May I See Your ID?

May I See Your ID?

I almost never include personal information on the blog, but in this case it is necessary. Here is a picture of Yours Truly from about two weeks back.

(I am demonstrating, like King Canute, the futility of commanding the waves to obey me. His subjects didn’t believe him, either.)

Anyway, the following conversation, stripped to the essentials, took place between Yours Truly and the manager (a good guy, and I’d say twenty years younger than me) at a chain grocery store. I was buying wine.

“Do you have an ID?”

What for? I bought wine here many times and never needed an ID.

“It’s a new policy.”

Why? Don’t I look old enough?

“Well, we need the ID.”

Why? Do I look anywhere near 21?

“All the major chains [he named them in the area] are now doing it.”

That they are. But why? Do I look too young?

“It’s for your safety.”

Safety? How is it making me safe for you to see my ID?

“It’s policy.”

But why is it policy? I don’t look anywhere near 21.


And now you see why I include today’s photo, to show you, dear reader, that I do not look underage.

The conversation went on like this for a little while. I could see the poor manager saw my point. I am obviously older than 21, and not even close to 21. And any sane, rational, even partially sober adult could see that I am far past 21. But he could not bring himself to admit this obvious fact out loud.

In the manager’s favor, and because I don’t carry an ID, he let me slide, “This time”, he said, by having me state my birthday, duly entered into the computer by the clerk.

A woman behind me in line nodded whenever the manager mentioned “safety”. I mentioned in the conversation that I could understand ambiguous cases, people who look close to the edge. This is why some stores, fearing being attacked by the State, have signs like “We card if you look under 40”, policies which are, I think, a reasonable compromise between asinine, but aggressive, government desire and common sense.

But no. We have to pretend, in our Safety First! effeminocracy, that adults can no longer judge a person’s age. We have to leave that crucial difficult error-prone measurement to the government, which is staffed by Experts, and only they alone can certify age, and have you by mandate must carry a document which prints that age on it. Which grocery store clerks can look at, instead of your face.

Because there might be a chance, even a disappearing one, but still a chance, that somebody might make a mistake, and a man like my dad, who looks past 80, and is past 80, might ackshually be 20 and trying to sneak a beer.

And just think how low society will sink if, once or twice a decade, a 20 year old, who appears to be 80, manages to buy a six pack!

Safety First!

Hey, if the policy saves just one life, it’s worth it. Right?

Now here, if you are like most, you would say to me, “What’s the big deal, Briggs. Just show them your ID. It’s painless.”

It isn’t painless. It’s stupid. It’s dumb. It’s senseless. I don’t want to carry an ID wherever I go, and only for the purpose of demonstrating what is plain to anybody, except Experts or their designated stand-ins.

Because it’s creeping incrementalism. Because if they require an ID for buying a damned bottle of wine, they will require it for something else. Because if we authorize Experts to make decisions in this small stupid thing, they will insist on making decisions in all things.

Good grief! The Slippery Slope is not only not a fallacy, politicians and activists spend their mornings with great barrels of grease. Whatever is not forbidden is mandatory is not only a slogan, it is stated desire. If we only create enough rules, and manage enough behaviors, Utopia can be ours. (The same thing is found in those who demand sports, which is only entertainment, have mandatory computerized reviews.)

I know I am waging a losing battle. I know that resistance is futile, especially when the young—“our future”, as politicians always needlessly remind us—are a pack of sniveling cowardly timid touchy frightened shivering blob of Safety Firsters.

This tendency toward fear can only grow worse, especially as fewer marry, and seek protection not from family, but from the State. The State is mother, the State is father. The State must protect us!

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  1. Dan Diego

    Just show zem zee paperz, old man!

  2. JR Ewing

    I used to do the same thing at sporting events back in my younger days and when thought it was necessary to drink beer the entire time I was there.

    “Can I see ID?”

    “How old do I look?”

    “I dunno, maybe 30?”

    “How old do I need to be to buy beer?”


    “So why are you asking me for ID if you can tell I’m older than 21?”

    “Because it’s policy.”

    To be fair, I was arguing with minimum wage employees who in theory had no discretion and could get fired for not following asinine “policies”, so it was a fruitless endeavor. But it still pissed me off that their “policy” was so stupid and pedantic.

    And now, a couple of decades later, when I don’t drink nearly as much, I have no hair on my head and a gray beard and no one ever asks for ID.

  3. Robin

    For what it’s worth, Scott Adams insists that there is no such thing as a ‘slippery slope’. I disagree, on the basis of what I see every day around me.

    But buy moonshine, it’s safer and you can be sure that they won’t ask for your ID. Or make your own booze. You can make a bottle of red-eye rotgut (as I’ve done) with a plastic bucket, a few bottles of grape juice, yeast and a little sugar. Aged 3 or 4 days and you’re ready to go! LOL.

    Pity the poor clerks who have to comply with this nonsense.

  4. RT

    Well … in Massachusetts, since voting is less important than buying a bottle of wine, know your ID won’t be needed. But if an illegal immigrant, know they would like to issue a driver’s license for ID purposes.

  5. JDaveF

    The USA is now Estrogen Nation.

  6. awildgoose

    All the gas stations in NY state began requiring a scan of the barcode on NY driver’s licenses to purchase booze at the beginning of this year.

  7. PaulH

    I don’t think it’s necessarily for the wine purchase. I think it’s for location and activity tracking.

  8. Terry

    So glad we beat the “NAZIs.”
    You know, for our freedoms and stuff.

  9. Terry

    So glad we beat the Germans though.
    You know, for our freedoms and stuff.

  10. Terry

    Your site lets me post “beat the Germans” but not “beat the en ay zee eyes”

  11. Joao Martins

    Briggs, you wrote: “I know I am waging a losing battle. I know that resistance is futile, especially when the young—“our future”, as politicians always needlessly remind us—are a pack of sniveling cowardly timid touchy frightened shivering blob of Safety Firsters.”

    Those young are ruining “our” world, “our” lives, and “their” world, “their” lives.

    Unfortunately, they do not ruin only “their” lives — that would not affect us older people, it would be “their” choice. The proble is, “we”, older people, having to suffer “their” cowardice and fears and have “our” world, “our” lives ruined against “our” choice and will.

  12. Leonard

    The obvious solution is to stop patronizing big chain stores (at least for certain items).

  13. C.R.Dickson

    In the picture, you look like Vlad with a head cap and sun glasses. No Lamprey Eels? I heard they can chew a whole foot off in a matter of seconds. At least they used to in Erie, PA and Cleveland, Ohio 50-60 years ago.

    Upstate NY has had many of these types of rules instituted more than 15 years ago. I blame it on the proximity to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

    There are several options:
    1) Buy your spirits at a store with a sign that says “This is not a gun free zone.” I’ve never had a problem in those stores.
    2) Scream loudly at the cashier at checkout “This is granny frisking! This is granny frisking! I’ve done nothing wrong! Usually, they push you and the spirits out the door to get rid of you quickly. Next time around they don’t ask for ID.
    3) Make a fake ID from another person’s license and put a picture of Bat Boy (from the Weekly World News) on it to make it obvious that it is fake. Tell them it works even though it’s fake, and when it does, the cashier smiles and sends you (Bat Boy) and your spirits on your way.
    There is a fourth option, but it is illegal. You could hire a Fentanyl Floyd type fellow to steal the spirits for you. This option, however, is not recommended for many obvious reasons.

  14. Incitadus

    What gets me are the asinine Doctor’s office phone messages that start with
    “if this is an emergency dial 911”, and then go on to waste twenty minutes
    with obscure messaging options and always end with please leave a message.
    It’s all by design like those Total Quality Management meetings where nothing
    gets done invented solely because TQM has such a nice ring to it.

  15. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Man, that’s a great beach picture, Briggsy. The essence of carefree, summer life. Reminds me of going to the beach… on my horse, a white stallion it was. We ran like the wind for miles along that untracked, spotless white sand beach… with a pack of six Scottish Deerhounds racing by my side, and my hunting hawk flying overhead. It was quite a thing. That was before the Big Stupid. Nobody had an I.D. After the Big Stupid crashes and burns we’ll return there.

  16. The problem, unfortunately, is cultural. We’ll always have control freaks and church ladies desperate to tell the rest of us what to do for our own good. They were a minor nuisance until the culture started to mindlessly repeat “Safety First!” without realizing that this normalizes the idea that, of safety is first, everything else must of necessity be of a lower priority than safety. Including happiness, liberty, beauty, and everything else that nourishes the soul and makes for a full life.

    We need a new rallying cry. “Safety Last” might not be it, but it’s a start at driving a stake into the heart of this ideology of the undead:

  17. 1 – when I get asked for ID i’m usually flattered because this happens when I ask for the seniors discount.. 😉

    2 – I would have bought the wine somewhere else.

    3 – nice beach outfit. Grandma’s 1920s? 😉

  18. Spuyten Duyvil

    These new “policies” by major and medium size chains to collect personal information are nothing more than a massive data collection of shoppers. A local medium sized drug store chain asked for ID when I was purchasing a 12 pack of beer. I never hand over my driver’s license to a store clerk, because they will scan the barcode on the back of the license. When I handed the cashier a retired military ID card, which cannot be scanned on their equipment, the cashier was so flummoxed she had to call for the store manager. The manager seemed angry I would not produce a state issued ID (bar coded, of course) of some type. Their heads would probably have exploded if I had handed them my passport. Anyway, if readers are concerned, find out what types of ID are accepted. Use one that cannot be scanned by the store.

  19. Johnno


    It’s 2022! And you now seriously underestimate children’s abilities to learn the secret TRANS-formation arts over internet videos, apply Hollywood-level make-up and fake beards, even more convincing when you have to wear a covid mask, then pull the ol’ two-under-a-trenchcoat trick as they waffle towards the counter with a cart-full of Bagpiper Whiskeys that all the kids love with their mother’s credit card, and when the temporary worker there says, “Sir, can I see some I.D.?”, they yell back,”DON’T YOU SEE THE NAME, MADELINE, ON THE CREDIT CARD???! DID YOU JUST MIS-GENDER ME, BIGGGGOOOTTT?!!! ARE YOU JUDGING MY BODY’S APPEARENCE??? GET US THE MANAGER!!!!” And the poor threatened sap says, “No, Ma’am, I’m sooo sorry, please don’t… I really need this job… I don’t want to be cancelled!” Then he rings her through???

    This IS for safety, Briggsy! First and foremost for employees so that there is official procedure excuse of just followin’ orders to fall back on were they to be dragged before a kangaroo court for hate crimes!!! Even if there was no actual victim and it was all a set-up, the employer is still guilty for ATTEMPTED Hatred and wrong-thought!

    What corner super-market wants the wrath of the mainstream media to descend upon them the moment they air the irresponsible actual mother, Madeline, who sobs before the camera that she is owed reparations because her two sons are now dead from drunk-tricycling? And it is ALL THE SUPER-MARKET’S FAULT!!!!


  20. Hagfish Bagpipe

    Murph the Surf: “3 – nice beach outfit. Grandma’s 1920s? ?

    Funny, but Briggs is showing men here proper beach attire; light-colored linen shirt and trousers, legs rolled up, a white ivy cap, sunglasses, and a wristwatch*. Timeless men’s style. Not the speedos or ugly swim trunks and hawaiian shirts dispensed by Big Stupid that make men appear ridiculous. If you want to get a little wild and crazy at the beach do as Briggs does here, with shirt semi-unbuttoned and the tails hanging out, but go no further, or a man risks ruin.

    *If you look closely he’s wearing a 1957 Rolex Submariner, model 6536-1, with the black finish. Diver’s watch, perfect for the beach.

  21. spaceranger

    I hate it when they ask for my phone number. So I just make one up.

  22. Yawrate

    Yes Briggs, they’ve started IDing everyone in northern Michigan. I’ll show them my ID but won’t let them scan it. Does Family Fare have the wherewithal to protect my privacy? I don’t think so.

    The picture is great! Lake Michigan I assume. I’ll be up there this weekend…maybe we’ll bump into each other.


  23. Gabe

    Poor girl at the Kroger says “Sir, this ID is expired.” Sure enough, two days prior. Which somehow made me 30 years younger? Six-foot gal in scrubs behind me says with Natasha Fatale accent, “What is problem?” She then buys my beer and sells it to me in front of the checkout girl. Poor kid was horrified.

  24. Susan Powers

    Thank You for keeping us sane. Last year I was boarding a Delta flight as I showed my boarding pas, a Delta staff asked if he could take my photo to place in their “data bank”…I said no….his response was eventually everyone will need to submit this this. I sweetly smiled and kept walking….Susan

  25. Briggs


    Yes, dammit. Glenns now asks for ID. I had a similar conversation with an older woman there. She thought it was a good idea.


    One never knows when one may be required to dive in.

  26. Cary Cotterman

    I encountered this kind of idiocy at Costco. I was trying to buy a bottle of wine, and the guy demanded my ID. I was sixty-three, and looked every hard-earned year of it. I told him I was three times twenty-one, and asked if he thought I looked underage. It just didn’t matter, I had to prove with government documentation that I wasn’t a minor. I refused to play their stupid game, and bought my wine elsewhere. Fortunately Costco has dropped this asinine policy.

  27. BDavi52

    But it’s for your own good, don’t you know?!

    All these double & triple checks, gotta see it all validated by accredited Validators, it’s all here to help us.
    Otherwise, who knows, a non-validated, un-triplechecked kinda thing might happen. And then where would be be??!


    Before you know it un-double-checked things would happen and then OMG absolutely never checked anarchy.

    What then? What would we all say when we discover that liquor stores were selling cases of MadDog 2020 to 4 yr. olds who have toddled into the store, pulled their wallet out and handed the clerk (after being boosted up to the counter by a kindly customer) their credit card and toddled out again, dragging the case slowly behind them?

    The horror!

  28. Bob Johnston

    It’s everyone’s duty to disobey stupid laws and rules.

  29. This can’t be fixed by voting and I don’t see anyone getting off their fat a*ses and tarring and feathering any politicians and bureaucrats so it seems you’ll have to suck it up. Diverse citizens don’t have to show ID, they simply shoplift what they want so it’s just more white boy problems anyway.

  30. Uncle Mike

    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

  31. Uncle Mike

    No ID? Show ’em your vexx card.

    Tip: always wear a large facemask and dark glasses when buying spirits. Refuse to remove them, citing Fauci.

    Tip 2: make your own ID with Photoshop showing you obscurely in full mask and/or diving helmet.

  32. Milton Hathaway

    I was carded once when I was mid-thirties or so, by a teenage girl, when buying “three-two” beer at a mini-mart, in a state where the age limit was 18. I hadn’t been carded in some time, so I was mildly flattered. She looked carefully at my ID, took another look at me, and said “Gawd your old”.

  33. trigger warning

    Dear Karen Briggs 🙂 :
    I very much enjoy your posts and blog with the notable exception of posts by Ianto Watt, a writer I find stupefyingly boring.

    But, IMO, it’s important to remember that, in many cases, requesting an ID is not a discretionary choice by the counter clerk (who is probably being monitored by a video recorder). A very close friend who is a practicing business attorney explains that selling alcoholic beverages to minors can result in legal expenses at best and loss of a liquor license at worst. Therefore, since most checkout people are yutes, they are instructed to card everyone. That way, when an undercover cop attempting posing as a minor (yes, they most certainly exist) is carded, the business owner has an affirmative defense.

    I’m surprised to see this topic has risen to the top of your concerns, given the state of the world etc.

  34. Poha

    “I grow old … I grow old …
    I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
    Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
    I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each …”
    T.S.Eliot, Prufrock
    Heh, “sans culottes” is a rhyme, with Prufrock?
    Sans-culottes, literally means ‘those without knee breeches’.
    Jacobins (moi?) proclaim the end of power wielded by wearers of knee breeches. yo.

  35. Forbes

    Aye, 20 years ago (upstate NY) buying beer for a family 4th of July picnic, the local cash n carry (lowest beer prices!) had me sign a book stating I was not buying beer OR supplying beer for any under-age persons. In addition, anyone accompanying the beer purchaser had to also show ID. My young-looking, though 30-something girlfriend left her ID in the car. “Should I go get it?” The reply was, “just go to the car–you don’t need to come back in.” LOL!

    There had been a rash of “Karens” complaining about high school beer parties, and some of these Karens thought it was a good idea to bring lawsuits against the retailers whose names surfaced in the various police inquiries into these complaints of public disturbances. The Karens call 911 for noise complaints, loud music, racing motors and cars, parking violations, beer can litter, etc. The chain of cash n carry stores I patronized was locally owned, so they reacted as they did to garner good media publicity. Defensive PR due to Karens–even before we had a name for these officious, nosey-Nancys and their wet blankets.

  36. The True Nolan

    Approximately 30 years ago, back when I was in my forties, I once had to show my ID to prove I was over 21. What was I buying? Wine? Medicine? A gun? Nope…

    I was buying a roll of black electrical tape. The state had just passed one of those “stop kids from huffing” laws restricting some types of glue from purchase by minors. Since electrical tape has adhesive in it stores were being hyper vigilant not to break the law and get themselves in trouble.

    I think they later rescinded the ID policy for tape, but just remember. There is NO LIMIT, absolutely none, on the stupidity and pettiness of legislation and legislators. Or on managers trying to cover their ass.

  37. Jim

    I gave the cashier a math problem when confronted with this new request for ID.

    “What? I’ve been drinking twice as long as I haven’t. Well not legally, but you get the drift.”
    She got a confused look on her face and said “new policy.”

    “Okay, I don’t want my driver’s license and poor beer choices married in some database somewhere. I will get my alcohol elsewhere.”

  38. Yancey Ward

    Oh, this nothing. I am 56, and about 5 years ago I was carded in a restaurant, but only had my just expired driver’s license with me. They wouldn’t accept it as legal ID because it was expired. I argued with them a little, asking them if they thought I might have gotten younger since the expiration, but it was like talking to a fence post.

  39. AB

    The bigger picture in all of this is that we’re teaching the young not to think but follow a policy, and not to question it. The McDonald’s-ification of the worlds. I’m finding more and more the young are unable connect dots. This also affects the medical industry where hospitals now use “protocols” to service people instead of actually talking to them, going over history, asking probing questions and then doing the right thing.
    Now it’s, oh you have this, we prescribe this…or whatever makes them the most $$$. Get out of big cities and stay out of hospitals for most things.

  40. arthur Foyt

    Grocery stores in my state started demanding ID(drivers license) for alcohol purchase as a “policy” too. Reality is that alcohol purchases are being tagged up to your state driving record since stores conveniently run the card. Your state then knows when, how often, and how much you consume.

    NOW do you see why it has nothing to do with age?

  41. Jan Van Betsuni

    In Japan’s larger Supermarkets, you can simply tap a touch-screen to declare yourself of legal age.
    [20 years and above ~ for purchasing Tobacco and Booze].
    Non-tappers cannot make their purchases.
    Tap-refusal is unacceptable.

    Nonagenarians and Centenarians sometimes struggle with this novel process.
    A few require special assistance (with explanation) from a Store Manager.

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