Why Does Walmart Want To See ID To Buy WD-40?

Last week, we learned that Target is now scanning IDs of customers who buy canned air. Today, we’re hearing that Walmart needs to see some identification before it will sell you a can of WD-40.

Consumerist reader Luke shares his tale of trying to procure some WD-40 at his local Walmart:

After scanning the item through the register, the cashier proudly demanded to see my ID, with the sort of indignation reserved for people who think they’re doing you a favor by hassling you. I asked why, exactly, I had to show ID for a can of WD-40, and she claimed it was store policy not to sell WD-40 to minors.

This baffled me. I know that they now refuse to sell canned air, spray paint and Fix-A-Flat kits to teens for fear of kids getting high off the fumes, but last I checked WD40 has no such fumes, and if you tried to huff it you’d get a face-full of low density oil.

Is this normal? Are there angry young teens running around the city at night, making garden gates and front doors stop squeaking? Is this a national WalMart policy? Or did the store manager just decide to start carding ALL canned sprays in an attempt to keep high school students from huffing?

As for whether or not WD-40 is being used by huffers to get high, we actually spoke with Robert Busacca, VP Global Quality Assurance for WD-40. And while he couldn’t comment on Walmart’s policy of not selling the product to minors, he did stress that “WD-40 is completely safe when used properly.” He also added that, unlike many products commonly associated with huffing, WD-40 doesn’t use a hydrocarbon propellant.

Of course, if you really think about it, a large number of products available at Walmart could somehow be misused in harmful manner, whether or not you’re trying to get high. So should they check IDs for anything that could cause physical harm to minors?

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