Walmart Says Dad Can’t Buy Beer Because He’s Shopping With Teen Daughter

Dear Walmart: Your price may not be beatable, but some would rather shop at a store that doesn't treat them like criminals. (photo: Alex Nobunaga)

Dear Walmart: Your price may not be beatable, but some would rather shop at a store that doesn’t treat them like criminals. (photo: Alex Nobunaga)

Back in college, I’d to the grocery store with friends and we always had to separate the beer from the other items being purchased because anyone chipping in money (yes, this was a time when most people paid by cash or check) had to be of legal drinking age. But if anyone under 21 just happened to be standing in line near the beer, no one cared. This is apparently not the case at Walmart, where a dad was told he couldn’t purchase beer and booze because he was shopping with his teen daughter.

The man tells the Des Moines Register that, along with some groceries, he took a couple of Bud six-packs and some vodka up to the register at a Walmart in Ames, IA, earlier this month.

But rather than ask the 57-year-old for ID, the cashier carded the teen girl.

Being 15, she had no form of ID to share with the cashier, who then refused to sell the alcohol to the man who was trying to buy it.

A rep for the store said requesting ID from everyone who appears to be under the age of 40 is a policy that has been around for a decade.

“In order to ensure that alcoholic beverages and tobacco are not sold to minors, Walmart is testing point-of-sale age checks in some locations across the country,” reads a customer service statement given to the dad. “By testing this, we hope to discover the best methods for ensuring that products are not sold illegally to minors. In addition, to comply with federal laws, stores may ask for the ID from individuals within a group other than the person making the purchase.”

The dad, who estimates that his family has spent about $3,000 at this particular Walmart in just the first half of 2014 was confounded and embarrassed by the situation.

“If Walmart is so worried about underage drinking and smoking, why do they sell alcohol and tobacco to begin with?” he asks. “Are they going to do this with other potentially dangerous things they sell, like ammo?”

The Register’s Lee Rood says he gave Walmart HQ two weeks to comment on this story, but did not receive any response.

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  1. SuperSpeedBump says:

    This happened to me a few years ago when I was 29. I was standing in line at Walmart with some groceries and beer when all of a sudden my Cousin showed up. We chatted while waiting, and once I put the beer on the counter, my Cousin was asked for his ID as well as mine. Didn’t matter that we were not actually together, the only thing that mattered was that I was observed communicating with an individual who was not of legal age to purchase alcohol.

    They made me feel like a criminal, so I stopped shopping there.

    I think it’s also important to note that in Wisconsin it is legal for parents to allows their children to drink as long as they accompany them. Walmart still refuses to sell alcohol to any parent, regardless of this fact. My Mother found this out a few years ago in the exact same situation. She no longer purchases from Walmart.

  2. CzarChasm says:

    This is pretty common policy for all stores around here. There is one store around here who cards EVERYONE. My friends 80 + year old grandmother was declined because she didn’t have ID.

  3. EducationalGeek says:

    Sorry but they can’t ask for ID of anyone else but who is purchasing said products. This is in accordance with state laws which say anyone who is of legal age can purchase said products. Walmart may think they can get away with this but they are breaking state laws by doing what they are doing. Report them to the State AG.

    • Seli says:

      Is that an Iowa state law (which is where this story occurred)? Just curious, because I know here in Massachusetts there are technically NO state laws that require checking IDs when selling alcohol; instead, it is the seller’s responsibility not to sell to anyone under 21, and they are allowed to set their own policies regarding how they do that. They have the right to refuse sale to anyone they suspect is a minor or is buying for a minor; as long as they’re not discriminating by race, sex, any of the other protected classes, they can require as many people as they want to show ID.

    • CzarChasm says:

      Are you a lawyer? Because I would be interested in seeing that statute. It seems highly unlikely, and possibly unconstutional. If you are suggesting it would be illegal for someone to ask someone else for an ID, that would be a clear violation of freedom of speech.