Target Cards You For Buying Jones Soda

Reader Daniel would like to let us know that the Target in Huntsville, AL thinks Jones Soda is alcoholic, and they’re going to need to see some ID.

Daniel says: Hi guys,

I thought this was an interesting incident that you might want to look into and make your readers aware of.

I had went with a friend to buy a few things at the Super Target in Huntsville, Alabama yesterday. Upon checking out, the cashier looked at a four pack of bottled Jones Soda that my friend was buying for himself and asked to see his license. Having laughed it off a bit realizing her mistake, we informed her that this in fact was not an alcoholic drink and that she would not need his ID. She instead became very stern with us and told us that we would have to provide ID anyways, or else the Target Rent-A-Cop would “deal with us”, as she stated it.

Wanting to head home and not really wanting to cause a scene, we went ahead and did what she asked and headed out of the store with our purchases. I’ve tried to reach a manager by phone afterwards to state my displeasure but have had no luck as of yet. Should this happen again, I’m pretty sure that we’ll be standing our ground instead of giving in as we shouldn’t have.


Hey, in addition to complaining to Target, you should probably send a letter to Jones Soda. We’re sure they’d like to know that that particular Target is refusing to sell their soda to people under 21.

(Photo:zac attack)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Oh GAWD. As a Southern Girl, I am very ashamed. As if we need any more fuel for the Illiterate Redneck stereotype.

  2. mandarin says:

    Well maybe she was just a little clueless on what Jones soda is…

  3. joeblevins says:

    Maybe it was Beer Flavored.

  4. 82300sd says:

    Does Target even sell alcohol? I’ve never seen one that does.

  5. Don Roberto says:

    I don’t know how else to express my feelings, but:
    Slow day, is it, Meg?

    I’m sure this is a very isolated incident. Does it really merit the attention of The Consumerist?

  6. FLConsumer says:

    I thought the cash registers at these stores threw up a message on the cashier’s screen when something which required ID for purchase (booze, spraypaint, BB guns, etc) had been scanned?

  7. urban_ninjya says:

    Probably something wrong /w the entry in their computer systems. Most supermarkets and stores will have their cash register prompt them for ID when an alcholic item or tabacco is scanned.

  8. FLConsumer says:

    @82300sd: Target sells wine & beer here, but that’s it. Forget any of the good stuff. I think this varies greatly depending upon which state you live in. Our alcohol laws are still very much buried in the immediate post-prohibition era.

  9. vr4z06gt says:

    maybe she just wanted a date with the guy??? so in a stalkerish sort of way and using her “authority” as a cashier she asked for his ID.

  10. Kaisum says:

    I would have made her feel really dumb by showing her the bottle and the fact that alcohol isn’t mentioned on it anywhere.

  11. lincolnparadox says:

    Honestly, in that situation I would have politely pulled out my ID and asked her to call her CS Manager over. Then I would have calmly explained the situation to the CSM, and inquire why I was being ID’d for soda pop?

    Granted, I wouldn’t be buying Jones anyhoo, or most sodas for the matter. They all have organic acid perservatives (sodium/potassium benzoate or sodium/potassium sorbate), which have been identified as a possible cancer risk through yeast studies. The way i see it, I don’t need a fizzy drink that badly.

  12. wring says:

    chick working in retail and in dire need of a power trip after being humiliated. let it go dude. i’d like to think that working for target sucks, everyone seems so unhappy in that store.

  13. jaredgood1 says:

    On a semi-related tangent: Does anyone else drink orange soda and vanilla vodka?

  14. Christovir says:

    I’ve been carded for buying IBC Root Beer in Kroger. I think these are pretty common (but not systemic) incidents in retail. Occasional clueless clerk doesn’t know what does/doesn’t contain alcohol, so cards for anything in a glass bottle.

  15. Meg Marco says:

    @Don Roberto: Says the guy Monday-morning-quarterbacking editorial decisions on a blog.

  16. humorbot says:

    Target sells wine. God help us, Target sells wine.

    I’d go for the soda.

  17. Karl says:

    I especially love how Target not only checks ID, but SCANS the 2D barcode as well. Theoretically, they could be collecting your name, address, license number, height, weight, eye and hair color, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually did store some of this data.

  18. davebg5 says:

    Maybe the cashier just thought that he was trying to pull a Jedi Mind trick on her.

    “You don’t need to see his identification. These aren’t the alcoholic beverages you’re looking for.” ::waves hand mysteriously in front of her face::

  19. TedOnion says:

    Remember, these clerks are in fear for their jobs and for their freedom if they screw up an don’t check for ID. That’s why many of them make a mistakes like this. The employee should have realized her mistake and let it go, and I sure don’t blame the customers for doing what they needed to do to leave in peace.

    This reminds me of a time when my friend from Austria and I were buying alcohol and the clerk refused to accept his federally issued green card as ID. There was a police officer stationed in the store so I told the clerk that she’d better have him arrested. She did nothing so we turned ourselves in to the cop who laughed about arresting my friend, and refused to advise the clerk that his ID was okay. We bought our booze elsewhere.

  20. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    @Karl: They could be scanning the ID to make sure it wasn’t a fake. Also the Super Targets by where I live sell hard liquor as well as beer and wine. I once got 10 bottles of Canadian Mist for $3 each on clearance.

  21. latemodel says:

    Target probably stores all the info available to them. Such info is sold to marketing companies. That is one reason I dont use credit cards much; the marketing people know everything you bought at Target.

  22. ChChChacos says:

    I used to work at a Target in Florida.. can’t say I ever saw this happen there.

  23. vex says:

    Just get out your wallet and start fumbling through it for 5 minutes muttering “I know its in here somewhere…”

  24. liquisoft says:

    Must’ve been because it was in a glass bottle and it was a funny-lookin’ color. SODA COMES IN PLASTIC BOTTLES, DAMMIT!

  25. warf0x0r says:

    Does Target sell alcoholic beverages even?!?

  26. Karl says:

    @BloggyMcBlogBlog: There are plenty of ways of verifying that an ID is real without scanning it. Scanning it does NOTHING. The barcode specs are publicly available, and there’s ZERO authentication of any of the information on the barcode. To make things more amusing, Oregon used to issue renewal STICKERS that would replace this barcode. The stickers had no security features. So, you could replace your barcode with one that said you were 21, and most cashiers would blindly accept the scanner. It’s just a bad idea for many reasons.

  27. WV.Hillbilly says:

    How long is it going to be until some goody good posts here and says, ” Just show your ID. How long does it take? What do you have to hide? What’s the big deal?”

    Just watch.

  28. jmschn says:

    Everyone is missing the big picture here…the only fault was that the consumer bought Jones Soda!

  29. RandomHookup says:

    This is right up there with the offices that require you to show ID. As a friend put it, “we only allow visitors in our building who are smart enough to get a photo ID.”

  30. monkey33 says:

    I was talking about scanning ID’s to the clerk at my local liquor store the other day because they got into some trouble for selling to minors. They have all the scanning equipment, but it doesn’t work well for their needs in a college town, since it only works on in state licenses and too many fake IDs come from other states.

  31. ChaosMotor says:

    “we would have to provide ID anyways, or else the Target Rent-A-Cop would “deal with us”, as she stated it.”

    Why didn’t you wave his happy ass over and have him examine the bottle in all his rent-a-cop wisdom for any indication of alcoholic content?

    Why are people too chickenshit to stand up to fools anymore?

  32. Dr.Ph0bius says:

    @Don Roberto:

    Uhg. Thank you.

    It seems like we are seeing more and more of these ridiculous stories here anymore.

    Its one idiot cashier. It isnt like we’re seeing this happening at Target all over the country or anything… I dont think this merits escalating past the store manager, but then again, there is a very real mentality among some people here that they should be richly compensated for any inconvienience they encounter.

  33. bradriley says:

    I wouldn’t spend to much time trying to call the store on the phone. Your best bet is to stop in and speak with a manager or calling the Guest Services 1-800 number.

  34. Buran says:

    I would have politely demanded to see the manager.

    And then, after buying the soda without showing my ID, walked out without showing my receipt either.

  35. boandmichele says:

    OMG people!

    Just show your ID! How long does it take? What do you have to hide?

    What’s the big deal?


  36. serreca says:

    @82300sd: SuperTargets are basically Targets with grocery stores attached. They are awesome. And they sell beer & wine. You have to go into an actual liquor store in Alabama to buy liquor.

  37. Buran says:

    @Don Roberto: When your privacy is invaded to go grocery shopping … yes.

    Is YOUR day so slow that all you have to do is bitch about what other people post on their websites?

  38. hollerhither says:

    Are there any general rules on IDs (kind of like the whole receipt thing)? My sister was refused purchase of a bottle of wine at a grocery store in the South unless her boyfriend, who accompanied her, *also* showed his ID. She was paying. They’re both over 30. What’s up with that? If she had a kid, and brought the kid in the store with her, would she also have been denied purchase? Bizarre.

  39. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:


    I would have politely demanded to see the manager.

    And then, after buying the soda without showing my ID, walked out without showing my receipt either.

    Nice! ;-)

  40. protest says:


    i do now, thanks!

  41. dieman says:

    In minnesota, ironically — the home of target, you can’t get much more than 3.2 beer in supertargets. Not even wine is allowed in the supermarket here. So nobody buys 3.2 beer and just go to the liquor store.

  42. BrockBrockman says:

    @ChaosMotor: I actually hate it when some fool in front of me holds up the line in order to straighten something out, when a simple give-and-take would have fixed everything. I mean, just showing an ID card, in this situation where it wasn’t a big inconvenience, was the nice thing to do.

    So, while I applaud this consumer for moving the line along, WTF is up with this crap? Carding over Jones Soda? How STUPID are these people?

    But don’t tell me it was that “sweat” or “crystal gravy” flavored Jones Soda, because then I the consumer loses my respect.

  43. samurailynn says:

    @hollerhither: I don’t know what the general rules are. However, I am 26 and my husband and I host a high school international student in our home. She’s been with me at the grocery store when I’ve purchased wine, and the cashiers always ask for both of our IDs. I explain that she’s a high school student, she is not 21, and that right now I am her legal guardian. So far I have not been denied the purchase. (And no, we don’t give her alcohol.)

  44. Kephale says:

    I actually had a similar incident at a Stop & Shop. I was buying Stewart’s Root Beer (a cardboard 4 pack) and got a ‘show ID’ warning on the self checkout screen. The cashier manning the checkouts explained that they had an incident where some kids swapped the root beer bottles for real beer. The self checkout register thought it was root beer (since the barcode is on the case) and they didn’t get carded. So now they tag everything that could fall victim to that scam (apparently). He was nice enough to not ask for ID since he saw it was actually root beer. Apparently the cashier in this case was not quite so willing to think for herself.

    PS – Is it wrong to be annoyed about getting carded whenever I buy spray paint????

  45. WolfDemon says:

    This happened to my friends and me at Albertsons but she realized it was just Jones Soda and let us buy it

  46. Anonymous says:

    If this the Super Target on University Drive? If so, I’m not surprised. I’ve had much better luck with the employees at the one in Jones Valley.

  47. Buran says:
  48. Buran says:

    @BrockBrockman: Yup, there’s always one of those “why is it so hard to allow your privacy to be invaded or your rights to be given up for someone else’s (read, mine) convenience” types in every thread.

    Give up your rights if you want. But don’t complain about others choosing not to.

  49. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Even Aldi sells beer & wine!

  50. The Meathead says:

    @Don Roberto: Clearly. This is right in the Consumerist’s wheelhouse.

  51. hoo_foot says:

    @hollerhither: I have also had to show ID while accompanying my husband to the liquor store, even if I’m not making a purchase. I’ve complained about it, but have always been told that it is a “state law”. I’m inclined to believe given that the liquor stores here are state-owned.

  52. mattbrown says:

    i would throw my poo at the cashier like a monkey.

  53. Scooter says:

    All of the retail stores I’ve worked at that sell alcohol have an automated system for asking the cashier to check ID for alcohol and tobacco, to avoid screw-ups. I haven’t worked at a Target, but given the size of the Target Corporation, and risks involved in selling such products to minors, I can’t possibly imagine they wouldn’t have such a system in place.

    All of this means, that something is wrong in that stores computers, listing Jones as an alcoholic beverage.

    You should have just told her to shove it, and asked to speak to her manager.

  54. ManiacDan says:

    I’ve been IDed for buying root beer, ginger beer, and Jones before also. I was also kicked out of a movie theater for bringing in my own Jones because the guard thought at first that it was a beer.

    People fear what they do not understand.


    And they’re dumb.

  55. Anonymous says:

    indeed it must a be a SLOW news day.

    to characterize what one (dim) employee did as “Target Cards You” is huge overstep.

  56. Grimspoon says:

    Bitches need to stop complaining about slow news days. I like these types of news posts, if you don’t – too damn bad.

    Keep up the good work Meg.

  57. Caroofikus says:

    When I worked at Target, I always scanned the IDs because, well, I was still amazed that I could (we have those strange ones that aren’t actually a barcode, but something called a “dot scan barcode”, I think).

    Other than that, Target’s POS system is just like the one at Wal-Mart — if it needs ID, it will tell you.

  58. Back in my retail years, I worked at a drug store too small to automate asking for ID. When AriZona Iced Teas created a “pina colada” flavor (which I don’t think they make anymore), one of our knucklehead cashiers kept trying to card people for it.

    That particular cashier was perpetually stupid, actually. (For example: Not only couldn’t she do math in her head, she was too dumb to do her math on paper — she would write on the counter top.) I kept asking why the store wouldn’t fire somebody that monumentally dumb, and the manager would insist we had to settle for stupid employees because “It’s only retail.”

    What was my point? Oh yeah — retailers know their cashiers are dim. They just don’t care, because dim people work cheap.

  59. mattplo says:

    Yes, I drink vanilla vodka with orange soda. In fact, Malibu Banana Rum with Fanta orange soda or any orange soda is pretty sick. It’s currently my fav Orange flavored drink. Although Malibu Coconut rum is almost as good. As far as a real vanilla flavored drink. Tuaca Vanilla Liquor mixed with Coke. It doesn’t get any more real. Smooth, No alchohol taste and after a few you will be lit. A staple drink of Boston’s North End. :)

  60. perfectly_cromulent says:

    where can you find ginger beer anymore?? no place i know carries it as of late!

  61. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    You mean ginger ALE?

  62. hjstech50 says:

    Come on, now. The cashier made an honest mistake. Wine coolers are sold in 4 packs and look very similar.

  63. JayXJ says:

    A cashier saw four small bottles and assumed they were wine coolers. Had this happen all the time in Florida with an off brand soda I liked.

    Irsistherootofallevil: No, there really is a beverage called ginger beer. The flavor is as, um, interesting as you could imagine.

  64. synergy says:

    That’s really weird. My husband and I have bought those sodas at Target and have never gotten carded. Then again we’re in our 30s, but still.

  65. Brad2723 says:

    I think it’s funny. it just goes to reinforce the uneducated backwoods stereotypes of southern people many of us have.

    Rednecks can be so funny, until you have to deal with them yourself.

  66. infinitysnake says:

    @82300sd: Yes, at least in Ca they do- I bought two bottles of Chianti at mine just last night.

  67. Uriel says:


    As far as showing your ID, to buy alcohol, that is correct, you need to. However, you do NOT need to hand them your ID. Showing it to them, in your possession, is pretty much all you need to do, if you want that product. That ID is your property, and they can’t search you, unless you allow it, or are somehow obligated to. Few people are aware that if something like a cop pulling you over, were to occur, you do not need to actually hand them your license. You are simply not legally obligated, once more, it is your property. What you ARE obligated to do, is give him the information on the license. IE, if I wanted to be an arch-prick, I could actually hold the license up to the window and make the officer copy all of the information down on a pad of paper. Now, I might end up with a broken tail-light, but, that’s the law(not the broken tail-light, the license part).

  68. bnorton says:

    Super Targets in Iowa have full liquor sections. Anything from wine coolers to 12 year Glenlivet.

  69. cryrevolution says:

    If you read the post closely, it states that the cashier just “looked at a four pack of bottled Jones Soda” and asked for ID. She wasn’t checking it out, she must’ve already or hadn’t done it yet, and just ASSUMED it was alcoholic. I seriously doubt that in all the Targets across the U.S. they prompt for ID for Jones Soda. I think Jones and Target would’ve fixed that a long time ago, bc that means loss of sales. This was primarily the cashier’s fault for assuming and should of course be reported to the store manager, atleast.

  70. huertanix says:

    Are you sure this wasn’t because it was a debit card purchase? I know I’ve been asked for ID when buying things with a card.

  71. SmoovyG says:


    Actually, Target’s Archer Brands offers a ginger beer made with cane sugar that’s quite tasty.

  72. MariSama44 says:

    Wow! I live in hunstville! I’d like to know maybe which one it is, because there’s a crappy one and an okay one here.

    I worked registers at the South Huntsville Target for nearly a year, and never did the computer ask to card for sodas. The alcohol had to be overridden by supervisors for those of the cashiers that were under 19, but otherwise, you can press one button and the screen would clear and let you sell it.

    BUT, they implemented new systems since I left, so…It could be that the sodas were entered in the system wrong or something and it requires an ID to be scanned or swiped in order to proceed, otherwise its stuck and theres no way aorund it. It was just the computers fault if the girl wasnt lying, but at the north target, there’s lots of lying and hastling for customers. Oh, my bad. I mean “guests” ….

    At any rate, thats really weird. Now I wanna go buy some boozesoda.