Safeway IDs Everyone In Your Party When You Buy Beer

Daniel went to his local Safeway with his brother to buy some beer. Daniel had his ID, but his brother didn’t—but that’s okay, because Daniel was the one buying the beer. The cashier, however, felt otherwise, and wouldn’t complete the transaction without carding both of them. The store manager told him “the policy is, at the discretion of the clerk, to check the ID of every person present.”

The manager hinted that this was a liability issue, but it sounds to us like Safeway’s employees have decided to play morality police instead of following the actual rules. Daniel sums up the problem:

The bottom line is that walking into a store and leaving without purchasing anything should never necessitate showing an ID. This policy creates that scenario and does not in any way prevent underage drinking. Loss of freedom and no added prevention. Lose-Lose.

Here’s the letter he tried to send to Safeway, but they don’t provide an email address on their website or in their press releases. (You can find phone numbers and a mailing address for Safway here, Daniel.)

Yesterday I decided to purchase a six pack of beer. Sure, there are liquor stores near me, but Safeway happens to be about a block from my house. So my brother and I, who recently turned 21 and promptly lost his ID, walked the fifty yards to Safeway. Upon arriving at the register with beer in hand I was asked for my ID, not a problem. The clerk then asked for my brother’s ID. My brother had not touched the beer, nor had he handed me money, etc. I was taken back, after all I had made this exact purchase with my brother a handful of times already and had never been asked for his ID. I told the clerk this and he said that it was Safeway policy to ask for his ID. Needless to say we walked out of Safeway, sauntered across the parking lot and paid the same price for the same six pack at a convenience store – with no hassle.

Still irked by this today, I decided to stop by Safeway and see if I could find out exactly what the policy was. After speaking with the manager of the Safeway I walked away with a clearer view of the policy. The policy is, at the discretion of the clerk, to check the ID every person present. An additional reason, as the manager explained to me, was one of liability.

On the surface this sounds like a reasonable policy. However, upon further thought, it is far from reasonable.

To begin with, checking the ID of every person present does not stop underage drinking. Hell, the manager himself suggested I have my brother wait outside next time. Also, I’m pretty sure that if the clerk asks for ID and I show it to him, the liability of the store stops right there. To say it does not means that Safeway is responsible for what I do with the beer after I buy it.

The main reason this upsets me is the need for someone that isn’t buying anything to show ID. If a mother and her prepubescent son walk into Safeway and she buys a case of beer, do you card the son? Clearly (I would hope) not, because there is no indication that the son is going to be drinking the beer. I’m interested, based on appearance alone – what criteria do you use to decide if that person with the alcohol purchaser is going to be consuming it? If my underage Mormon friend, who doesn’t drink alcohol, tags along for the purchase am I to be denied buying alcohol? There are all sorts of scenarios that can be described that destroy any sound purpose for this policy.

The bottom line is that walking into a store and leaving without purchasing anything should never necessitate showing an ID. This policy creates that scenario and does not in any way prevent underage drinking. Loss of freedom and no added prevention. Lose-Lose. You’re also losing all of my business until I have in writing that his policy has been revoked.

If even the manager acknowledges that it’s a trivial “security measure” that a customer can get around so easily, why not just put an end to it?

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. esd2020 says:

    Tops Friendly Markets once followed me out to my car to make sure I wasn’t handing off the beer to someone underage. I’m not sure what would’ve happened if I was — were they gonna take it back?

    • snazz says:

      @esd2020: Wegmas will do that from time to time. They will call the police if you do, and ban you from all of their stores. they will also refuse to sell you booze if they think you are going to give it to a kid waiting outside.

  2. esd2020 says:

    “Also, I’m pretty sure that if the clerk asks for ID and I show it to him, the liability of the store stops right there.”

    Maybe they actually care about cutting back on underage drinking, not just legal liability.

  3. sir_eccles says:

    So walk out then walk back in again leaving your brother outside.

    • czetie says:

      @sir_eccles: I was in my local Giant when the people ahead of me in line did exactly that. When they realized the cashier was going to check all the IDs, they walked out and the older guy walked back in alone. The cashier called the manager, and the manager explained very politely but firmly “Sorry, there were two of you and now there’s just one of you. Unless the other guy comes back and shows his ID too, I’m not selling you alcohol.”

      Personally, I was very impressed with how they handled it. I didn’t even mind the “inconvenience” of having to wait a little longer in line.

    • Mfalconieri says:

      @sir_eccles: Yes but not the point he is trying to make.

  4. Jubilance22 says:

    I thought that was the rule everywhere.

    I went to ABC liquors here in Florida and they wouldn’t sell to me because my friend that was with me didn’t have his ID. I couldn’t even walk out and walk back in to buy it alone.

    • snoop-blog says:

      @Jubilance22: Well just walking into a liquor store means you are required to show id, however safeway is a grocery store that doesn’t require id just to come inside..

      PEOPLE- this isn’t a liquor store, it’s a freaking grocery store, it clearly states on the doors of ALL liquor stores everywhere that you have to be 21 just to enter. If you look younger than 45 they are required to ask for your id, whether your buying anything or not.

      • My keyboard has a typo key says:

        @snoop-blog: PEOPLE- this isn’t a liquor store, it’s a freaking grocery store, it clearly states on the doors of ALL liquor stores everywhere that you have to be 21 just to enter. If you look younger than 45 they are required to ask for your id, whether your buying anything or not.
        ………….

        I am not disagreeing with the principle. Just the accuracy of the statement.

        I have not seen one sign on a door here in Ohio mentioning no one under 21 is prohibited from entry, for a package store. Also I haven’t seen anything about a certain age to be carded, besides being 21. In defense of your statement. Just in the big chains on registers that sell tobacco products. Otherwise all the other stores like corner stores or package stores.. It has the signs required by law for purchasing age minimums.

    • CharlieInSeattle says:

      @Jubilance22: What if it was your kid with you?

  5. muddgirl says:

    *Shrug* I have a hard time getting worked up over this. I’m pretty sure it’s a state law in many places – I had to step outside once at a liquor store in New Hampshire because I forgot my ID, even though I wasn’t buying anything.

    • Amelie says:

      @muddgirl: “I’m pretty sure it’s a state law in many places.” And I’m pretty sure you don’t have the research skills to find out. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions; they aren’t entitled to their own facts.

      @esd2020:”Maybe they actually care about cutting back on underage drinking, not just legal liability. So if a clerk “cares” she has the right to make up new rules on the spot? This sounds like the pharmacists who refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions because they “care” about preventing abortions. Spare me from the store employees trying to run people’s lives.

    • SnakesSolids says:

      @muddgirl:
      Yep, I was in Hampton Beach and they wouldn’t sell to my girlfriend because my ID was expired. I thought “What a crock of bull shit.” But this guy shouldn’t be surprised, most liquor stores do this.

  6. Gokuhouse says:

    This seems like a good method of making your customers unhappy. Do they also check the IDs of teenagers when they happen to be with their parents while they purchase beer too?

    No beer for you!

    • madog says:

      @Gokuhouse: I’m sure it’s a judgment call. For example, if you have a “friend” with you they might ask. Hell, if I owned the store I would probably make it a requirement. You know parents these days. Nothing is their fault. They don’t want to admit that they are shitty parents and will place the blame on anyone but themselves.

      That small rule would prevent the store from getting sued by the parents and/or fined by the state for selling alcohol to someone who had a minor/unid’ed friend with them. Something of which I’m sure would be a hefty price.

      However, if the other people look your child/sibling, I wouldn’t be asking them for id and refusing a sale. Once you get into that territory you create a whole other mess.

      @bravo369: While it’s true that most “normal/smart” people would leave the minor outside of the store while the other bought the alcohol you forget that many, many people are stupid. That’s probably another reason this rule is in place.

      People know that driving drunk is “wrong” [in most cases. "Drunk" can be subjective in my opinion and not based solely on a .08 BAC] but people do it ALL the time. So is murder. Yet somehow people who have never heard of CSI leave blood and semen on every surface and get caught. =P

  7. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    Liquor stores do this all the time where I live. My friend got arrested because she bought liquor and put it in her car (not her trunk) with an underage passenger.

  8. yagisencho says:

    It’s nothing new, really. I’ve had multiple grocery chains do this over the past decade. I don’t think they’re trying to invade your privacy…they’re just trying to avoid paying hefty fines.

  9. ideagirl says:

    I don’t know where the OP lives, but in the town I live in (northern California), all stores do this, and have for years. I live in a small college town, and so many stores have been cited by the ABC for selling to minors that they go overboard the other direction. I’m not sure if that is the law here, but it is definitely the practice.

  10. jwarner132 says:

    This happens to me at the majority of the liquor stores I go to. I think that stores are so paranoid about getting busted for promoting underage drinking that they don’t really care how much they inconvenience you. IMHO writing this letter to Safeway is going to be a waste of your time.

  11. laserjobs says:

    Safeway sucks donkey balls for prices, I bet he saved a few pennies going to the convenience store. I have left a full carts of stuff at stores and walked out for their stupid policies. Nothing pisses me off more than a power tripping employee.

  12. FHJay says:

    I used to work in a grocery store that wasn’t Safeway (we don’t even have them around here) and have seen this rule pulled a hundred times. Even now, years later, if I go to buy beer or liquor I have anyone underage wait in the car because it’s not a hassle I want to bother with. I always assumed it was state law.

  13. levenhopper says:

    I know where I work (a local grocery chain in the Cleveland, OH area), we can get fined if we don’t check everyone’s ID.

  14. Shaftoe says:

    Oooh time for my favorite quote of the week, “Policy is not the Law”

  15. In NJ, the discretion is with the seller. If they suspect you are going to pass along to a minor, they have to either refuse the sale, or alert the police. If they don’t they face escalating fines. I’m sure ABC rules differ, and some places don’t follow the rules, but given the recent rise of anti-teen drinking commercials and ads, I can understand this. Was this close to the 1st? B/c that was a party day, and cops were out. I’m also sure that if the store gets fined, the employee gets fired, so if he wants to follow the rules, who can blame him?

  16. laserjobs says:

    I can see this policy in a “Liquor Store” but not a “Grocery Store”. A underage person should not be in a liquor store in the first place.

    • coren says:

      @laserjobs: Which is exactly why they won’t have that policy – it’s unnecessary.

      I’m with Safeway on this one – it’s not unnecessarily harsh, it’s within their own policies to do so, and hell they’re a private business and can deny service if they want to – just like you can deny them business if you want to. It sounds like they’re being a little overly cautious, but maybe they’ve got good reason

  17. Shawna says:

    I worked at a Wegmans and they also told us we can do this – if people are together that look underage (30 or below they proofed), you should proof them all, if they didn’t have ID, you can call a higher up and they can decide what to do – of course, this didn’t apply to parents with children. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, they’re just covering their butts. Now Wegmans proofs EVERYONE – including 80 year olds.

  18. putch says:

    in college i once had a Hess Mart clerk make the people waiting in the car come in and show ID’s before he would sell us beer. after that we just parked where he couldnt see the car or it’s passengers.

    i still don’t understand why we don’t have an 18yeard drinking age and a 21 year old driving age.

  19. gqcarrick says:

    A lot of grocery stores do this, Tops and Wegmans around where I live do this all the time.

  20. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    To say it does not means that Safeway is responsible for what I do with the beer after I buy it.

    Haven’t bars been sued after someone left drunk and decided to drive?

    I’m not saying that carding people the person purchasing alcohol happens to be with is right or fair. I’m just saying I can understand it when people get a little paranoid.

    • Meggers says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Bars get in trouble because they are serving you and should be cutting you off once you are drunk/wasted/smashed etc.

      You can’t sue a grocery store (for drunk driving or whatever happens after you drink the booze) because they aren’t the ones who are actually serving you.

      • GilliganLQ says:

        @Meggers:

        You can’t sue a grocery store (for drunk driving or whatever happens after you drink the booze) because they aren’t the ones who are actually serving you.

        This might make sense to people that have half a brain, but there’s folks out there that don’t pay any attention to common sense. A few years ago a minor used a fake ID to buy beer at a Wegmans here in Rochester, got drunk, then killed himself driving drunk. The guys parents tried to sue Wegmans for selling him the beer, claiming negligence.

    • Tedicles says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation:

      Well, actually that is very different. As a bartender (in MD/VA/DC anyway) you are licensed by the ABC to serve alcohol. You are therefore responsible for not OVER-serving any patron, and it is your responsibility and liability to cut them off it they appear over the legal limit. This can result in being liable if someone gets drunk from drinks served to them by the bartender, and then gets in their car and drives home. Of course, if the bartender cuts them off, or at least tries to get them a taxi or a ride, they have made a reasonable effort to avoid a dangerous (or illegal) situation.

  21. Tankueray says:

    Everywhere I’ve been to in Texas does this. I’ve seen them do it to a mother with her teenage son at the supermarket. They do it with cigarettes too. Providing tobacco to a minor is some crazy fine (for both of you.) Can’t wait ’till they send in decoys to bum a smoke and then bust people on the corner. Damn. I gave them an idea.

    • MrEvil says:

      @Tankueray: I guess it happens in the more populous areas, but I live in Texas and its been about 2 years since I was last carded for beer at the grocery and liquor stores. I’ve also never been carded at the grocery store with my dad when he gets beer.

  22. JohnDeere says:

    ya your business isnt really gonna hurt them. the world is full of drunks to take your place. and people turn 21 all the time. it is a lame ass policy though. next time buy a couple chickens too, that way you can say your making beer can chicken.

  23. louiedog says:

    I was at Wal-Mart (when I lived in the middle of nowhere it was the only reasonable place to buy beer at 11:30) buying beer with friends. There were four of us and because we were splitting the cost and two of us only had plastic, we split into two lines to pay for our two items so as not to wait for two transactions at one register. We were obviously together, because we were talking back and forth. When it came time to show ID, not only did both people in each line have to show ID to the cashier that was checking them out, since we were together we each had to show ID to the cashier at the OTHER checkout. So, each member of my party had to show ID twice, even the people not buying beer. It made no sense, I guess it was just super strict, ridiculous to the point of pointlessness policy following.

    • chatterboxwriting says:

      @louiedog: Wal-Mart really cards everyone for everything that “might” causes trouble. In the past six months, I have been carded for sinus medication (didn’t have my ID – was dripping in snot and coughing – I obviously needed the damn medicine), Sharpie permanent markers, and correction fluid.

      • Jesse says:

        @chatterboxwriting:

        I agree, Wal-Mart is very ID Check happy. I get carded for some medication, compressed air and even when using my credit card at the self checkouts.

        On cold medicine, the ID requirements could be due to one of two things:

        1) Federal Law requires purchasers of Pseudophedrine based products (e.g., Sudafed) to sign a log book. That’s why you need ID there.

        2) Since “kids” sometimes get high off of cough medicine, some stores are choosing to ID people who buy products with Dextromethorphan (DM).

  24. Meggers says:

    I have had this happen to me as well in MD. Certain counties in MD allow beer and wine to be sold in gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores.

    This has only happened to me when I try to buy in any store that is not an actual liquor store. Granted as I have grown older, this has stopped. I always thought it was the law but that it might get iffy/hard to enforce if it was an adult with their children trying to buy booze.

  25. If this is common behavior, then I take it parents can never buy alcohol with their groceries if their underage children are present?

  26. MPHinPgh says:

    Hey! Come to Pennsylvania! You can’t buy beer in a grocery store. Or a convenience store.

    The only place you can buy beer is at a beer distributor (full cases only), or a bar (grossly inflated prices for 6-packs).

    I drink about a case a YEAR, so chances are if you stop at my house for a beer, it’s old. Sorry.

    • louiedog says:

      @MPHinPgh: I spent the first 23 years of my life in PA and the last couple were a real hassle buying booze. Now I live in CA and I can walk into Rite Aid and buy a bottle of rum if I want to. When I go to the market to buy food for dinner I can buy a bottle of wine to go with it. I really wish other states would get on board with sane liquor laws.

      • MPHinPgh says:

        @louiedog: I know it. Heck, I can skip over the line to Ohio and buy anything I want, all the way down to a SINGLE CAN OF BEER. Not in PA. And my guess is that I won’t live long enough to see that change.

        We always buy our liquor in MD whenever we visit my bro-in-law. Big ‘ol bottle of Captain Morgan’s is a good 8-10 dollars cheaper there than in PA.

    • formatc says:

      @MPHinPgh: Or, as a fellow Pennsylvanian, you can do as I do and just start drinking more beer to make it convenient.

  27. Adisharr says:

    Now I feel better about leaving my 10 y/o out in the parking lot when I buy my weekly bottle of Jack.

  28. acknight says:

    This isn’t uncommon.

    Wegmans, P&C, and Price Chopper do that here in Syracuse.

    It’s their policy. They do have a right to refuse sale.

    • gandalf88 says:

      @acknight:

      It happened to me up in Oswego too. I was under the impression that it was NY state law to ID everyone.

      That’s still better than here in MA, where most places won’t let you buy it without an MA ID. The punishments are way too strict so no one wants to chance it.

  29. brettt says:

    at dominick’s #1136 in buffalo grove, IL, we’ve seen this problem before, more than once. dominick’s is owned by safeway.

    i actually bumped into a friend in the store when i went to buy beer. we went to the checkout together, because we were having a conversation. they would not let me buy the beer because his ID was not with him, even though he is 24. When I told them we didn’t come together, they said it didn’t matter. I asked when I could come back later to get the beer alone, and they said I couldn’t.

    So I went to jewel, their competitor.

  30. SarcasticDwarf says:

    It does not surprise me. I went to the Helena, Montana Safeway last month and among other things grabbed a bottle of wine. They carded me. I have them my state of Montana temporary drivers license as that is what everyone gets until they get around to mailing you the real one since they have no printers at the DMV. They (both the clerk and her manager) would not accept it as they did not recognize the ID. Yeah, one issued a mile away at the DMV in the capital city. *sigh* morons.

  31. I had that happen in college, it’s PHENOMINALLY stupid. One local liquor store allowed you to bring in your a child if he was under 5, but between 5 and 17, had to sit in the car, and over 17, YOU couldn’t buy unless THEY also were 21. The one down the street didn’t let in infants and toddlers, so if you’d given birth in the last five years, you were SOL liquor-wise. Which is really not a good thing.

    So basically, if I at age 26 stopped by the liquor store with my 20-year-old sister so we could pick up a bottle of cheap red for cooking the day before Thanksgiving while running last-minute errands for my mom, I’d get denied because she was 20 and I might be buying her liquor. STUUUUUUUUUPID.

  32. snoop-blog says:

    I don’t think it’s a fair rule, and it is a form of accusation. The whole thing is bullshit. If a minor wants to drink alcohol, there is little your going to do to stop it. Doesn’t anyone remember what it was like to be a minor? This situation is would have only been a minor set back to me and my friends. This is like when I go to a football game, buy 2 beers and give one to my fiance who inevitably leaves her id in the car. They can accuse me of contributing to a minor all they want but the fact is I know how old she is so I know I’m not. Put me in jail for it, and when it comes to court that I did not contribute a minor, I will then sue the shit out of you.

    • midwestkel says:

      @snoop-blog: I agree with you on that shizzle.

    • redcorsair says:

      @snoop-blog: I work in a liquor store in Florida. While it is up to our discretion, if someone buys alcohol in our store and the police happen to be outside and they decide to card them and find out one of them is underage/no id, whoever checked them out will be fined by the state, plus have to go through classes given by the state, which also cost money. Its a way of covering our ass.

      Obviously this does not apply to families, but it is something we have to deal with on almost a daily basis. The law says that we have the right to id anybody who walks in the door. You could be 80. If you do not have id, you do not get to buy anything. The end.

  33. jwm1314 says:

    we have a convienence store located in the middle of our student neighbourhood where I go to college that ID’s everyone in the party. granted, different atmosphere than Safeway (1 6 pack or so vs. 2 guys carrying 8 cases to a party), but you get the idea.

    Beer isn’t a right, it’s a privilage.

  34. Coenbro says:

    When I was in college I was in line, ready to buy some beer. This cute girl was behind me and I started talking to her. By the time I got to the front of the line the cashier asked for both our IDs. I told him I didn’t even know her name and he would not believe me. On principal we both left. We exchanged numbers, went out later that week, did many things that college students tend to do. I LOVE that cashier.

    Another time, at the same store (Wegmans in Ithaca by the way) I saw a father buying beer and they DID ask for his daughters ID. He was incensed.

  35. ThickSkinned says:

    Safeway is completely within their right to refuse to sell alcohol if there is any question regarding the age of people in the party. In college, I managed a liquor store. If there was anything ‘odd’ about the customer, we could refuse them service. Odd things included sketchy (possibly fake) ID, acting overly nervous, or being possibly intoxicated. If anyone complained about being refused service, I would tell them to come back with a police officer and I would be glad to sell to them. Funny thing, no one ever came back.

    • jimconsumer says:

      @ThickSkinned: If anyone complained about being refused service, I would tell them to come back with a police officer and I would be glad to sell to them. Funny thing, no one ever came back.

      No shit. Did you ever consider they simply took their business elsewhere, as opposed to being some sort of nefarious miscreant you so handily stopped? Just because one does not return with a police officer (of all things…) does not make your supposition correct.

  36. jamesmusik says:

    Most states make it illegal to sell liquor to someone you suspect is going to give it to a minor, so carding everyone in a party is just part of a common sense way to make sure you comply with the law.

    If I were a cashier, even it weren’t store policy, I would card everyone in sight. Cashiers are PERSONALLY responsible for violations of liquor laws, including large fines and usually on-the-spot firing.

  37. MightyHorse says:

    that happened to me once. i had a cart full of groceries along with my 12 pack of beer. my roommate didn’t have his ID, so they clerk said he couldn’t sell me the beer w/o my buddy’s ID. i looked at him and said, “well, enjoy putting all these groceries back then, b/c i’m not buying jack here!” and walked out, leaving said cart full of groceries in the middle of his lane. i should have stuck around to see what he did, but i was too pissed.

  38. pigbearpug says:

    This happened to me when I went on a walk with my girlfriend. She didn’t bring her purse and we stopped by a liquor store on the way home. The guy wouldn’t sell me a bottle of rum because she didn’t have her id. This just pissed me off so I told him I would never shop there again. (Which sucks because it’s like 3 blocks away) but I found out by going to a different store that they were way overpriced. Score.

  39. dantsea says:

    State liquor control have kicked retailers in the pocketbook, they have done it hard and they have done it repeatedly. Anyone who complains will get an apology for the inconvenience, perhaps even a gift card or a few lottery tickets from the store director. But this policy will. not. change. Ever.

  40. brennan_bm says:

    It’s not just store policy it’s the law you dumbasses. It’s called a two party sale. That store clerk could get fired or worse fined.

  41. schiff says:

    Every single grocery store I have purchased beer from in New York state has ID’d everyone with me at one time or another. Its very common and is recommended by the state of new york.

  42. chatterboxwriting says:

    Of course I meant might CAUSE trouble.

  43. zigziggityzoo says:

    Almost every store in Ann Arbor, MI does this. Why? It’s a college town. But they only tend to do it for college kids.

    A mother with her 3 kids buying a case of beer won’t have to provide ID for her children, but me and my brother? That’s another story.

  44. snoop-blog says:

    I’m 25 but look like I’m 15, so I really get a kick out of buying and drinking beer in public…

  45. nightshade74 says:

    My favorite story was when Food World carded my 80 year old grandmother buying a bottle of wine to cook with.
    Heck at the time I was *30* years old and with her
    (but they didnt ask for my ID…..)

  46. pgh9fan says:

    I used to work for the Pennsylvania State Liquor Control Board. (You can only buy wines and spirits from the state here–no liquor stores like other states.) We were required by law to card everyone who was involved in making the purchase. If a 21-year-old is buying and is with a 19-year-old that’s OK as long as the teen wasn’t involved in the selection. If they discussed back and forth what to buy everyone gets carded and if anyone is under 21 it’s no sale. I actually think it’s a great policy.

  47. ManiacDan says:

    I had the same thing happen to me in a Price Chopper in Albany NY. I emailed the consumerist about it but it never got posted.

    My girlfriend (who was 23) was with me at the time. I was getting a huge cart of groceries plus a 6 pack of beer. The cashier wouldn’t let me buy it since my girlfriend didn’t have ID. The manager backed her up. I told them to void the whole order and walked out. On my way out I saw a man with a toddler buying beer and asked the manager why they didn’t card the toddler. He walked into his office and shut the door.

  48. kepler11 says:

    sure, stores have the right to refuse service or almost anything
    they want to do, because you and the store are both entering a
    voluntary transaction.

    But the store should recognize the stupidity of this tactic, because
    it is only the fact that someone underage is standing there that makes
    them think that underage drinking might be an issue. And what makes
    them believe that they know all the circumstances and possibilities of
    what that situation is?

    First — it is not their job to police underage drinking (although
    they may believe that asking for ID somehow shields them from liability
    at all). There is a whole world of people outside the store that one
    could give the alcohol to — do they believe that the act of asking for
    ID from the person standing next to you is going to prevent all the
    other possibilities? Even if their argument is to prevent the person
    next to you, what have they accomplished?

    Secondly — store managers (and people in general) need to accept
    the unknown and the uncontrollable. I.e. be more aware of the fact that
    if the only reason you know something is that someone gives you that
    information, then you might as well also accept that they could just as
    well not have provided you that info. What I mean is that if you’re
    asking for my friend’s ID because I have him standing there next to me,
    realize that I could have asked him to wait outside and you would never
    know — so just accept that you would have sold me the beer anyway. And
    if you have legal rules about who can buy alcohol, then let that be it
    – don’t go making up rules to treat people differently because of
    “suspicions”. If it’s a genuine problem, then work to have the law
    changed.

    • @kepler11: It’s the seller’s job to enforce the laws in place ‘meant’ (used loosely) to police underage drinking.

      This is all standard practice in Arizona. You should expect to get carded. No big deal!

      While the buyer’s party is in the store, with booze, they have every right to enforce age limits/ID checks, especially if in a state (like AZ) that routinely runs stings on stores selling to under-age people! It’s way too easy and costly to lose a liquor license.

      I know I was smart enough to wait around the corner when I was under-age and getting something bou…err…I mean when I didn’t have an ID.

  49. Mr. Guy says:

    i think this rule is unbelievably stupid and extremely annoying. why not just card everybody in the damn store whenever somebody checks out a six pack- they could be ‘with’ the purchaser of the beer, but just not standing near them. and let’s card everybody in the parking lot too. actually, everybody in the state. you could be distributing that beer to any of them. actually, fuck it, anytime anybody in america buys booze, that store should have to card every living person in the entire country, at which point they will discover that there are quite a few people who are under 21 that you may or may not be acquainted with and planning to give the booze to, so transaction denied. nobody in America will ever drink again, the children will be saved from the devil alcohol, and all will be right in the world.

  50. lastfm says:

    I work as a checkout manager at a regional grocery store. We only ID persons buying the alcohol. So if we have knowledge of the source of the money, we have the right to ID all persons buying the alcohol. In short, if we see you passing cash around, we will ID all persons in the group. It’s very rare that I actually see money being handed off, but it happened today. Four young, rowdy girls were with two older guys. They passed cash right in front of me, real smooth. I told the checker to ID everyone. My other manager told the guy she would have to ID all of them. The group just went out and left, beer-free.

  51. Ayo says:

    Every time I go to Florida they do this to me. When i was 21, and my girlfriend was 20, they wouldn’t let me buy a case of beer. I asked them why and they said it was because I could give it to her. One time on a spring break trip, they assumed that these younger kids behind me in line were with us. So they refused to sell it to me. I calmly told them that I was by myself and have never seen these people in my life. Lady was rude, and called security. Needless to say this was the last straw, so I shot the case of beer into a buggy like a basketball and “peaced out.”

  52. ajlei says:

    Browsing the comments, it seems like it’s been mentioned. However, I’ll toss in my two cents and add that when I or my roommate are buying beer, we frequently are shopping together. We are both in our early twenties (over 21, of course) and we are both always carded. It adds hardly any time to the transaction and it’s really no inconvenience for anybody. And it’s really just one more step to prevent underage drinking. I applaud stores who will check both persons ID’s. I think a mother with a child is not a scenario where the cashier would be checking two IDs, but I think that it’s a good precaution when there are people buying it and any of them look like they could be underage.

    I don’t consider it any violation of privacy. Where I go, they’ll typically type in the birthday of whoever is buying, and then check the ID of the other person. They don’t even record anything and I’m betting those cashiers don’t keep cameras in their glasses to steal your identity for later.

    • kepler11 says:

      @ajlei: “…And it’s really just one more
      step to prevent underage drinking. I applaud stores who will check both
      persons ID’s. I think a mother with a child is not a scenario where the
      cashier would be checking two IDs…”

      that’s the lamest reasoning ever. Any step is worth it, no
      matter how stupid or ill-justified or inconvenient? And are you saying
      that there are no instances of parents providing their kids alcohol?
      And how do you know that the two people in line are related,
      parent/child, or not? So someone wanting to pull this off should just
      get someone who looks like they could be their parent to avoid your
      idiotically uninformed scrutiny?

      How far does the ridiculous guessing game go?

  53. TexasScout says:

    Abet unusual, but the penalties for “making alcohol available to a minor are not light.

  54. scagnetti says:

    This happened to me and my wife. I had my ID but she didn’t. I was 37 and she was 35 at the time. Neither of us could be confused with teenagers. I asked for the manager who quickly overrode the checkout person.

    • penarestel says:

      @scagnetti: Wow, I’m surprised that the manager overrode the cashier. I know for a fact that in Ohio the cashier has the final say on who they sell alcohol to. Granted, I don’t think they should card everyone in the party (unless they see money changing hands), but if the cashier makes that decision then no one can override them.

  55. ajlei says:

    Also, forgot to mention, Safeway making sure it checks people in line means Safeway is covering their asses. They can’t tell you what to do with alcohol once it leaves the building, but I’m sure they’d want to take every measure they could that they weren’t the ones responsible.

    And to respond to the OP:

    “I’m interested, based on appearance alone – what criteria do you use to decide if that person with the alcohol purchaser is going to be consuming it?”

    Probably the same criteria for the person who’s purchasing the beer. Sorry that Safeway is losing all your business because of this but what if Safeway didn’t check ID and some teenager got some alcohol and crashed into you driving away and you decided not to shop at Safeway because they sold to a minor? Not attacking you but I think Safeway, and any other grocer, is really doing the right thing.

    People shouldn’t be forgetting their IDs, anyway.

    • @ajlei:

      People shouldn’t be forgetting their IDs, anyway.

      Why is this exactly? It’s not a law. At least not yet.

      • SinisterMatt says:

        @probablyawkward:

        It’s probably so that they can ID you (or your body) if something happens to you. Not so much a rule/law, but a generally good practice nonetheless.

        @samurailynn:

        In a sense I agree with you. However, recall that most of illegal underage drinking happens at house parties or in dorm rooms or wherever, not out in plain site like a Safeway Parking Lot. The cops can’t effectively control those areas. Thus, it seems to make more sense to stop it at its source.

        Nevertheless, when I worked at Randalls in Houston about 8 years ago (incidentally also owned by Safeway) we were instructed to card the person buy the beer if they looked like they might have been under or around 21. I can’t recall ever having to card the group, nor them telling us to do so. It was always funny when I carded someone who was 40 or so. They almost always took it as a compliment.

        I wonder what would happen if you had someone underage with you and you were short a dollar (assuming you had no credit or debit cards on you) and the underage person spotted you enough to cover your booze. Would the whole group get carded then, or just the person who paid the most amount (since clearly that person was buying it)?

        Cheers!

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @ajlei: People shouldn’t be forgetting their IDs, anyway.
      What, on the off chance that I’m buying a six pack and strike up a conversation with them and they might get carded before I can buy my beer?

      I want to know, did they make you show your receipt??

  56. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    This is well within their rights, and really is carding a BAD thing?

  57. chuckv says:

    Isn’t the real problem here the fact that there is a drinking age? The 21 drinking age has glorified alcohol to those in high school and college, and has sent drinking underground, leading to more dangerous drinking. Also, it’s a basic rights issue. I’m 18, what right does the government have to tell me what I can and cannot put in my body? To those who say “they need to make sure you don’t hurt yourself or anybody else,” I say what right do I have to expect anybody else to protect me from my own actions? We used to call being allowed to do what you want as long as you don’t interfere with others “liberty,” and even fought a war so we could have it.

  58. mermaidshoes says:

    as many have noted, you have to be of age to just be in a bar or liquor store, so it makes reasonable sense to card everyone involved in an alcoholic transaction. if enough stores are found to be involved in selling alcohol that ends up in the hands (mouths/tummies/blood systems) of minors, you might find yourself in a massachusetts situation, where you can’t even buy a goddamn beer in the goddamn grocery store. goddammit.

    in college, we quickly learned to wait in the car, or to casually examine the candy aisle while the oldies or fake ID holders checked out. mmm, candy. i think that “everyone’s ID gets checked” is sort of a first-week college lesson. at your serious drinking schools, at least.

  59. dwarf74 says:

    Happens to me all the time at grocery stores in Illinois.

    • SpdRacer says:

      @dwarf74: See my previous comment and I live in a college town. I have also worked in a liquor store (in Illinois) and know that carding everyone isn’t the law.

  60. Xerloq says:

    This is why I don’t drink – it’s too hard to buy the stuff.

    Really, though, I quickly checked my state code, and though IANAL, it seems stores must only verify the proof of age of the person to whom they are selling the alcohol. The store policy can be offered as evidence that they verified legal age.

    IMHO, that’s the bloke paying for it. Carding everyone seems utter nonsense. Outside of ID, it also appears that the purchaser can offer an affidavit to the store as well.

    The only CYA stores need is checking the age of the purchaser. Regardless of my beliefs on morality of drinking, stores should not play play police. That’s why we have real police. There are already too many people telling us what we can and can’t do. I don’t need Safeway doing it, too.

  61. bart234465 says:

    I work at Target, and yes we have the right to card any party if we feel you are buying for someone else. Management will always side with us, even carding an entire family. They would rather deal with an angry customer and not pay a fine for not carding. Now the register forces use to swipe at least one ID, but I always go out of my way to explain this. I hate having to do it, but if I just put in a random birth date and they find out, its a HUGE fine and obviously I’m fired. Such a hassle for everyone involved for just a 12 pack of Bud Light!

    • kepler11 says:

      @bart234465: “…I work at Target, and yes we have the right to card any party if we feel you are buying for someone else…”

      What use is your “feeling”? Is there any proof of your keen knack
      for determining when alcohol is being provided to minors, and how about
      all the times you misjudged or completely missed an instance of such?
      Like a parent buying alcohol and providing to the kids?

      I suspect you have no good information on how effective/ineffective
      you are, so why do you (or other storekeepers) act like you’re the last
      line of defense and take it upon yourselves to card anyone but the
      person who is legally required to be showing ID?

      Basically, why do you believe this is your job?

    • parad0x360 says:

      @bart234465: Thats not Targets policy. Target requires you to card the person paying for the items, not everyone in their party. The training materials make that quite clear.

      The only time its suggested you card more than one person is when it seems shady, as in you saw them passing money around. Otherwise there is nothing wrong with buying alcohol in the presence of a minor. Legally or morally.

  62. theblackdog says:

    I side with Safeway on this one. Many places have ABC laws that state that everyone in the party has to be of age, not just the purchases. Hell, many states are making it a felony now if you’re caught buying alcohol for a minor. So I can understand it if Safeway has just decided to ID everyone at all of their stores so that they can avoid having any of their stores run afoul of the ABC laws in their location.

  63. QrazyQat says:

    Don’t try to buy alcohol if you have your toddler in the stroller.

  64. Mollyg says:

    This also happened to me, but with an interesting twist: the clerk said that it state law required them to card everyone in the group. I later looked up the applicable state law (NM) and it said nothing about carding everyone.

    While I agree that a store may have stricter carding policies then required, I do not think that they should have lied about it being state law.

  65. xspook says:

    While active duty military, I was on leave in Ohio and stopped at a local convenience store to buy some beer. I was 23 at the time. The clerk asked for my ID, and I provided my military ID which clearly showed my photo and age. They refused to accept it. I then showed my out of state license, and they also refused to accept that. They said “if you don’t have an Ohio ID, we won’t sell to you”. No problem. I left the beer on the counter and start to walk out. The guy yells,”you have to put that back in the cooler!” Yah, good luck with that. I went down the street to a real liquor store and completed my transaction.

  66. stanner says:

    This is why I made fake IDs for all my kids! They can more easily go shopping with me that way, and help pick the appropriate liquids for the morning’s cereal.

    Actually, this rule seems fine to me – though it’s been years since anyone has bothered asking for mine.

  67. seraphicstar says:

    this happened to me. i had my old licence, and paper licence (just had turned 21) and my husband was buying some sort of choice beverage. clerk told us that even though i was clearly 21, and so was he that he was not going to sell us anything.
    i didnt know my birthdate changed when my licence expired. learn something new every day?

  68. parad0x360 says:

    I got one better. I was at an Irving Gas Station trying to buy my 25 year old Girlfriend some of those grape flavored smirnoff alcoholic drinks. I went in by myself and brought them to the counter.

    The clerk asked me for ID and I gave it to him and then he looked outside and saw my Girlfriend in the car, there was only 3 cars in the lot so he must have seen me get out. He told me she needed to come in and provide ID. I told him she wasnt buying it, I was and she is over 21 anyways. He demanded she come in which I found to be incredibly stupid.

    I waved her in and asked her to show him her ID. He did and finished ringing us up at which point I just told him no thanks. He told me it was “your loss” to which I replied that it wasnt really because there was another store on our way home that probably sold it cheaper. Markup on alcohol is quite large and its big profit for the store, and while I was only spending like $10 thats still a sale they lost because they acted stupid.

  69. ratattak says:

    honestly, this is quite common.

    take for example, I work at a gas station. If two, three, etc guys come in together and they get alcohol together, i am REQUIRED BY MY JOB to ID every person who TOUCHED alcohol. So if one guy carries them all, then I only have to ID him. But if they get say, 6 or 7 packs of beer, and someone helps them carry it, I am REQUIRED to ID ALL.

    and yes it is a liability issue… not just for the store, but for me as well. If any one of them that are associated with the purchase is a minor, and a cop sees it, he can arrest ME, and hold ME accountable, not the store. so I get the $500-1000 fine, and I lose MY job. So really, if you are working a shit low paying job like a gas station or safeway, we have a right to be dicks when it comes to asking for IDs

    • sburnap42 says:

      @ratattak: Good thing Trader Joes doesn’t enforce that. My five year old loves to “help” the cashier. Once I looked over to see him precariously handing a 1.5 liter bottle of whisky to her.

  70. evilfremen says:

    I am pretty sure this is the law here in Washington DC. I know its not that common of law, but I guess you sort of get used to it after a while.

  71. SpearXXI says:

    It all depends who is the cashier. I’ve gone to different stores, and some ID me, some don’t, and some ID everyone. *shrug* At first I was surprised, when I went to one store, when I just turned 21, my sister bought beer, and only she was carded (she was 24).

  72. This law has always confused me…. What if I’m shopping for groceries with my teenage daughter and I buy beer. Am I not allowed to buy. Back many years ago, a grocery store refused to sell me beer because my 8 month pregnant wife had left her ID at home. It all defies logic.

  73. NotYou007 says:

    This has been going on for over 20yrs and is nothing new. Make sure all your friends have ID and are over 21 when making the purchase. If they are younger, make them wait outside. If they don’t have their ID, make them wait outside. I once had to show two forms of ID in Virginia to purchase hard liquor.

    Stupid stuff like this should not even make the front page of this web site.

  74. SpdRacer says:

    The only time I have ever had anyone in my party, that wasn’t the buyer, carded was when there was cash exchanged between party members in view of the clerk.

  75. philledup says:

    This has happened to my sister and me three times at a Whole Foods. The first time it happened I called the store later and the manager said that it was not a company or store policy, the cashier just on a whim said that they had to have both parties IDs to sell alcohol. Each subsequent time I’ve had to have a manager come over and instruct the cashier to sell me beer. My sister is underage but that shouldn’t matter, she never touched the beer or gave me any money. Yet another reason to dislike Whole Foods, besides the douche-baggery.

  76. geeoph says:

    This is far from new in NY. I’ve been stopped from buying beer at a Wegman’s while my friends were out in the car waiting for me, because they would not come in and get ID’d. Apparently security told the cashier that there were “underage looking” people in my car and to not sell me any alcohol. It’s habit here.

  77. 310Drew says:

    This is pretty common policy. If your friend/brother does not want to show ID, then stay in the car. This is the case with smokes around here too.

  78. tau says:

    Once I was in Safeway and briefly talked to some people I knew. When they checked out – with a six-pack of beer – the cashier paged me to the front over the loudspeaker and asked for my ID. I was 21, and handed it over – but they refused to sell my friends beer because my ID was expired. Yeah right, as if as soon as the expiration date passed, I UN-TURNED 21.

  79. bravo369 says:

    safeway was pretty stupid here. Lets say you were buying it for someone underage, any normal person would leave the underage person outside just instinctively because you know what you are doing is wrong.

    either way, maybe it’s a state law thing. some states have some really really screwed up laws. I saw an article on espn in which a college freshman QB was arrested for underage drinking or something like that because he had a car, was driving a teammate home after practice who wanted to stop somewhere to pick up dinner and some beer. The underage player was arrested because in that state it is illegal for an underage driver to drive someone who is of age to a liquor store. The kid was from out state so of course he was shocked. you would think they would wait for an actual law to be broken before arresting someone. luckily the college understood the situation and didn’t suspend the kid.

  80. khiltd says:

    $5 says it was a case of Tecate.

  81. According to the state of NJ:

    Sec. 3-7. Sale, delivery, etc., to minors6. or intoxicated persons prohibited; permitting drinking by minors or intoxicated persons on licensed premises prohibited.

    No licensee under this chapter shall sell, serve, deliver or allow, permit or suffer the service or delivery of any alcoholic beverages, directly or indirectly, to any person under the legal age to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages as defined by state law, to any person actually or apparently intoxicated, to any habitual drunkard or to any mental defective, or allow, permit or suffer the consumption of alcoholic beverages by any such person upon the licenses premises. (Ord. No. 102, §§ 4, 21; Ord. No. 770, § 1; Ord. No. 978, § 2; Ord. No. 1004, § 1; Ord. No. 83-7, § 1.)

    I’m not a lawyer, but this seems to say that they can not allow the delivery of beverages to a minor.

  82. mavrc says:

    This is (as far as I know of) the policy of every WinCo store I have visited – which, I’ll admit, was the grand total of two, but they were both in completely unrelated cities. It’s one of the reasons I don’t shop there. I don’t buy booze for underage people, it just pisses me off that somehow they think I’m going to go break the law. So instead, I shop at stores that don’t treat me like a crook.

  83. hornrimsylvia says:

    At least you don’t live in a dry county!

    They did this all the time in Nebraska, unless you had really little kids, and then they just assumed you were a parent.

  84. Mary says:

    This isn’t an isolated policy, it’s actually rather widespread. If we had friends that didn’t have ID in college or were underage we left them in the car, because we knew that this often happened.

    It’s a measure to protect them from the whole scenario of “I’ll give you ten bucks if you go inside and buy me a beer.” I’m not sure about the legality of it, somebody else can argue that for us. But it’s certainly not new, and it’s certainly not rare.

  85. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    So wait, The policy just stated he needed to show ID, not that he needed to be 21…. If i was the older brother i would say, fine show her your ID, and when she said he wasnt 21 i would ask he what her point was.

    If the policy specifies that anyone with the purchaser has to be of age (which would be insane) then they should be carding whole families that go grocery shopping.

    Some people and their power trips.

  86. eelmonger says:

    This is pretty common and has been for awhile. When I worked at a grocery store in Florida, it was store policy to ID everyone in the party. That wasn’t just to protect the store, it was also to protect me. If someone in the party got busted for underage drinking that night, I could be held responsible. I’m not going to jail/getting fined/getting fired just because you brought minors along on your booze run.

    Now, do I think this rule is stupid? Of course, but as long as the law holds the clerk responsible in these situations, the clerk is going to check everyone’s ID. If you want to complain do it to the lawmakers, not Safeway.

  87. Eric1285 says:

    I’ve had this happen to me at Meijer before. Went on a beer run with some friends, and ended up having to purchase the booze somewhere else because one of my friends wasn’t 21. We asked the cashier to clarify the rules and were told that anyone who touches the cart that the booze is in has to be ID’d. Since then, I’ve made sure that if anyone with me is under 21 and we’re buying alcohol, they keep their hands off the cart when it’s time to go through checkout.

  88. The local large liquor store here does the same thing, I think it’s a perfectly legitimate rule.. you should have your license on you at all times anyway that way you can be identified under the Patriot Act. :)

  89. valtr0n says:

    The cashier technically has the right to refuse the sale of alcohol or tobacco for any reason. This doesn’t mean they should, but it’s what ABC teachers our cashiers…

  90. Tedicles says:

    I’ve got a ton of these stories…but wanted to share 2 as quickly as I can:
    1. Me, and my friends, were thrown out of a liquor store 2 days after my b-day. My license expired on my b-day, and I had just arrived back home from out of state school; me and a few friends all went to the liquor store, they randomly carded us in the aisle, since my license was expired by 2 days they threw us all out!

    2. After buying some beer and liquor, I went to put it in the TRUNK of my underage brother’s car (put 2+2 together). A police officer in the parking lot approached us, asked for ID and began calling it in, basically accusing me of providing alcohol to my little brother. Since we are both Swedish, I told my little brother to shut up, and let me do the talking and I’d get this figured out. I had explained to the cop that we were switching cars, etc. etc. But when he heard me speak Swedish to my brother, he stopped calling in the license #s and said “I speak German you know!”
    I calmly replied “Good for you, we speak Swedish.”

    He got a bit red, handed back the licenses and let us go on our way. LOL!!!

  91. the-perfect-face-for-radio says:

    hey sheeple, your beer custom is valuable! the profit margin in a supermarket is 1-2 percent, but beer is an exception. the ingredients in a bottle of beer cost next to nothing; what you pay for it at the counter is almost all taxes and profit. you have the absolute right to determine and redetermine who your beer vendor is gonna be.

    i’ve never had a carding issue with beer. i did have a recycling issue once. here in oregon, the empty bottles are worth five cents each. the recycling machine at the back of the store was broken, so i tried recycling them in the video rental alcove, which has a cash register set up for general business. the dumpy little slattern behind the counter told me i had to use the machine. instead, i went to one of the regular checkstands, and the clerk was just about to refund my recyclables, when she got a phone call from the video alcove on their in-store phone system “don’t give him any money!”

    the store manager was a genuinely nice guy, and as i explained to him in the subsequent conversation where i permanently withdrew my beer custom from his store, his employees are here to help me with my shopping experience, not thwart me.

  92. dequeued says:

    This happened to me in a liquor outlet in Princeton NJ, my girlfriend left her purse in the car and didn’t have ID, even though she just happened to be with me and wasn’t buying anything from me.

    They were pretty polite about it though.
    They explained that the local Police actually conducted stings, where they would send someone underage in to purchase alcohol, or have a party of people with one underage member, and then hit the store with thousands of dollars in fines.
    So, many business don’t want to take chances.

  93. wolftrouble says:

    I’ve got a better one than most of you: My boyfriend and I were at a Safeway years ago; he was over 21, I was 19. They carded him then turned to me, asking me for ID. I had it but explained as I showed it that I’m not 21, but here, see how it says on our driver’s licenses we live at the same address? Of course we’re in line together, we’re grocery shopping. I asked them what they thought they were preventing; ANYTIME he bought alcohol it was going to be available to me since I LIVED with him.

    Of course they refused to sell it to him. I realize it’s not really the store’s fault, but holy fuck is America freakish about alcohol and minors. You go virtually anywhere else in the world and it’s not a big deal, but here we’re so damned nosy and mother-hen-ish that we do this kind of madness. Stupid.

  94. mmejanvier says:

    In Oregon if you in any way engage in the sale of alcohol you have to sit through a 6 hour class to receive a liquor server’s permit. Then you can be held personally liable for violations of OLCC policy. I say policy, but it’s really law.

    Serving or selling to minor gets you a $1000 fine and the establishment a $5000 fine.

    Only liquor stores can sell beverages with over 15% alcohol by volume. And minors cannot enter liquor stores. So grocery stores are usually limited to beer, wine, coolers and Zima. If a party of 4 people walk up to a cash register and are trying to purchase alcohol, they all have to provide proof of age.

    The only exception to this is when the minor (or person who cannot provide proof of age) is accompanying their legal guardian. And spouses count as a legal guardian.

    Why do I know this? Because I sat through that goddamn class. That’s why.

    • varro says:

      @mmejanvier: This rule, like the majority of the OLCC’s rules, is moronic.

      What’s to prevent someone from just splitting up once you’re inside the store, or just have the under-21s give the over-21 a list of items?

  95. dveight says:

    I’ve worked at Safeway and Raley’s back in the 90′s in California. I was informed at both places that the only thing that they had to do was check ID of the person paying for the beer, and it was ok to sell alcohol to a group as long as we did not see anyone else in the group pick out any alcohol or give money to the person buying the beer.

    Needless to say, the checkers didn’t keep note of who picked out the beer in the isles, only in the check stand. Therefore, they only asked for IDs of the other people if they were holding the alcohol or gave money to the person buying the beer.

  96. Ajh says:

    I don’t see the problem of trying to make the other guy show ID. Around here we don’t sell any alcohol outside the liquor stores but we have problems of people walking in with underage people and buying cigarettes for them. They know better than to trade money in the store.

    If the store got caught falling for this scam they could face all sorts of fines.

    They’re just playing it safe. I see no reason to complain about it.

  97. xwildebeestx says:

    seems like a pretty common practice to me, it’s happened at grocery stores in all 4 states I’ve lived in as an adult.

  98. Difdi says:

    It occurs to me, that people would scream in outrage if this policy were applied to every age-limited activity. Just imagine how pissed people would be if they couldn’t buy gasoline unless everyone present had a driver’s license…

  99. HooFoot says:

    Not news. It’s happened to me at several stores and while it annoys me every time, my anger is directed at the state laws that force the stores to do this.

  100. calchip says:

    I seem to remember someone telling me there’s actually an alcoholic beverage control regulation (at least in California) that requires this.
    In California, there are substantial fines for the individual cashier as well as the company. I remember a case where a 19 year old girl used a fake ID to get into a bar, got busted by ABC personnel, and the bar got fined something like $10,000.

    A friend of mine who looked about 17 (but was 21) used to be employed by the California ABC board, and his job was to go to stores and attempt to buy alcohol without being carded (sometimes with others of similar age, and sometimes alone.) He succeeded a substantial portion of the time in buying alcohol without showing ID.

  101. Zeniq says:

    Isn’t this the policy at ANY place that sells alcohol, or cigarettes for that matter?

  102. angryhippo says:

    Back in college when I was under 21, some friends and I had a few people we could go to who would take our “orders” and money (including some for their purchase) and buy up whatever we asked. To us it seemed rather obvious that if one person goes into a store and buys 3-4 cases of beer and 4-5 bottles of liquor, they are buying for others… I can see a store making a policy (and taking it seriously) that you can only buy for your own consumption.

  103. flugelhorn says:

    Wanna hear some total craziness? Buying beer at my local Safeway in Portland, OR (5920 NE M L King Blvd)…

    1. Cashier sees alcohol on the conveyor. Asks “Are you 21 today, sir?” I say yes.
    2. Cashier inspects my ID, compares it to my face.
    3. Cashier pulls out a stapled stack of paper from her station and WRITES DOWN MY INFORMATION including name, DL# and birthdate. (How easy would it be for an identity thief to steal this info?)
    4. Cashier grabs the store microphone and announces “Manager, for ID check!”
    5. After a few seconds of waiting as the manager drops whatever he or she is doing and scurries across the store, they arrive and compare my face and ID again. Then I get the same question. “Are you 21 today, sir?”
    6. I say YES, FOR GOD’S SAKE YES and the cashier finally keys in my birthday on the register and rings up the rest of my order.

    This doesn’t just happen every once in awhile– it happens nearly every time I shop there. I’m usually buying just six cans of beer– nothing suspicious. No underagers are present. I’m 27, bearded and going bald, so I’m positive nobody’s mistaking me for a 20-year-old. If anyone wants to investigate this ridiculousness, I’m all for lending a helping hand. I’ve been told it’s due in part to this particular Safeway location being on “probation” with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

    • pine22 says:

      @flugelhorn: minors who work at grocery stores cant sell alcohol, so they have to get someone else, usually their manager to ok the sale.

      i used to work at a UDF, and we had to card everyone even if the customer was clearly elderly. no id = no sale, period, you would get fired on the spot for letting it slide. unless it was a parent and their kid we were also supposed to card the other people in the party. but this was at our discretion.

    • varro says:

      @flugelhorn: Ah. You’ve hit the situation where the OLCC does stings because black people are buying alcohol.

      The OLCC has a thing about black people buying alcohol, or even worse, opening up a club where they play hip-hop or jazz – they will only grant a liquor license to a club if they promise to play white people’s music.

      Go to the Interstate Fred Meyer. The MLK Safeway is always understaffed and expensive, anyway.

  104. samurailynn says:

    This is why the law needs to be changed. The person selling alcohol should not be responsible for underage drinkers. The law should be that a person who is underage cannot purchase or consume alcohol, and that the person who is underage will get in trouble if they do. Instead, the law punishes the person and establishment selling the alcohol. That is ridiculous.

    • coren says:

      @samurailynn: No, they absolutely should. How do you get the alcohol underage unless either someone gets it for you, you steal it, or someone sells it? Cutting down on one third of the potential sources of underage drinking=great idea.

      @paxetaurora: Even at the drive ups? ;)

  105. flugelhorn says:

    Another really crazy thing happened to me in Arizona at a Fry’s grocery store. I was in line with my girlfriend, who was visiting from out-of-state. Both of us were well over 21 at the time.

    They carded the both of us, but wouldn’t sell– because my 28-year-old girlfriend has a state-issued, legally valid ID Card instead of a Driver’s License (she’s never owned a car and prefers public transit). I asked to speak with a manager, who informed me that it was company policy to deny sales to all holders of State IDs.

    What? You can’t buy booze unless you can drive a car? Way to go, Fry’s. Lunacy!

  106. fjordtjie says:

    i used to work at sentry hilldale-madison wi, and they actively tried to stop underage drinking this way. they also watched packs of teenagers pick out alcohol and then one person would appear at the register to buy it while everyone else would disperse; they wouldn’t sell alcohol to them either. oh well. but, they would sell liquor to obviously drunk, legal-age people buying alcohol.

    and my friend had this happen to her and her boyfriend at woodman’s. they were both over 21, but he hadn’t brought his wallet. they no longer shop there.

    i honestly don’t give a crap. card everyone or card noone. every irresponsible drinker will find a way to drink whether they are legally allowed to or not. that holds true for drunk drivers too. complain when you can come up with a better way to prevent it?

  107. julianazor says:

    This happened to me about 5 years ago. I didn’t drink, but did, however, go to the store with my then roomate who was 26. I was asked to show ID, and the purchasing of alcohol (that she was buying, for herself) was denied. It’s pretty stupid. This was at a Shop-and-Stop.

  108. the ABC stores in north carolina are the same way.
    if you have someone under 21 with you, or someone who is sans ID, they will refuse to sell you anything (although they will tell you where the nearest ABC store is, so you can go and buy something without your underage friend.)

  109. Wis Tungsten says:

    I’ve been in places where it is city LAW to card everyone in the party (Brookfield, WI and other nearby suburbs). I don’t agree with it, but I’m used to it having also spent too much time in college towns. In Oregon, I’ve been carded for drink mix (with no alcohol in it) and interrograted over a 6 pack of beer. I argued with the cashier for a couple minutes over the drink mix and refused to show and she eventually gave in. But as the beer had actual alcohol, there was no getting around that without walking out of the store, which I should have done.

    Cashiers and grocery stores have no business playing alcohol morality police.

  110. intellivised says:

    In certain states I’m pretty sure it’s the law that a clerk has to check all parties.

    Also: Here in Wyoming our Safeway only sells beer and liquor in its own separate department. No grocery register sales, you go in the store and through a separate door. It’s sort of a pain… but it’s designed to cut down on just this sort of thing. It’s not really an issue of morality but legal liability. I haven’t been bothered since all the dedicated liquor stores here in WY have drive up windows – a premise so ridiculous it boggles the mind – that are way handy.

    Also: Back in good old college town, MI, it was the same way. Everyone at the counter had to show ID’s since underage drinking was rampant and a store can get busted for an MIP that points at a particular retailer.

  111. teknowaffle says:

    I think if the clerk wants to ask everyone it is fine. This is just some guy who thinks it is the world’s fault when he is inconvenienced.

    On a different note, last month I went to both Reno and Vegas. In Vegas no one once looked at my ID. Not in the casinos, not in the bars, not for getting drinks. It was kind of strange.

    Reno I got carded just for breathing it seems. Walk onto the casino floor, Id’d. Sat at the table, Id’d. Ordered a drink while sitting at the table. Id’d. I didn’t mind, as I preferred them to do their jobs well than half assed.

  112. robertseaton says:

    I work for Safeway in Seattle, Washington. If I sell alcohol to an underage person here is the minimm that will happen to me/the store:

    –I will receive a five-day unpaid suspension (or termination).
    –I will be charged with a gross misdomeanor with a civil fine (several hundred dollars) and possible jail time.
    –the store will be fined several hundred to several thousand dollars dependent upon the number of infractions already on file.
    –the store could have it’s liqour license suspended or revoked.

    Some of these penalties flow from Safeway. But all are directly related to laws of the local municipalities. Safeway does not want to pay a fine because I am not doing my job, this the corrective action directly from the company. I do not want a criminal record and loss of my income or job. So yes, I will card both of you even if I only BELIEVE that you MIGHT share the alcohol with an underage person. May be a minor inconveinience to you, could be a major life issue for me.

  113. Coder4Life says:

    This happened to me at Sams Club as well, and I had about $200 worth of groceries and it was 2 of my other roomates and one of their friends that was in town. We went there and they asked for all of our ID’s and b/ their friend was only 20 years old they refused to sell us the liqor. So instead we left all $200 worth of groceries on the conveyer belt and things in the cart and left the store.

    THAT SHOWED THEM!!! She said it was their policy, I went to another Sams club and NO PROBLEM, and i asked them and they said they had never heard of such a policy before..

  114. k6richar says:

    I had something like this happen to me at a tops in New York state. My younger brother (18), me (24) and my dad (old) stopped to get camping supplies for the weekend. me and my dad each got a case of beer, it was never intended for my underage brother. They told me it was state law they couldn’t sell it to us because he was with us. Apparently it’s impossible to take a child under 21 shopping with you if you want to buy beer.

  115. Etoiles says:

    Every liquor store I have visited in Massachusetts and Rhode Island cards your entire party. They also have the discretion not to sell to you if they seen you shopping with a group that then mysteriously vanishes when you go up to the register.

    The upshot of this is that when I was 26, my idiot now-ex boyfriend had left his ID in New York, and when we both got carded, my validly-licensed self got refused sale. I had to go get my 52-year-old mother to buy my booze for me. (It was for a party we were having at her house.)

    I’m not sure why “stores are really strict about ID when selling liquor” is Consumerist-headline worthy. The policy described here has been in place in many places for at least the last 20 years.

  116. maztec says:

    This happens at a lot of liquor stores throughout many states – and some grocery stores follow similar procedures. I do not see the problem, it is just their method of CYA and unless you are going to attach something in the article showing that this behavior is illegal or an “invasion of privacy” in a manner that should be protected, I fail to see the news…

  117. mythago says:

    Also, I’m pretty sure that if the clerk asks for ID and I show it to him, the liability of the store stops right there.

    “Pretty sure”? I wouldn’t want to bet my license to sell alcohol and a potential lawsuit on some random customer’s opinion that he is “pretty sure” that I wouldn’t be liable.

    I think the drinking age should be lower, but Safeway did the right thing here. They don’t want to do the “wink wink, I guess your BROTHER is gonna drink all this beer, huh?” thing.

  118. bravo369 says:

    i’m surprised no one else is thinking what i’m thinking. let’s get 50 people together to go into a store and buy 1 6 pack and make them card every single one of us.

  119. Leah says:

    This is a corporate policy in force; it’s that way at every safeway I’ve ever been to. My little brother and I always went into the store separately before he turned 21. He’d often wander by the wine or hard cider, text me what he wanted, and then buy some other groceries. I’d then go get the goods and go home to enjoy a drink with my brother while watching a movie.

    I don’t like it, but I never thought about doing anything about it. It’s a dumb policy, and I treated it as such.

  120. idip says:

    I agree with this policy and every store in my city follows this policy in Texas. Why? I don’t know, I always assumed it was law.

    However, how is the store supposed to know that your friend won’t be drinking? or that he is actually over 21? Take your word? Unfortunately my word and your word doesn’t mean anything in this country anymore.

    This is the same argument I had to deal with at a Bank’s call center. I’d get people constantly calling saying, “I’m so and so’s wife/husband I have access to his account or I have a power of attorney” Um… unless I see LEGAL DOCUMENTATION you have no proof that you are who you say you are.

    Same goes for you at the grocery store. I have heard of stores being fined because someone was in the party that was under the age of 21 and someone else bought the beer.

    Maybe you should remind your “21″ year old brother the importance of NOT losing your ID.

  121. DantePD says:

    In Virginia, while working at a concert hall we were required, by law to ID everyone in the party.

  122. Petra says:

    Once my husband and I were driving around with a friend who asked if it was alright if he stopped at a gas station for cigarettes (neither of us smoke, but we agreed to wait while he picked up a pack for himself). We pulled in and waited in the car while he went inside. He came back out empty-handed…turns out, the cashier had seen us pull in and park, and told him she wouldn’t sell him cigarettes (even though he was of legal age and had his ID present) unless everyone else in the car got out as well and presented their IDs.

    He ended up telling her to !@#$ off and went to the gas station across the street, who didn’t even give us a second glance. It all depends on who you happen to get at the register and what kind of day they’re having.

  123. papahoth says:

    what’s the big deal? just show your receipt.

  124. It is an adult beverage. Stores have a right as well as an obligation to prevent underage purchases.

    The store can (and in some states MUST) ID everybody that enters the store …. regardless of whether the person makes a purchase or not.

    Wanna whine? Complain to your state liquor authority.

  125. Railing against stupidity says:

    I was in a Safeway some years ago at about 2AM (love their hours!), standing in line behind a couple of black college-aged kids who wanted to buy a bottle or two of malt liquor. Th e cashier wouldn’t sell to them, because the driver’s license the guy buying the goods presented had expired. There wasn’t any dispute over whether it was his DL, or whether it was fake; the cashier claimed it was store policy that the DL had to be current. I asked why they cared, as there was no issue about the purchaser being of legal age, and he admitted he would have sold the alcohol without complaint had the guy shown up two weeks earlier (before the license expired). “Store policy” was the response, along with a comment that he didn’t understand it either! I briefly contemplated buying the stuff myself, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk that they would do something stupid and get me dragged into it.

  126. sweetpea12 says:

    Shoprite in Paramus, NJ does this too. It’s only happened once to me but I think it was because they thought I was too young (but I’m just short!!). Personally, I think this is a stupid policy, if I was buying alcohol for minors, I wouldn’t bring them with me to buy it–I don’t think anyone is that stupid.

  127. aristan says:

    Here in NC you will be carded for alcohol and everyone who is in your party that is not obviously young enough to be your child will be carded as well. It is required by law and there’s no way around it. Feel free to pitch a hissy all you want, everyone has to have ID.

    Don’t have ID? Don’t come to the register. Don’t come into the store. It’ll save us all a lot of pain if the cashier doesn’t know you’re there.

    And no, the store’s liability does not end the moment you show your ID and make a purchase. Stores and bars have been sued and have lost in cases where they’ve sold alcohol to people who have later had an accident.

    If they sell to you and you give the alcohol to a minor, the store can still get into trouble. At the very least, the store will be fined, as will the Cashier personally. Another offense means the pulling of the store’s alcohol license will be pulled. As stores usually mark up alcohol 100%, it’s a pure money maker for the store and they are VERY protective of that license.

    So yeah… everyone bring ID or hide.

    • Shadowfire says:

      @aristan: What he said.

      Seriously, people, this is a legal issue. If you buy alcohol, and give it to a minor, the store can still be liable.

      Also, alcohol is one of those fun areas for businesses. They can enforce any rule they want with alcohol purchases. You don’t like it? Shop somewhere else. But most stores will tell you to take a hike. I sure would.

  128. RichNixon says:

    This is pretty standard practice in a lot of stores I’ve been to. I’m saving my energy for a more important fight.

  129. lukobe says:

    I saw this happen at Seattle’s U-District Safeway a while back. Not news.

  130. Yurei says:

    I’m going to ask everyone right now, to please not jump down a clerk’s throat if they ever do this to you and ask to see id of everyone in the party. We’re doing it to cover our asses. If we sell alcohol to a minor, we get fined. We get fired. And we can go to jail.

    I used to work for wal mart (poor me, yes) and one policy they had is to check ID of anyone buying alcohol that looked 27 or under. I think it was 27 anyway, it was a weird number. I always went by about 30, myself. Anyhow, we were also told if we saw someone with their youngish friends with them, we had to ID them all too. No ID, no booze. Or cigarettes. This IS a liability issue, is some perverse corner of the law as it was explained to me. Even though it is the person in the party who is giving the alcohol to the younger person, even though we sold it to a legitimately aged person, we are somehow liable still. because we’re enablers? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just wal mart corporate Bs, but I never took any chances to make sure I was not selling alcohol to a minor or an undercover person posing as a minor posing as an adult. I for one, was not risking a fine, jail time and a loss of my job so you can have a 6 pack. Go to another register if ya don’t like it, or another store. I always recommended people to leave their friend in the car. Don’t ask ~ don’t tell. What we can’t see and don’t know won’t hurt us.

    • Ajh says:

      @Yurei: You’re right it is a legal liability thing, it’s not just a store policy. Yes, police do run operations where they send in teenagers to buy substances that have age requirements with unrelated adults with them just to catch stores at this.

      And it’s rather shameful that people here aren’t thinking of that. The law may be stupid but it’s still there. We can’t just go around breaking or bending them because we don’t like them.

  131. ninjatoddler says:

    Everybody gets carded in Minnesota by law. Thanks Tim Pawlenty.

    • varro says:

      @ninjatoddler: I never got carded when I visited MN (although I was in my early 30s) when Jesse was governor.

      “Get government off our backs,” my ass. Have fun when the RNC protesters own the city of St. Paul and half of Ramsey County, Republipukes.

  132. backbroken says:

    Phew! Thank goodness Safeway stopped you from buying that beer because we all know, that if even a drop of alcohol is consumed by an underage person the world will end as we know it. Shouldn’t the 18-21 year old age group be in Iraq anyway? Give them guns, not beer. They are much safer that way.

  133. Lucky225 says:

    I don’t know what to say about this issue except for I hate it. For one, the brother could have easily stayed in the car and he wouldn’t have been ID’ed, so why ID him just because he’s in line? Does the mother buying some whine for the weekend during her grocery trip also get her 5-year old child ID’ed during checkout? In any event another thing that irks me is in California I showed my Texas Driver License and they wouldn’t sell to me, even tho the law specifically states a liquor license defendant only needs to be shown any ‘official government issued photo ID with date of birth.’, after I showed my old California ID, I suddenly was of age. They didn’t seem to understand that I didn’t want them having my address information which they store(illegally) after swiping the mag stripe. Back in Texas, it’s even worse the law there says a license defendant can only claim relief and good faith if they were shown a TEXAS issued ID or Driver License. While there is no law in either state REQUIRING ID to even be shown, they can only claim a good faith defense if ID was shown, so many liquor outlets in Texas won’t sell to out of state purchasers.

  134. tullisar says:

    It’s the law here in WA state as well. Regardless of whether or not it is a terrible law that doesn’t really do anything to prevent underage drinking, it IS an integrity issue for some.

    I’ve never had the liquor control board send in two kids for a sting, but I’ll still always card the whole group if I believe there is probability that the alcohol will be consumed by any in the party who look under 30. It would be a scar on my personal integrity if I chose to ignore a policy I signed in writing that I would follow.

    Now, getting in touch with congressmen/women and telling them I disagree with the method of preventing underage drinking is a more effective way of dealing with stupid laws.

  135. Dean806 says:

    Far more years ago than I care to admit (but it was when I was 25), I stopped by a local liquor store to pick up a six-pack of Guinness, and a long-time friend happened to be working the counter. I had literally known her since kindergarten, and we were in school together all the way to graduation, and then all the way through college. I got my beer, went to her counter, and we chatted a little bit, talking about recent happenings. There were only one or two other people in the store, so it didn’t hurt anything to waste a few minutes talking. After maybe 10 minutes or so, we finished up, and she rang up my purchase.

    “I’m going to need to see some ID for proof of age.”

    I just stared at her. A few very silent seconds later, she realized what she had said and smiled, adding “Oh… yeah. Sorry, reflex. But you do look young!”

    Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  136. Whyspir says:

    It’s the law, up here in Canada as well.

    If you step into a liquor store you must have your ID, it doesn’t matter if you’re buying a bag of ice or some pop, if you’re in the store, ID or leave.

    I, personally work at the local liquor store and I do ID people that look under 25, it’s not only the law, it’s the story policy, my boss was working with me one day and he carded a 23 y/old who bought a 2L of Coke and Pepsi simply because he’s supposed to.

    The only people I don’t ID are the regulars, even if one of them is 18. *shrugs* But that’s because I know them, and it’s the same for everyone now up here. Actually, I think the law is changing to that you have to ID someone, no matter of Age, when they buy smokes or booze because of the huge bit of Identity Theft going around up here.

    It’s not going to change and it might seem draconic to some people but it’s not that big of a deal if you think things through. Though, some people still try to buy liquor from me, this one guy even said I sold him some when he was still only 17. I told him to get out…Heh.

    Simply put, I don’t want to lose my job because your friend didn’t bring any form of ID…though, I personally will take any form of government issue, and require three seperate if you don’t have a picture.

    Of course, as I said…I’m Canadian, so that might make it different. Woo only 18 to drink here in Alberta.

  137. Dyscord says:

    They have this policy in some liquor stores here in PA. If you’re with someone, you both have to provide ID. Just an added precaution I suppose. It’s usually not a problem.

  138. Nicole125 says:

    I used to work at a movie theatre that would check id’s for rated R movies. If you were buying more than one ticket and were by yourself, you would have to provide everybody’s id to get them. Buying alcohol is different at times where i’m from. Sometimes i could buy it with someone else and i’m the only one carded. Other times, it’s everyone. I understand this policy and instead of complaining about it and dwelling on the matter, this guy should have moved on to another store and left his brother in the car-end of story.

  139. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It’s been this way in NH for as long as I’ve been able to buy alcohol.

    So you go to another store to buy beer and leave your ID-less brother in the car. Problem solved.

  140. smokinfoo says:

    We have a grocery store chain here that had a similar policy. My girlfriend and I went to pay for our food and beer. She was carded as expected. Then the cashier turns to me and tells me she needs to see my ID also.

    I tell her no actually you don’t since my girlfriend is making the purchase. She was irked by this, but there wasn’t anything she could really do about it.

    The analogy of a mother and child comes to mind. Does the store card the toddler or teenager the mother has in toe? No? I didn’t think so.

    • pine22 says:

      @smokinfoo: you know as well as i do what happens in college. people who are old enough to buy beer buy it for people who arent old enough. the problem isnt moms giving their 5 year olds beers, but young people buying alcohol for other young people.

      c’mon, what is more likely to happen, a mom buying some absolut for their toddler or some college kid buying beer for other college kids. get real, that mom-kid analogy does not apply because it is totally a different situation.

  141. cparker says:

    When I worked in a 7-11 in the early 90s, this was the policy there too. I don’t care if it makes the customers unhappy, if you are buying for an underage person, and they go to the checkout with you, then you and they are STOOPID.

    Anyway, I also learned that (at the time) in VA that a minor couldn’t buy a non-alcoholic beer (like O’Douls) because its PACKAGED like alcohol. This wasn’t policy, the police sent a kid into our 7-11 to buy a beer, and the schmuck picked a non-alcoholic one.

  142. Pylon83 says:

    This is actually NOT Safeway’s corporate policy. I had a similar experience at a Domick’s in Downtown Chicago and I emailed Safeway’s VP of Customer Operations about it. I got an email back stating that it is NOT Safeway or Domick’s policy to require ID from anyone other than the purchaser. Rogue managers and cashiers are the ones that cause these kinds of problems.

  143. GeoffinAround says:

    1. This is common policy in any store that has been burned by local police / excise.

    2. It’s almost a guaranteed policy at stores in any college town, for obvious reasons.

    3. Yes it’s dumb, but just drive to get the beer yourself.

    4. In a more malicious strategy… my friends were nearly arrested for purchasing beer while with a minor. The minor left ahead of the others. Friends were carded, no problems there. Guard confronts them, asks if they were accompanied with a minor. They’re honest (!) & say, yes. Guard says he already knew, & that if they had lied, they would have been let go, then a cop that was parked nearby would follow them, pull them over & arrest them for contributing to a minor.

    Resolution… the manager interrupts the guard, says he doesn’t want trouble. Just leave the beer & don’t do it again.

    Do they have grounds to arrest? Possibly. Lots of laws about how to transport alcohol in a vehicle while a minor is a passenger… obviously they couldn’t be driving with it. It’s a stupid law, but when insurers make the rules this is the result.

  144. beverleysage says:

    In TN they had a law for a while that everyone no matter how old be carded for alchol. I think they finally got rid of it. But during this time they did a lot of sting operations. One time I had three guys come through my line with two who had only turned 21 a few months earlier and one who was still 20 I choose to ID all of them. It was a sting. Had I not ID’d all of them I would still be paying the fines for that sale now years later.

  145. bravo369 says:

    Do they also card both people sitting at a table in a restaurant if someone orders a beer? it’s the same principle and i think it’s stupid.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @bravo369: Not as relevant since the drinks can’t leave the restaurant and anyone would be stupid to give an underage person a drink in a restaurant for tons of witnesses to see and potentially report to the Police.

  146. dragonfire81 says:

    last post should read “and NO one…”

  147. dragonfire81 says:

    “…would be stupid enough”

  148. BytheSea says:

    This is standard. If it looks like you’re buying beer for an underaged person, and said person gets drunk and kills someone in his car, and his parents sue, the storewould have no leg to stand on because they sold beer to a minor. Thank stupid lawsuits, kid, and wait until you’re a little older for hassle-free drinking, like the rest of us had to.

  149. refemall says:

    This rule doesn’t really surprise me at all. I live in Ontario, Canada, where technically the LCBO stores, and the “Beer Store” (yes, that’s the actual name of the store) is the only place one can purchase alcohol. On numerous occasions I’ve been there to purchase beer with my girlfriend (who is of legal drinking age), but they nonetheless asked for her ID as well. On one occasion I’ve had my brother with me (who is underage), and even though the beer was not for him, nor did he touch it or make any motions to hand me money, he was ID’d, failed to produce it, and we therefore couldn’t buy the alcohol. I figured it just made sense. I’m there with someone who’s underage, so there’s a possibility that it could be wholly or partially for them. Liabilities aside, it just seems like common sense to me.

  150. varro says:

    Just split up. You buy the beer yourself, and have the under-21s buy snacks, etc., and go to separate lines.

    This is pretty much what the OLCC mandates, as they are the only surviving traditional communist structure around – they’re marginally better than the PA LCB, but only marginally.

  151. poilkj says:

    Policy does not equal law; however, since these businesses are privately owned, I guess they can implement policies any way they deem necessary. Or it could be just like the ID checking for credit card purchases, people have been doing it for so long, they assume that is the law.

  152. nXt says:

    I was at BevMo with 2 of my friends. We were walking around and buying/carrying/holding liquor.
    Upon checkout, (the Manager rung us up) the manager asked for all of our IDs (which was fine, we’re all well over 21), but we did ask why.
    He said, because we were holding/carrying the liquor inside the store, that we had intent to drink, so we had to show ID.

  153. baristabrawl says:

    This has happened to me before and I told the clerk that the person who was with me was not with me. It was my sister and I said, “I don’t know her, we just started chatting in line.” It helped that she was buying something also.

    Kinda made me mad, tho. She was underaged but I wanted to give her a beer in the car before we got back home. Total rebel.

  154. omgretail says:

    This happened to me and my girlfriend at a Kroger. The clerk said something about my girlfriend needing her ID. She is 21 but forgot it (didn’t have her wallet at all). This really surprised us because it had never happened before. The funny thing is that I don’t give a shit and so I sent my girlfriend out of the store and then just walked around the counter to a new register. The clerk never said anything (she was busy I guess), so I got my beer and left the store. These are stupid rules because there is no law that I am aware of that specifies the ages of the customers buying alcohol (parents and their children). It’s a totally unenforceable law, at least around here. Oh well… Had to rant!

  155. Canino says:

    I doubt it’s the stores as much as it’s the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission (or whatever authority regulates alcohol in the state in question). They jump at any chance to come down on any alcohol licensee for any reason, and also try to set them up by sending in teenage kids to try to buy. Better to piss off one customer than to lose your liquor license.

    I’m more incensed that in Texas we can’t buy any alcohol on Sunday. It’s like the state sanctioning a holy day. Someone please tell my why Sunday is any different from any other day? Damn Baptists.

  156. LostAngeles says:

    When I lived in MA, this was fairly common practice when buying liquor. We had turned 21 before our friend so he automatically became our designated driver. Learned which places we had to leave him in the car eventually, but we actually tried going to a bar with him, but alas. I understand why they do it, especially at the time, the cops had a serious hard-on for doing stings, but we were so upset that they foiled our awesome plan to get drunk and not have to get a cab.

  157. everdown says:

    I worked at both a liquor store and a large liquor-serving restaurant for a couple years during college and always checked the ID of everyone in the party.

    If it was a sting operation and I didn’t check (at both of those jobs), I would have been fired (store policy) and I would have been fined a MINIMUM of $5,000 (state policy).

    Stupid rule or not, you, your six pack, and your ID-less friend, are not worth $5000 of my money. Bring your ID.

  158. ShabazOSU says:

    Um, this is nothing new.. they have been doing this in Columbus, Ohio grocery stores since I was a freshman WAY back in 2000.

  159. bairdwallace says:

    It seems like a lot of commentors feel like I do about this: its not really newsworthy.

    As someone who has worked behind the bar in NY and CA, I know that the police can get a little over zealous, and the cost to a purveyor of not just high fines, but worse, suspension of a liquor license, can break a business.
    Admittedly, these places are often overcautious to the point of paranoia, but I can’t really blame them. We live in puritanical times.

  160. RichardSS says:

    I work as a manager for a major drug store chain, and carding the entire party is common practice in most cases.

    If old Grandma Moses comes into the store with her 10 year old grandson Johnny and purchases 3 cases of Peter Vella Delicious Red boxed wine. That’s fine by me. Or, if Lennard, the alcoholic dad, brings his teenage daughter along to purchase himself a 12 pack of Keystone ICE, I’ll make the sale. It’s a reasonable assumption that the underage minors will not be slamming down any fire water.

    Now if birthday boy Tim, who just turned 21, comes into with two of chums and wants to purchase two 30 pack cases of Busch Light. I will ask to see the ID of the other two individuals, if one of them is not able to present an acceptable form of ID proving age, I will refuse the sale. It’s reasonable assumption that Timmy’s friends will partake in enjoying the two cases of delicious Busch.

    For those of you that never worked retail, you do not realize how strict the ABC can be, and how hefty fines can get. If you get cited more than once, you could temporarily lose the privilege of selling spirits, and if you’re a chronic offender, you could lose your license all together.

  161. FLConsumer says:

    I find this very odd. I’ve only been asked for ID *ONCE* in my life when purchasing alcohol and that was at age 25, in a grocery store in Tampa, FL. I’ve been buying alcohol since I was 16 without any hassles otherwise.

  162. evildeb says:

    I went on a beer run one evening after a long day at work and brought my then 14 year old son along for the ride. We pulled into the local stop & rob inconvenience store and walked in together. I headed for the beer cooler and my son headed for the candy rack. When I went to pay for my 12 pack of beer the guy asked me for ID. Being 37 and thinking he wanted mine, I was flattered and reached for my ID, He glared and said not yours, His! I realized he waspointing at my 14 year old who looked at the box of candy he was holding and replied “what the heck is in this stuff” After about 5 minutes of arguing that I was not about to buy my kid beer, it was futile, the guy still refused to sell me the beer and heis now known as “the beer nazi” No beer for you!

  163. parkerjh says:

    This is a PERFECTLY reasonable policy. Frankly, MOST stores in Massachusetts do the exact same thing and I have never had an issue with it at all. It’s more than just a liability issue, it’s a legal one with the store not wanting to lose their license.

  164. cottiescot says:

    Yeah PA is great.. its the distributor, or stumble down the block to hole in the wall bar.. to buy a six pack for cash and carry. Sometimes the pizza joint can sell it too..

  165. milesabove says:

    You know, most places these days will ID everyone in your party. This is nothing new. For those of us that don’t look 40 (the age at which you no longer should be carded, at least in MA), this is nothing particularly new. I’ve been turned down several times because I was with someone (of age) without an ID. I’ve even been turned away for having somebody in the car who didn’t come in and show their ID. Its a ridiculous system that requires the person buying alcohol to fly solo.

  166. DePaulBlueDemon says:

    This happens to me often in Illinois, mostly in Jewel-Osco stores. The problem is I look like I’m 13 even though I’m really 24. When I’m with friends we ALL get carded. It’s obnoxious. The cashier never carded me when my dad was buying beer.

  167. pax says:

    Not sure where this Safeway was, but in the state stores in Pennsylvania, it’s posted on the door that, by law, the cashier can (and, believe me, often does) ID everyone in the party, not just the person paying.

  168. Kishi says:

    Seems like this was standard practice when I was in college a few years ago. I remember multiple trips to the grocery store where my girlfriend and our roommate would make a quiet exit of the store while I wandered for a few more minutes before hitting the register. We knew the policy existed, so we planned around it.

    And, really, all the people with the “I left the groceries sitting there and left, that showed them!” attitudes? What does that prove? You’ve punished someone who’s worried about losing their job. Way to go. Oh, and then someone else is going to have to restock it all, so you’ve also managed to punish another previously uninvolved person. At no point is the store going to care about losing your hundred dollars, as opposed to possibly losing thousands in fines.

    • penarestel says:

      @Kishi: Actually they stand to lose a little bit more. By law if someone comes up to the checkout and they decide they don’t want an item that is temperature sensitive (think milk and the like) then the store has to throw it away, even if they just saw the person taking it out of the cooler or freezer.

      So all those people who go in to buy their regular groceries and then get mad and walk out leaving the cart full of milk, eggs, lettuce, ice cream, frozen dinners and whatever else. All of that has to be thrown out and the store only gets partial credit for it.

  169. niccernicus says:

    I don’t see the big deal. I’ve ran into this numerous times, and it’s no problem. Just remember it next time and get over it.

  170. Brazell says:

    Every liquor store in Massachusetts does this, although I don’t often get carded anymore, every time I go to a liquor store, package store, or the rare supermarket that sells beer, everybody in the group gets carded.

  171. SableHemlock says:

    This has happened to me before. Usually I was the ride for my moderately drunk friends who wanted to buy more alcohol (I’m not a bartender, therefore not cutting people off), and so we went to Wal-Mart because it was the closest place to buy alcohol. They tried to card me, but I was just like, oh I’m underage, I promise not to drink it and I’m “leaving”. It was a small town where everyone drank (a lot) so they didn’t really make a fuss about it.

    The really fun one was when I went to Safeway with my dad and as my dad was entering in all the info for his Safeway card, the cashier tried to ID me for the alcohol and not my dad. It was like 2 weeks from my 21st birthday and the cashier was like, Oh, nevermind when my dad gave her the look saying yea, my kid drink isn’t for her. It was really ridiculous.

  172. noisetube says:

    Living in NM, I can say that these kinds of policies are ridiculous. We had a graduated license system and vertical ID’s for people under 21. I was at a restaurant in CA for my 21st birthday and was served, no problem.

    Come back to NM a week later, and they refuse to serve me in another restaurant because I have a vertical license. Even though it says my date of birth in bright red letters.. same thing at grocery and liquor stores. Even when my fiance would buy beer, they would deny the sale because I had a valid, but vertical ID.

  173. rughster says:

    this happened to me in Provo Utah when I was trying to buy Near Beer. Seriously. WTF?

  174. sfreak says:

    In Honolulu, Safeway will not let you purchase alcohol with a Military ID card. The reason? It doesn’t list height and weight. It has a picture on it, and SSN.

  175. Yurei says:

    @sfreak : Wow, that’s nutty- NH law is that “any government issued photo ID” is valid. That means passport, military ID, driver’s liscence or the non driver identification, which is basically issued by the state DNV for people who can’t or don’t drive- the too young, the elderly, the disabled. It’s every bit as valid as a license for ID, it just doesn’t allow you to operate a vehicle.

    When I worked at wal mart i also turned down a few sales of people of questionable age who had foreign IDs- ones that were usually in spanish and I could not read them and/or were lacking a date of birth or i was unsure of the formating of it, as sometimes they use a 2 digit year and swap the order of d/m/y around.

    I had a higg schooler freak out on my once because i denied him a sale of paintballs at a self checkout i was overseeing. In NH you cannot buy gun related equipment unless you’re over 18. He pullsd out a school ID (not a permissible form of ID) and then gtes pissy when I tell himhe can’t have it. I told him if he didn’t like it to take it up with the state legislature. Worst part was, he went to my old high schol and was only a sophomore.

  176. Yurei says:

    @chatterboxwriting: As a former wal mart employee, I can tel lyou why they ID’d you for sinus medication- within the past couple of years the drug Meth has popped up more and people were using over the counter cough syrups and sinus/allrgy medicines to make it, so badly that the state of NH issued laws making it a protected sale. This does not apply to EVERY cough syrup and allergy medicine, only ones with a certain chemical in them, I forget what it’s called. One type of Claratin had it in it as well as some sudafed products I think. You have to be 18 to buy it now, and you are only allowed SO MUCH PER MONTH. THAT is the rediculous part, 1 bottle of couch syrup or 1 package of clartin type whatever a month. I had one miserable mother in at my register with 3 very obviously sick kids, and 1 package of claratin does not last for 3 kids a month. nor does it for someone like me with severe allergies. AND, not only must you be 18, you MUST show ID because your information is put into a database that records WHEN you buy the stuff. It’s absurd, but it had to happen because people abused it.

    • duffbeer703 says:

      @Yurei: Sudafed and all drugs containing pseudoephedrine are now restricted by the Feds, because you can make meth with it. It gets stored behind the counter and you have to provide your full name/address to some DEA database to buy it.

      The only problem is, most people don’t even realize that the product has been banned — they replaced it on the shelf with phenylephrine (aka Sudafed PE), which doesn’t work! A study done at the University of Florida found it less effective than a placebo.

      Last time I checked, meth-heads are still blowing things up and fucking up their lives. Meanwhile, I’m stuck with a sinus infection.

  177. Yurei says:

    Oh, and wal mart shouldn’t be IDing you on every little thing, everything is done by computer- if an item, such as alcohol has an age restriction on it, the computer prompts you with an “see ID” sort of thing. Off the top of ym head when i still worked there, thigns we had to ID for were:

    -alcoholo
    -tabacco
    -controlled medications
    -fireworks
    -certain rated DVDs, video games and even certain CDs with the adult content advisory(state law, not our choice.)
    -certain toys: we carried these rocket type things that had CO2 cartridges or something in them and those were age restricted
    -guins, or gun equipment, including paintball stuff

    certain chemicals also were given us prompts that had restrictions on how much people could buy- I had one poor lady refinishing some furniture and had both paint stripper and thinner with her (both of which are obviously needed to refinish a piece of furniture) and the register would only let me sell 1 of one or the other to her! how stupid is that? but apparently tey were highly abused chemicals, again so it was strictly limited.

  178. duffbeer703 says:

    They do this to protect the employees. A friend of mine got busted for selling alcohol to a minor when he was working at a grocery store in graduate school.

    The deal was, two jackasses from the college SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) came into the store and were in line together. The buyer was 21, the other person was 19. He ID’d the 21 year old, skipped the 19 year old, and sold them the case of beer.

    Five minutes later, he’s hauled off in cuffs.

    The DA was being pressured by the MADD/SADD groups in the courtroom, so no plea reduction was offered. He was convicted of “Unlawfully Dealing with a Child”, a misdemeanor, and sentenced to a $5,000 fine. It also ended his career and lifelong dream to be a teacher before it began. (he was student teaching)

  179. jonmcq says:

    I don’t necessarily disagree with these policies as they kind of make sense. The only time I was ever inconvenienced by these types of policies was when I was in college. Bar time is 15 minutes ahead. Which means you have some time after last call to find a sober driver to drive you to the store so you can grab a last minute case of beer. Well in college the only people sober enough to drive were freshmen or other underage friends. On several occasions we were denied because our designated driver was not 21. Eventually we learned to plan ahead and buy cases of beer before going to the bars … but you know … we were in college and couldn’t be bothered to plan that far ahead.

  180. gzusrox says:

    Happened to me also a couple of years ago. So, Ive never bought beer from them again.

  181. glycolized says:

    Welcome to the 21st century. This is hardly new policy, and it is practiced all over.

    I was told by a supermarket manager here in town, that pissing off a handful of college students trying to buy liquor, in a city with over 20,000 of them, is hardly any risk financially. That is doubly so when they consider the risk of being caught in some investigation, and not being able to use their license to sell beer and liquor for even one day. Beer and liquor sales are too larger of a percentage of their revenues, and a license suspension would result in layoffs, as well as some serious heat from the corporate office.

  182. uberbucket says:

    This is standard practice at most if not all grocery stores.

    Welcome to reality.

  183. daveforamerica says:

    I don’t know where this happened, but in the District of Columbia, that’s the law. The cashier has to card all members of a party when one person is purchasing alcohol.

  184. Yurei says:

    Fro all the people whining how people refused sales to them because their ID was expired- guess what, they have to. If your ID is expired it’s NOT legally consaidered “valid” and thus a store can turn you down for purchasing restricted products or Iding yourself for a credit card purchase, etc. Yes, t’s a stupid technicality because all the relavent infromation is there, but it’s the law (i think). I know that if you go driving around with anm expred license and get stopped by a cop, booooy are you in for it. It’s considered the same as not driving with one at all. Expired= not valid. I know, it seems like just anothere pointess revenue scheme to me too by the state to ream $50 every 5 years out of everyone, but that’s the way it is. I suspect that the only valid reason to force peopel to renew every so many years is because addresses and psychical appearences change, and most people don’t botehr to update their address when they move. Or if they get married and change your name. You’re supposed to update your license if you do that too.

  185. ChrisOrange says:

    The policy my local liquor store is if your ID-less friend walks around w/ you and appears to be helping you decide what to get then (s)he will be carded even if they are not the ones purchasing.

    Tell them you forgot your ID when you enter and ask to wait by the register. Whatever you do don’t walk around while arguing with your ID carrying friend over brands, you will be carded.

  186. mgy says:

    I walked into a Wal-Mart with my girlfriend one day to pick up a couple of bottles of wine (yes, walmart, eat me). We were both of age, so I wasn’t concerned. I handed the clerk my ID and then she asked to see my girlfriend’s ID. The problem was, my girlfriend’s driver’s license was expired. It still had her birthday, photograph, address, etc., but the clerk turned us away anyways. I almost threw the bottle through that woman’s throat.

  187. Yurei says:

    @mgy: see my above post. it sucks, but the expired ID thing is a technicality, and if the teller sold you the alcohol using it, they could get in trouble. i have no ID why they don’t allow it, but it’s the sad, cold truth. if it’s expired, it might as well be blank, because no teller is supposed to accept it if the date has gone by. and don’t let your girlfriend get caught driving on an expired license, the ticket + demerit points for it, at least in my state is hefty.

  188. thelushie says:

    Around here, there signs posted in the stores that sell liquor that everyone in the party will be carded. No ID, no booze, no exceptions. Signs are when you enter the stores and at cash registers. You can’t claim ignorance. Is it all that much of an inconvenience to show your ID? *sigh*

    The limit on pseudoephedrine containing products has helped with the meth problem around where I am. I had three friends almost die in a major fire caused by an exploding meth lab. They were calling home to tell their families goodbye when they were rescued. I happily show my ID.

  189. Corbin123 says:

    I feel sad for the people who think that this is standard procedure “everywhere.” This has never happened to me once in California for the last 5 years since I have been 21 and before that when I was with the person who was 21 and I was underage. I had to spend some time in a more puritanical state (i.e. most of them) before I realized some of the ridiculous liquor laws on the books in other places (no buying alcohol after 10pm, grocery stores can’t sell alcohol, no alcohol sold on certain days, 3.2% beer (VOMIT)). It’s nice to not have ridiculous impositions on your freedom.

  190. ModernTenshi04 says:

    When I was a cashier at Kroger, we did something similar, but usually only if the other individuals were loaning money to the person buying the beer. Even if, say, someone of age was buying a six pack for themselves, and their younger brother wanted a candy bar, so they add it to the order and the younger brother hands the older the change needed for the candy bar, legally we had to refuse the sale and run it as two separate transactions. This is because it was regarded as, “a minor contributing to the sale of alcohol.”

  191. Kicken says:

    In my state, SC, a mother/father could give their children of any age alcohol at their own discretion.

  192. sam-i-am says:

    Well we’re pretty far down here so nobody will probably read this.

    The story I sent consumerist a few months ago beats this by a mile and I can tell you this “policy” pisses me off to no end. It is absolutely required at the local Target and Wal*Mart stores for everyone in a party to show an ID for alcohol and cigarettes. I have talked to the store manager who refuses to change the policy and claims that anyone who doesn’t 100% enforce it is fired on the spot.

    This happened to me and not only did they “check” my ID, but they TOOK IT AWAY from me and would not give it back. The clerk went and gave it to a police officer in some room I was not allowed to go into and they called the police to check if my ID was real.

    Best of all, it was a FEDERAL ID – one that you have to jump through A LOT more hoops to get than your average driver’s license. Of course I complained, and I think they sent me a gift card for $20 or something.

    I was hoping to organize a flashmob. A few hundred people in one group who all have to get their ID’s checked.

    I am aware of no law that stipulates restrictions on the sale of alcohol and tobacco based on the ages of people in the general vicinity of the purchase. I think it is safe to say no such law exists.

    Anyway, the full story is here:[gthing.net]

    Just thinking about it again makes me angry.

  193. Grapekiller says:

    I work at a gas station.

    There’s no law saying everyone has to be carded. However if we make so much as ONE mistake selling alcohol that someone underage gets access to, we go to straight to JAIL! I’m out on bond for selling beer to a guy, who was “of age” because he gave it to his girlfriend, and they say I should have known.

    Though I agree it’s dumb, s long as the police keep me in constant fear of my freedom, I’m forced to card everybody, AND their freinds.

  194. silvershoes says:

    This is regular practice at most stores where I live (Austin). Young-looking people know to bring ID or stay outside, even if their friend is buying. It sucks, but the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) is insanely tough on underage drinking, so they’re basically covering their asses. At a restaurant where I worked, a (great) server was fired for not carding a corporate secret shopper who had salt and pepper hair. Seriously. I bet this is an actual store policy. Don’t blame the cashier for following policy to keep his/her job.

  195. megsuma says:

    This is nothing new here in NC – especially at grocery stores. My room mate and I have had to leave stores sans-beer numerous times because one of us forgets his ID and we both get in line together.

  196. MonstrousCosmos says:

    When I lived in the state of Washington this happened every time I bought alcohol in a grocery store OR in a state liquor store. When I visit my family, it still happens. In other states, with looser alcohol regulations, it is much less common. I blame the draconian control laws, not individual stores, for this inconvenience. Stores are held accountable in some states when minors are caught buying alcohol and cigarettes – it isn’t exactly their choice whether or not to act like a morality police when the actual police are just waiting (or actively stinging) to write them up for failing to prevent the sale of alcohol to a minor.

    On a similar note, I have been refused when buying alcohol for having an out-of-state drivers license and a friend was once refused because his out-of-state ID was a state ID card and not a drivers license. I was also once refused cigarettes when I was 20 because the clerk saw me respond (as in, nod in acknowledgment) to a joking comment (“those things’ll kill you”) from a young looking man I didn’t know and was not with me. She, in her infinite wisdom, decided that the interaction indicated that we were together and that I was trying to buy him cigarettes without ID. Those incidents, to me, were above and beyond — the “let’s see ID from everyone who is together at the checkstand” seems more like a CYA standard.

  197. anyanka323 says:

    I work in a grocery store in MI that cards everyone from teenagers to old grannies for alcohol and tobacco purchases. The store I work at also doesn’t sell hard liquor, only beer and wine due to township restrictions.

    One supervisor is odder than the others. Today she denied a 20 something male with a military ID because she thought he was buying a minikeg for underage people. He came through my lane and she told me not to let him buy it. He left the store very pissed off at her not me. Her decision and way she made it irritated the people up front. Most of us only card the person who is paying for the purchase, but we don’t have a lot of issues with the state liquor control which hasn’t done a undercover buy in over 6 months from our store. It’s close to a university, but we don’t have a lot of college students living close by.

    Each state’s liquor board probably has it’s own preferred method of card, but I think there’s a great deal of discretion for the stores depending on if underage drinking is a small or larger issue.

  198. Livardo says:

    When I lived in Vancouver, my dad would just leave me outside. I always assumed that underaged people weren’t allowed in the store at all. Mind you, in BC, no booze at supermarkets, grocery stores, etc.. Only government liquor stores and “Beer & Wine” stores (though they are letting them sell the hard stuff now). I think this is an idiotic law because it can be defeated so easily. Of course, the clerk doesn’t give a crap what happens to the booze after the sale. They just don’t want to be liable and / or be breaking the arcane liquor laws.

  199. 0x12is18 says:

    It’s called CYA. Some states require this. In other places, it is policy to prevent lawsuits when the alcohol is given to minors.

  200. Skybolt says:

    FWIW, when I went to college in Bloomington, IN, this was the policy of the 7-11 across from campus. I don’t know if it was local or corporate policy, or state law, or the university intimidating nearby shops. If you came in with a group and wanted to buy beer, they checked everyone’s ID.

  201. CJG says:

    Every time we ever bought booze in college (in Boston) this is exactly what happened. You don’t go shopping with underage people and everyone brings their IDs. What’s the big deal?

  202. sleepydumbdude says:

    I had this happen at a few grocery stores, well most. Only one that doesn’t do it to me seems to be walmart.

  203. Indecent says:

    I can’t even buy beer at the local Kroger here if my younger brother is with me. It doesn’t matter that I might have a cart full of groceries – if I hadd a bottle of tequila to that when my 18 year old brother is with me, I cannot purchase it.

    Even if I send him out to the car, I am not able to buy it.

  204. mariospants says:

    Great letter there, OP. Really really well-written.

    It’s funny to recall when I was 14 and visiting the Czech Republic and my younger brother, my cousin (he was like 12 at the time) and I went up the hill from my grandad’s cottage with a pitcher to fill up with beer at the local pub and bring back. No ID, no card and no under-aged drinking; just 3 kids under 14 buying and carting a pitcher of beer home (oh and REAL beer, not that 2.9% alcohol crap).

  205. TheStonepedo says:

    My mom had to wait for me at the checkouts at a Green’s liquor store in Atlanta while I went in to purchase beer because they card on the way in rather than on the way out. Supermarkets will not check ID on entrance. The best setup I’ve seen to date in a supermarket keeps the beer/wine/liquor in a small area at the side of the store with its own checkout; if the poster’s brother encountered such a layout he could have easily waited outside the ID-checked area without causing a fuss.

  206. danielly37 says:

    This happened to me a couple weeks ago. I was with about 15 girls on our way to a pre-bachelorette party dinner at a byob place. 3 of the girls didn’t get the BYOB memo so when they stopped to get a 12 pack at a deli when we walked past, they wouldn’t serve them unless all of us marched in. (We were all wearing black – it was pretty obvious we were all together.) So, whatever, we did. 10 minutes wasn’t really a big deal, and the place had lost their liquor license before. The clerk was just doing her job.

  207. quirkyrachel says:

    This happened to me in college. Some girl friends and I tried to buy two bottles of wine (that nasty fruity stuff that’s barely alcoholic anyway), and they insisted on seeing the id’s of everyone.

  208. Thanatos says:

    I saw this happen in walmart but they went ahead and sold the beer to the guy, I couldnt believe they were doing it, seems ridiculous to me.

  209. SkiAliG says:

    This happened to me all the time at Wegmans when I lived in New York, and now they do it at Siegels in Dallas. For me, it’s mostly happened in college towns. It’s annoying, but once you’re aware of it you can kind of work around the issue. I always figured it was something that chain stores had policies for.

  210. Channing says:

    I hate it when I’m buying drinks for some hot under 21 girls and they get carded too. What’s up with that?
    (totally joking because I don’t talk to girls =/)

  211. Diningbadger says:

    Sorry, people, but the dude above me is right. The store can refuse you at any time for any reason when it comes to this sort of thing.

  212. Meh! no biggy, im from the UK and work in a bar and even though our drinking age is 18 we HAVE to ID anyone that looks under 21, even other people in thier party/group, if they don’t ALL have ID, no sale. Seems to be pretty common practice both sides of the Atlantic.

  213. semiotix101 says:

    FWIW, liquor and cigarette laws are often written so that the clerk–not the store, not the manager, not the chain, not the corporation that owns the corporation that owns the chain–the clerk is the one on the hook for fines.

    With my own two eyes I watched the powers that be in Ohio cite one of my coworkers at a convenience store in an underage beer-sales sting. (A damn good one, too: that 17-year-old could have been 30, if you ask me.) The fine was a few hundred dollars, which is to say about three weeks’ take-home pay for her.

    So there’s actually a powerful incentive for wage-slaves to invent three or four layers of additional stupid policy, on top of the existing stupid policy. I know I didn’t want to have anything to do with selling beer after that incident, which meant that I went from being the sullen convenience store clerk who grudgingly rings up your order, to the sullen convenience store clerk who just disappears from the register altogether when you head over to the beer cooler, forcing you to get the even-sullener deli clerk to ring you up.

  214. This has happened to me a number of times before. The most frustrating was at a Meijer in a college town in Michigan. I was buying a few things before a birthday party, one of which was an $11 bottle of Asti. My friend had tagged along and at the last minute decided to buy a cold soda and something like gum or a toothbrush…

    We went through the self-check out lane – I went first and my friend stood near me holding her 2-3 items waiting for me to finish so she could use the machine next. When it prompted me, I took my ID over to the lady monitoring the self-check lanes. She didn’t even punch my info into the computer before asking where my friends ID was.

    I told her it was a separate order, that my friend was actually 23 (I was 21 at the time) and that she didn’t have her ID on her (it was in her purse in the car and she was planning on just paying cash for her purchase) and the lady would not back down, demanding to see BOTH of our ID’s even though I was clearly the only one paying for my order. Finally after holding my ID and my transaction hostage for about 3 minutes I returned to “my” register, grabbed the bag of still up-paid items, gathered my friend’s few items and dumped them all on her podium announcing “I don’t want any of this crap if you’re going to waste more of my time carding people who aren’t buying my things for me!”

    Then we went to the liquor store around the corner and got the same Asti for about $3 less with NO ID check at all. Plus, we managed to forego all of the impulse items we had grabbed at Meijer.