Monday, November 23, 2009

Adventures in Retail

I don't normally do "slice of life" type posts (yes, I know, I hardly do ANY posts, shutthehellup), and I damn sure am trying to resist the ever-increasing urge to do "getoffmydamnlawnyoudamnkidsandwhatthehellisthatyoucallthatmusic" posts, but for some reason this Adventure in Retailing got to me.

So the other night I am in the local Big Box, buying a couple of things, including some wine for the wife. When I get to the checkout the 20-ish checker-outer girl gets the little pop-up message "check ID" when she runs the wine through the scanner. This happens anytime they scan alcohol or tobacco. So she asks me for ID.

At this point, let me explain something: I am 46 years old. I was born in 1962. I was drinking at many bars ten years before the cashier was even born. In other words, I am way, way over 21 (the drinking age in our enlightened country, where an 18-20 year old can join the military, travel to faraway lands, meet interesting people, and shoot them, but can't have a beer. Don't get me started.)
And I don't have access to the Fountain of Youth. I have a lot of gray hair. People don't usually think I am 46, but they sure as hell don't think I am 19, either.

Back to the story: the checkout girl asks me for my ID, and with a roll of my eyes, I pull out my driver's license and show it to her. She proceeds to enter the code into the register that means "not a tweener with a fake moustache", but something goes awry. She seems to have entered the code wrong, or alerted M.A.D.D. or something, so she calls over the head cashier, or assistant manager, or whatever he is (a paragon of experience about 25 years old) to use his special key, so I can BUY A DAMN BOTTLE OF WINE. (actually it was a box, but don't blame me for that, that's just how my wife rolls.)

So Bill S. Preston Esq. strolls over and whips out his special key on the retractable lanyard and sets about entering the secret code (which if he got to pick it is probably also the Easter Egg code for GTA: Vice City) on the keyboard.

Then he turns to me and says "Can I see your ID?"

I think I actually gaped. A true gape is rare, you know. They use the word a lot in books and whatnot, but a real, honest-to-goodness gape is seldom seen. The definition of gape is : "To stare wonderingly or stupidly, often with the mouth open." You UK types will use the word "gobsmacked" probably, but I was standing there looking at this mope thinking "I am actually gaping at this chowderhead."

Normally I wouldn't haven't given this idiotic time-waster a second thought. Why make myself crazy, and waste more time, trying to make this guy see what a dumb question this is. I am just standing there, gaping and marveling, thinking that he is supposed to be the SMARTER one of this pair. I don't know why this particular thing on this particular night bothered me so much, but there you go.

I pause, then say, "I'm 46" a little louder than I intended, feeling that little *bop* in my skull that indicates a spike in blood pressure. I look at Beavis, whose expression is that of a Hereford contemplating whether or not to move their cud to the other side of their mouth. Then I sigh and hold out my license.

"Better safe than sorry", he says.

"Better safe than sorry!!! Holy Saint Patrick on a Segway!!!!" I think to myself as I pick up my bags and get out of there before I make some kind of rude remark, or indulge in a Level II Gape (which involves drooling and perhaps passing out from sheer astonishment.)

All I could think as I drove home was: That boy has a great career in the TSA ahead of him.


  1. We were stunned when we were asked for i.d when we were over in the states in the spring.

    Then again you can buy booze at 14 here in the uk with rarely a raised eyebrow (official age is 18)

  2. I am reminded of two things:

    1) The time the cashier made Noah put back the beer because it was 11:56 on Sunday morning and it's illegal to sell beer in the state of NC before noon on Sunday,


    2) The scene at the beginning of Hot Fuzz in which the Sgt. arrests a bunch of pimple faced teens for underage drinking in the pub, then pisses off the whole town for doing it.

  3. Perhaps he should join Homeland security? Until you've seen them confiscate an apple, you haven't lived.

    Supermum used to get carded a lot, right up to her mid-thirties, whenever we were out visiting her mother in the West country. That may or may not tell you something about aging in Devon.