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Simple Solution: ID Everyone, No Exceptions

, , , , | Right | March 14, 2023

I didn’t have glasses until my twenties. There’s a whole saga behind it, but now that I have them, I’ve found that my ability to tell ages is terrible since I don’t have the experience many others have. So, of course, this involves one of the fan-favourite restricted items: alcohol.

I’m already kind of notorious in the store for calling for more ID checks than others, but I honestly have trouble telling what age someone is. And I had a friend who grew a thick beard at fifteen who I know used that to buy underage, so I have trust issues, too.

I get a customer who is tall, lanky, and most likely of age, but then I try to see his face. Every time I do, he looks away, hiding in the shadow of a baseball cap. I try asking some vague questions, as I would do in normal transactions, to see if I can age him from his voice — things like how his day is, how he’d like his groceries packed, even if he wants boxes, bags, a wine bag for the booze, anything! He mumbles and turns away again from my searching gaze, avoiding me. I try asking him outright to look at me. No dice.

Finally, I have scanned everything, asked every reasonable question — and a few odd ones — and have only had mumbles and avoidance for my troubles. I steel myself and ask in a firm tone.

Me: “Sir, may I see your ID?”

He looks up, shocked. The face is a forty-year-old man, even to my badly trained eye. As we make this eye contact, one supervisor who’s notoriously picky walks past, and I manage to get the ID to confirm the age, with the gentleman mumbling in an unusual accent that doesn’t suggest English as a first language.

After he’s gone, maybe an hour later, the supervisor catches me.

Supervisor: “You don’t ID people who are clearly over the age!”

She absolutely would not listen to how much he’d seemed to be avoiding me before I asked for ID; it was all my fault because I couldn’t see through his hat with my X-ray vision and he wasn’t wearing a badge with his age on it.

I know he may not have understood my questions and may have been mumbling in confusion, but I still tried to be clear about needing to see his face. At least the ID question got me what I needed.

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