A shop in England refused to sell two bottles of wine to a white-haired, balding grandfather—you know, the kind with wrinkles on his face—because he balked when the cashier asked him to prove he was over 21. The man, being ornery in that way that old folks just naturally embrace, refused: “I felt like saying ‘What do I look like? Are you a fool?’”
What particularly upset him was that the store manager refused to intervene—instead, he took the wine away. “He picks up the wine and, in the manner of a child taking home his ball, says ‘Well, we won’t serve you’. …I applaud any efforts to stop kids being served and standing on street corners getting drunk. But this was just totally stupid.”
A spokesperson for the liquor store offered a “them’s the rules” explanation which sounds like it was pulled from the script for “Idiocracy” (emphasis is ours):
We take our responsibility with regard to selling alcohol very seriously and all our stores operate the Task 21 scheme, which addresses the difficulties our staff face in being able to determine if a customer is legally old enough to buy alcohol. To further limit any element of doubt staff at the West Kirby store are required to ask anyone buying alcohol to confirm that they are over 21.
That spokesperson totally has a point. We’ve seen enough Scooby Doos to know how well a good rubber mask can fool even veteran mystery solvers. In fact, maybe from now on, store clerks should be required to try to pull your mask off your face if you don’t show ID. And what about children with progeria? If you didn’t have this policy, they could totally get away with some hooch. Criminals are everywhere.
Look, we sympathize with the man, and we’re not mocking the cashier either, who probably agrees that it’s overkill but isn’t in a position to argue. But blind bureaucracy like this makes the whole human race look stupid. We suspect the store manager is much closer to 21 than the grandfather or the cashier.