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Old Codger Refused to Prove How Old He was, Denied Alcohol, Got REALLY Grumpy!

When Tony Ralls, 72 (but looks years younger, IMHO) wanted to buy wine at his local supermarket, but was refused by the supermarket checkout staff when he refused to prove he was old enough!

The grandfather-of-three said he had refused to confirm he was over 21 as it was a "stupid question."

Mr Ralls, a retired insurance firm regional manager, said he expected the store manager to resolve the situation but he was disappointed. "I felt like saying 'What do I look like? Are you a fool?'

"He picks up the wine and, in the manner of a child taking home his ball, says 'Well, we won't serve you'."

[...] Mr Ralls said: "It is bureaucracy gone mad. If the check-out lady, who was about 40, had asked me with a twinkle in her eye perhaps I would not have been so tetchy. "But she asked me the question with a perfectly straight face and I said I wouldn't dignify the question with an answer.

What do you think: Blind adherence to rules or crotchety old man? Link - Thanks mikolka!

I think it's just the sort of idiocy that we can expect to see more and more of.

Nobody is willing to use their brains (or eyes). They just want to follow the written procedure, because that way no-one gets blamed (or sued).
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That's the rule in my local gas station for selling cigarettes. It used to be anybody who looked under a certain age - now they ask everybody regardless of their appearance.

Maybe it's stupid, but it covers their butts, and it's not the clerk's fault. Companies insist on it.

If he doesn't like the rule, he doesn't have to shop there. That's how capitalism works.
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What else do you expect when police forces have nothing better to do than use mature-looking yet underage bait as a sting to bust businesses for selling alcohol or tobacco to minors?

Result: stores now have blanket policies requiring proof of ID. It's kind of sad, but you'd think by age 72 a person would have a thick enough skin to deal with something so minor.
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that might be how capitalism works, but it's also how evil works. it's called the "banality of evil" and in some circles it is the mechanism by which the Holocaust and other acts of atrocious evil are committed: by folks following orders and defering to authority and the chain of command. Check out the Milgram experiment:

in this case, the clerk and the boss are just following orders that resulted in the loss of a sale (or a bottle of wine from the customer's POV). but in fact, this is the same exact behavior that put people on trains to death camps and that's no exaggeration. of course, rabid racism or other forms of hate and society-supported forms of discrimination help to bolster the process, but it has been shown over and over again that real "evil" can be perpetrated by "regular" folks who are "just following orders" and who, in fact, do not share in the consensus view (e.g., Jews are subhuman scum; Mexicans should be kept out of the US with a wall; all Muslims are radical would-be terrorists; etc.).

don't be fooled by the fact that the fellow was stubborn and ornery about the situation; yes, he could have simply told the clerk his age, but more importantly, he questioned the application of the "rule" and failed to elicit any thoughtful or considered responses from the store staff, who could have reviewed the applicability of the age-policy and seen that in this case, it could be waived. in this case, the blind adherence to the rule prevailed, regardless of the results (i.e., the rule was set up to keep under-aged buying but was not set up to force compliance with disclosure when the customer is clearly over the legal age for purchase).
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One summer I worked as a grocery store clerk. We ID'd everybody. I go with blind adherence for two reasons: first, the company would fire me without hesitation if I didn't and second, i would be fined and/or arrested(me, not just the store) if a cop saw me since where I live the law says 100% ID check. Some cranky old man is not worth either one happening to me. Actually, most of my friends at the time wouldn't have been worth it either.
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i think ita stupid, if he was 30-40 it could be valid, but i guess you ca tal if there above 21 by than.... just rules to annoy.
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Personally, I think a lot of ID regulations use somewhat absurd standards. A day after I turned 21 I wasn't ID'd when I tried to buy beer. Later, within a year or so, I was, when I tried to buy a ticket to see an 'R' rated movie. I personally felt like yelling at the clerk then too; "I can go buy a bottle of tequila without somebody batting an eyelash and yet you don't think I'm old enough to handle this movie?" Even when a computer requires entering a birth date, I've noticed many clerks will just cheat, usually by entering 111111 (11/11/1911) but I suppose that won't work for much longer.
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Both. It was retarded of them to ask for his ID, but he didn't have to make such a fuss. It's not like they were asking for a DNA sample. If it was me I probably would have rolled my eyes and said "Do I look under 21 to you?", but I wouldn't have been so stubborn. Especially because the checkout person was just following rules. There's no sense barking at some poor cashier making minimum wage and getting shit on by both managers AND cutomers.
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I manage two liquor stores in Arkansas, and though I'm usually against hassles at store check outs and absolutely for personal privacy as a shopper( I always refuse to give out my phone number or anything like that to make a purchase.), I think this guy is wrong on this one. It's not a matter of data mining or privacy invasion. It's a matter of law. He wasn't buying a loaf of bread or a tee shirt and they wanted his phone number or zip code for market research purposes or to send him advertisements. He was attempting to purchase alcohol, a highly regulated substance. Here in Arkansas, (I don't know about other states) to purchase alchohol you must show a valid ID that says your old enough to drink, period. Not just young people. Everyone. Sure, I never check for the ID's of people that are like this guy, obviously old enough to be a grandparent. But by not checking I am technically in violation of the law. I expect my staff to check everyone's ID. It prevents any slip ups. If you check everyone's no minors can accidently slip through the cracks. This guy should not expect the clerk to be willing to risk their job or going to jail or expect the business to risk their license to sell him a bottle of wine. Adults should carry their ID with them and be prepared to show it if they want to buy alcohol regardless of their age. Sure, I don't necessarily love having to dig out my wallet and show my ID any time I buy an age regulated substance,either, but I understand that I am not the center of the universe. It's not fair to expect to be above the law and incovenience cashiers and shop keepers because I would like them to violate the law for me. If it's that big a deal to him, he should be protesting the law and take it up at the legislative level, rather than causing trouble at the store level. He should get the law changed, show his ID, or learn to do without wine.
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I've always heard that once you look 30 you aren't ID'd anymore. At least thats what store clerks in Virginia tell me.

As for this matter, I agree it is absurd to ID someone when its obvious they are over 21. Although it was a little petty, it takes stands like those to question stupid rules and regulations.
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first time in a store. im cool with getting ID'd.. thats it. .happens again. i take my business to someplace else. its been no problem. i just have to go to mom and pop shops.. probably for the best.
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If it's some thing where the clerk has to swipe a valid state id to continue the purchase, then yeah, I can understand it. If the clerk couldn't do it just because of the rule that's ridiculous. I've worked in stores before when the rule was anyone under 30, but I just used common sense.
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The 21 to buy alcohol is ridiculous to begin with. America is one of the only countries in the world that regulates alcohol so tightly. In most countries, as long as you are of relative age, they sell it to you.

The reason the law exists is for two reasons:

1. To Tax those that don't abide by the rules, forcing them to pay fines through tickets, e.g. Minor in possessions.

2. To keep people subdued because they grow up knowing that the government and law enforcement keeps such close tabs on everything. The earlier you learn to follow the rules, the better fat dumb American you will make.

If the government can keep the fear in you, then you won't fight back. Simple as that. Do you really think that the difference of 21 to 18 makes that big of a difference? No, it doesn't. I sound like a real conspiracy theorist right now, which I'm not, but it's true - the American government is a government of scare tactics. Should send this old guy to Gitmo for Christ's sake!
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I think it's both. My store has been stung by the cops, once resulting in a 3-day suspension of all liquor sales. If we sell to a minor again, we lose the liquor license altogether. Not only that, whoever does the selling has to go to court and pay a very hefty fine. We don't have to card everyone, they tell us to use our judgment, I wouldn't have carded that guy, but if I did, he'd HAVE to show me his ID. I've carded women who were born in the 50s because they looked so young. It's hard to tell these days. You can refuse to sell alcohol to anyone for any reason. That said, I think it's stupid to place blame on the cashier for selling to someone underage, especially since the rule of thumb is the gray hair rule (I knew kids with gray hair in high school). I also think it's stupid that you can't sell alcohol to someone that you SUSPECT will then give it to a minor, how the hell am I supposed to know that? I tried denying people who let their underage kids carry the bottle to the register for that reason and they were PISSED. One guy actually called to complain afterwards, so I just stopped doing that. I think this guy was a jerk for giving the cashier a hard time just because she didn't ask in a joking manner, but it's his fault if he refuses and she doesn't sell it to him. She was covering her own ass, I don't blame her.I don't get why the manager didn't just say it was fine, but good for him for sticking up for his employee. Dumb law, dumb guy. The end.
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As someone who has worked in this field, I can honestly say that I have trained a couple of morons that wanted to ask people who were very obviously of age. Even saw one deny a sale of cigarettes to someone who looked to be about 40. The las says that a person must look to be at least 27. I am 32, and still get asked for ID, but I take it as a compliment. At his age, he should never have been asked, except in a joking manner--which I have done to older people, just to make them smile!

Common sense has gone from this world!
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That guy is obviously over 21. I would be embarrassed to be a clerk and have to ask for his ID. I probably wouldn't. And if I got fired for it, too bad. I wouldn't want to work for people who made me act like a moron and harass old folks, anyway.
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I used to think similarly to Mr Ralls (I'm 26 but still get ID'd plenty of times) but after talking to a cashier about it I found out that, if they serve someone under the legal age, not only does the store get its knuckles rapped but the cashier themselves is fined and likely loses their job.

If it were me manning the till, I'd ask everyone - that way, when some annoyed just-over-the-age shopper says "I'm old enough, dammit" I can say with an honest conscience "yes, but I ask everybody". Admittedly, I would've said it with a bit of a smile to this particular wrinkly old puffin, but who knows what sort of day the cashier had been having - did Mr Hall greet her with a cheery hello or was he as grumpy as this whole story would suggest?
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people are missing the point.
when you give them your ID they "swipe it" into the computer.

if you're smart, i don't need to tell you the rest.
if you're like the rest of the sheeple, then that should'nt bother you.

tick tick tick
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Not sure about the laws in Europe, but here in the states, if someone is NOT carded regardless of how old they look, the store can lose it's liquor license.

Sometimes that means the store has to close down. Grocery stores and liquor stores cannot be expected to run without a liquor license.

If some old guy feels a bit hassled because some clerk is DOING THEIR JOB, he should suck it up. Maybe he cut corners and did a shoddy job as an insurance firm regional manager, but some people actually do what they're supposed to do.
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where has the common sense gone?

I worked in a MA Walgreens, where ID is mandatory for cigarettes. We'd ask the "ederly" looking their birth date only and would type it in the computer (111111 not working for long indeed), and would ID the young or litigious ones.

By mixing juvenile protection and good sense, I think Walgreen's achieved a good balance.

You still had some customers that would not give their birth date. Well we would send them at our neighbour, a gas station 30 yards away... The law is the law is the law.
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@ sparge: "What else do you expect when police forces have nothing better to do than use mature-looking yet underage bait as a sting to bust businesses for selling alcohol or tobacco to minors?"

Someone got busted, didn't he?

Definitely carding this 76-year-old was overboard. The clerk should have made it like a joke (just like the he said) but he also could have just left the store and not turned this into an Internet sensation. Even the registers that require the ID to be swiped must have an override that the manager could have used.
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The store was 100% in the right. They can get in a lot of trouble if they sell to someone underage, and while this guy may not look underage, I haven't looked underage since I was 14. In many states in the US both the clerk and the store can be fined separately, and inconveniencing an old guy is a small price to pay compared to a $500 fine for the first offense, or $1000 fine for the 2nd offense (at least that's what it was when I was a clerk, but that's been several years ago now) and keep in mind that fine gets paid twice; once by the store and once by the clerk.
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here in europe (netherlands, im sure off) they ask for ID at stores, but they NEVER swipe them, you dont have to hand it over, showing is enough...than again, i hardly ever have to show my ID, only when i buy weed :)
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