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Carded? You've Got To Be F***ing Kidding!!!

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This weekend, I was in the check-out line at my favorite store, Trader Joe's, and the man behind the counter asked me for my ID as he rang the two bottles of wine I had placed in my overflowing basket. My response: "Are you f%^&ing kidding me?"

store clerk carding woman buying alcohol

Radical Mommy: Now, I know some women might be flattered by a young buck carding them to buy wine -- but I thought it was one of the most insulting and embarrassing moments I've had in a long time, so much so that I am considering never going back to that store.

Not to brag -- but I think I look pretty good for my age, as I was born in the late 60s. But there is no way in hell I look under 30, and absolutely NO FREAKIN' WAY that I look under 21. Like I said, I think I look good for MY age -- but I don't look a couple decades younger than it.

Now when I said, "Are you f***ing kidding me?" to the guy behind the register, he actually had the nerve to say something along the lines of, "Must be good moisturizer." Well, that nearly sent me round the bend -- I mean, are you seriously telling me that you think I look nearly 20 years younger than I am because I slather white goop all over my face? I think not -- IDIOT!

Some women might like to fool themselves into thinking that they look under 21, but I'm not one of them. I definitely don't need some fool, who is either SOOO stupid he can't see the crow's-feet and laugh lines that are etched into my face, or feels so sorry for me, to throw me the "Can I see your ID" bone.

The reason I found it so embarrassing is because there were a lot of people around, people who weren't stupid enough to think that someone who was buying $200 worth of groceries, including lots of kids' food and drinks, would be trying to sneak two bottles of wine into the mix because she was underage. It made me feel ridiculous, because I don't want people thinking that I would ever be flattered by such an asinine comment -- or better yet, a blatant lie.

The whole embarrassing incident started me thinking that there actually might be some sort of evil store policy where the employees are told to "Make a fading, over-the-hill beauty's day -- card her." (And people, I am not saying I am, or ever was, a "beauty," but I know I am relatively attractive -- so spare me the hate!)

All in all, the experience made me feel horrible and ugly and old (and fat) -- am I crazy? Has this ever happened to you at Trader Joe's? Tell me your stories.


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59 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ady May 22, 2009, 11:53 AM

I’d say take it as a compliment. Maybe he was flirting with you and that’s not such a bad thing. I don’t think it’s worth getting upset about. I’ve been carded recently and it is very flattering to me. I’m in my mid thirties and I know I don’t look under 21, but I still take it as a compliment. It just means I look younger than I am.

v May 22, 2009, 12:01 PM

I can really relate to this story. What the writer has to understand is some stores have a policy to card EVERY SINGLE customer. I worked at a store with those policies once. I was really embarassed to ask the little old ladies for their id. I could tell that I was insulting some people, but, if a secret shopper came in and I didn’t ID I could get in a lot of trouble, or even lose my job if the shopper was a cop! Next time just pull your ID out and have it in the cashiers eye sight when the wine gets close to the checkout scanner! It will save face.

1234 May 22, 2009, 12:01 PM

i used to work in a grocery store, and my girlfriend was a manager at a trader joe’s. i can assure that there is no such policy, but often there is a blanket policy where you just ask for everyone’s id, all the time. trader joe’s (from what i can recall my girlfriend telling me once) asks for the birthdate AUTOMATICALLY when an alcoholic beverage is rung up. they need to enter it! it has nothing to do with trying to flatter you.

Anonymous May 22, 2009, 12:05 PM

I really dont think he was feeling sorry for you or trying to flatter you. You probably look like you’re in your thirties. I’m sorry it made you feel ugly, old and fat (apparently he didnt think so!).

Stores can get their licenses revoked if a checker is caught not carding someone who looks under thirty. If they arent sure, they’ll card you anyways. Better to be safe than sorry.

Implying that he was stupid for doing so is pretty harsh, he’s just doing his job.

trip May 22, 2009, 12:11 PM

Maybe he was attracted to you, and wanted to quickly memorize your address so he could do a reverse look up on you, sit in front of your house waiting for you to be home alone, then he comes to your door with a sack of groceries and some salty nuts for your enjoyment.
what would you say to that?
regardless, it does sound silly, lol.
thanks for the story Ma’am. (Sorry, I’m just teasing you now).

jenni williams May 22, 2009, 12:13 PM

I am sure you look great for your age, but that guy was just trying to keep his bases covered.
My dh was working part time at a gas station to earn extra $. He went to work a little distracted one day (i had just found out I was pregnant) and didn’t id someone, (he swears she didn’t look underage) he got a HUGE ticket and lost the job. For the most part the guy behind the counter isn’t looking at the customer to check for age, he just wants to get his job done and go home. I am still a little confused about why it was embarrassing.

Jen May 22, 2009, 12:15 PM

Get over yourself and get a life. The guy was doing his job. Is this really such a big deal to take your ID out? Glad to see that some people still lack real problems.

Dawn May 22, 2009, 12:16 PM

Relax. Yes, you’re crazy. lol

It’s true that it’s the law that they have to check and if you were an undercover cop, the store would get in trouble for not checking and the poor kid could lose his job. Take it at “face” value. Don’t you have better things to worry about? Go home and enjoy that wine.

I’m sure none of the other customers thought anything of it.

Katie Sunstrom May 22, 2009, 12:16 PM

I think he was either flirting with you or really thought you were in your thirties. I don’t think you should be offended, but I can see where you are coming from. It has happened to me and is especially annoying when I have to take out my ID while juggling an unruly 3-year old. My 68-year old dad gets carded all the time by women. He’s one of those cute older men that the ladies love to flirt with. It always cracks him up and he always obliges by showing his ID so they can see how old he really is. He’s so vain!

What? May 22, 2009, 12:17 PM

Get a grip….no one would have noticed the whole transaction had you not made a scene.

Katie May 22, 2009, 12:18 PM

I think he was either flirting with you or really thought you were in your thirties. I don’t think you should be offended, but I can see where you are coming from. It has happened to me and is especially annoying when I have to take out my ID while juggling an unruly 3-year old. My 68-year old dad gets carded all the time by women. He’s one of those cute older men that the ladies love to flirt with. It always cracks him up and he always obliges by showing his ID so they can see how old he really is. He’s so vain!

Anonymous May 22, 2009, 12:25 PM

Radical Mommy should consider looking into anti-anxiety medication. Jokes aside, I feel terribly bad for this poor check out guy. Regardless of the store policy, he could get into serious legal trouble if he didn’t id everyone. And instead of considering it from that point of view, you had to make this all about you & your insecurities. Empathy goes a long way. Ecspecially for self centered, egotistacal people such as Radical Mommy.

Michelle May 22, 2009, 12:27 PM

This is the absolute height of narcissism. They are not carding you in order to make some sort of comment on you. Trust me, the dude at Trader Joe’s does not care. They card everyone — and they do this precisely so that the employee does not have any discretion in doing so. That allows them to *avoid* insulting and embarrassing people. It also helps ensure that no underage people ever slip through the cracks — if employees have to card every time, they are less likely to forget to do so when it really matters.

I suggest you examine the underlying insecurities that led you overreact so egregiously. I fail to understand how a checkout guy at TJ’s could have such an outsized impact on one’s self-image.

Samantha May 22, 2009, 12:35 PM

Chill out. How hard is it to take out your ID and show him, take 10 seconds. Get the hell over it.

Peeved Michelle May 22, 2009, 12:47 PM

I would have just assumed he has to ask everyone for ID. I don’t take it personally whether people ask or don’t ask. No big deal. To answer your last question, I do think you have a touch of the crazy, or at least more issues about your appearance than you think you have.

-Checker May 22, 2009, 12:48 PM

Well, at the very least you’ve provided the store employees with a hilarious story!

If they give you side-eye the next time you’re in there..know that no, you are not paranoid. They ARE laughing at you.

gthang May 22, 2009, 1:07 PM

Wow. You have some serious issues.

Mike May 22, 2009, 1:20 PM

I feel sorry for you. That you would get that upset at someone that is only doing there JOB. Alcohol licenses have very strict rules. Jobs are hard to some by theses days.

Have you not noticed the signs in just about every store. The one’s that say if you look under 35 or 40 prepare to be carded?

I think you owe him an apology for using foul language. Especially in the presence of other shoppers. Narcissism alert aisle 7!

Anonymous May 22, 2009, 1:21 PM

I feel sorry for you. That you would get that upset at someone that is only doing there JOB. Alcohol licenses have very strict rules. Jobs are hard to come by these days.

Have you not noticed the signs in just about every store. The one’s that say if you look under 35 or 40 prepare to be carded?

I think you owe them an apology for using such foul language. Especially in the presence of other shoppers. Narcissism alert aisle 7!

Natalie May 22, 2009, 1:23 PM

I once read somewhere that the employees are told to card anyone they think is under 30. That was for buying cigarettes, but it might be the same case for alcohol. So, he may have not thought you were under 21, put perhaps under 30? Does that help a little bit?


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