 21 or 91.

While I found the law to be an infringement on my privacy, it got even worse.

The law said the clerk had to check my ID to make sure I was 21.

But then at one store, the clerk took the ID out of my hand and started punching stuff into the computer.

I told them they couldn’t do that. They said they didn’t care.

I said I had read the law. They said there was more than one law. I gave in. I needed the beer.

So, I’ve spent a good bit of time trying to get rid of that ridiculous law. Been talking to my representatives. Democracy in action, if you will.

In the end, I got half a loaf. But, I got the good half.

The new law, which took effect July 1, says that clerks don’t have to check the IDs of those who appear to be at least 40 years old.

Although I have been denying it for 20 some years, I guess I meet that description.

Yeah, do I. I’ll never forget the day long ago that one of my colleagues told me I was too old to be a yuppie. Kick a guy when he’s down, why don’t you?

So, I was flying high last Saturday when I was about to buy a bottle of booze in one of those combination grocery and drug stores.

“I need to see your ID,” the drug store clerk said.

“No need,” I said, thinking she didn’t know about the change in the law. “The law changed yesterday. You don’t have to check if someone appears to be over 40.”

“Corporate said we aren’t changing, that we will still check everyone’s ID,” the clerk said.

“Who’s your manager?” I asked.

The manager appeared and gave me the same song and dance.

“Do you want the number to call corporate?” the manager asked.

“No, I want you to call corporate,” I said.

I lost round one and moved on to the grocery side where I had to pay for beer and other staples like pretzels, chips and nachos.

“I need to see your ID,” the clerk said.

“But the law changed yesterday,” I repeated to the new clerk.

“Sorry, it’s corporate’s decision,” the clerk said.

“Would you call the manager over?” I asked.

The manager was a nice fellow, which almost made me feel guilty about unloading on him. Almost.

“Corporate has said we will be sticking to the old policy at least for now to avoid confusion,” he said.

“Confusion? If you are over 40, chances are you look to be over 40. This isn’t rocket science,” I said.

“I’ll be glad to pass this on to corporate,” the manager said.

“I think you better,” I added. “I heard a guy an aisle over complaining about this as well.”

“I’ll let corporate know,” the manager repeated.

“Let corporate know this, too,” I said while trying not to make a scene. “Tell them that I have been shopping here every week for 20 years and that if this store continues to check my ID, I’ll find another store.”

“I’ll tell corporate,” the manager said, and then got a bit defensive. “Most of the liquor stores aren’t changing either, just to be sure there is no confusion.”

I didn’t buy that for a minute because I knew most liquor store clerks were tired of the abuse from older folks when asked for an ID.

When I left, I stopped at a liquor store just down the street. I needed to get cold beer that one can’t buy at a grocery store.

Believe it or not, no one asked for an ID.

I thought about going back to the grocery store and letting the manager know.

But I didn’t want to interrupt. I figured he was on the phone to corporate.

Rich James’ column appears on Fridays.



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