52 votes

Update: "Papers please." Has anyone else noticed or experienced this?

On Thursday, a friend of mine came down to visit from Vermont. At the end of the trip, he said he wanted to stop at Whole Foods to pick up some cheap wine. In Vermont, he says, there is no such thing as cheap wine. Whole Foods on River Street in Cambridge is now competing with the Trader Joe's next door, both offering a house brand of California wine for $2.99 a bottle. It is decent wine, and he ends up putting a couple of cases in his basket. Then he gets to the checkout.

Now mind you, my friend is 66 years old, and no offense to anyone, but he looks it (and he knows it). His description of himself is that he's "balding with grey hair and jowls," which is an accurate description. But still the kid at the checkout stand carded him for the alcohol purchase. And not only that, because my friend had a Vermont license, the checker needed to call a supervisor for approval!

My friend thinks this is crazy. Of course I do too, but I thought it was just isolated to Whole Foods, which is uptight like that.

But so last night I was at a bar down the hill from my place in Union Square and the bouncer dude out front cards me. He says that even though he could tell I was over 21, he had to card me by law, or he could get in trouble. Its a profiling thing. So I tell him the story about what happened to my friend at Whole Foods, and this bouncer dude, who is also an older guy too - I'd put him at over sixty also - says the same thing happened to him buying smokes at Market Basket, the cheapest grocery store in Somerville.

But in his case, he didn't have his ID on him. At that particular store, there is a little office behind plexiglass where they sell cigarettes and lottery tickets. Only the bouncer dude didn't have his ID with him. And he's fumbling around in his pockets looking for it, and the line is growing behind him with people waiting, and he said he just snapped. He tells the kid to come up close and says, "Look at me kid. Do you think I'm not 21? If you don't hand over those cigarettes right now I'm going to reach in their and grab you and pull you through this little hole."

Now, the bouncer dude was laughing when he said this. But he also said he felt like a jerk for losing it like that. But he was livid at the ridiculousness of the situation, and flustered with all the people piling up behind him. And the way he's telling the story has me cracking up. But I look at him, and he is a big, imposing guy. You wouldn't want this guy mad at you.

So I ask him, what did the kid do?

"He gave me the cigarettes," he says and we both start laughing.

(The bouncer also said that every time he goes into the store and sees that kid now he apologizes profusely to him).

But afterwards, I got to thinking about this.

What's going on? I'm used to getting carded where ever I go to buy alcohol, but I always took that as a compliment - an affirmation of my vibrant, youthful features. But who am I kidding?

Is this just how it goes in the waning days of the empire? What does it mean? Will they soon be checking ID for other things too, and this is just the long, slow acclimation process? (Oh right Sudafed now requires ID to buy. Spray paint, too, in some places where "graffiti" is a problem. Anything else?) Has something similar happened to you?

- - - - - - -

Update: I just came back from a little trip to the wine store down in the Square - not the one that is closer, where I usually go - the one owned by the Indian entrepreneurs. This time I walked across the square - popped into a few bars just to check the scene for a few minutes, then move on. A leisurely Saturday night walk.

I picked up a little four pack of Allagash White, brewed up in Portland Maine. I've been enjoying the Belgian White beers of late. But a four pack will set you back $10, so I've been modest in my enjoyment.

The cashier was an elderly woman, well into her 70's I'd say. She was caucasian, but foreign - I wasn't sure where from. The accent was not a familiar one to me.* I asked her if she was going to card me, and she said, "I have to." I asked, "is it the law?" She kind of scoffed like it was a nonsensical question. "Is it a law? They come after you for money. I had a kid come in, buy some alcohol and then the police come in saying I didn't card him. It happened to me," she said. "Many times."

"They want money," was her objective observation.

Shake down. Pure and simple.

1) Create a completely un-followable law, if for no other reason that it makes you feel like an idiot for enforcing it. "Hey granny, you're older than me, but can I see your ID?"

2) Fine people and collect when they inevitably break the law.

3) Repeat

4) Expand

* It turns out she's Portugese. There were many Portugese in this area at one time, and I imagine that she started the place with her husband a long time ago. But this neighborhood is in transition. A lot of the new, second wave immigrants are replacing the old Brazilians & Portugese. Now we have Indians and Chinese, and a lot of "Latinos." I don't know exactly what that means, but there are lots of people here from other central + south American countries that are not Mexico.

It really is like two separate workforces. Walk into any restaurant and you'll find the kitchen staff is composed nearly entirely of, as one friend calls them, "Amigos."

But I digress.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


I was trying to buy a lighter to light some candles for my little brother's birthday cake. They refused to sell me one if I didn't have my ID.

In the late 60s or early 70s

there was a Supreme Court ruling saying it was not legal to ask for ID when no crime was seen or suspected. This case involved a black man walking along a street in Beverly Hills who was accosted and asked to provide an ID. He refused and it went all the way to the SC. I have tried to locate this ruling but to no avail. Does anyone know how to search their rulings?

Not the case you are

Not the case you are referring to, but relevant: Brown v. Texas, 443 U. S. 47, 52 (1979)

In this case, Brown was stopped by police in an alley as he was walking away from another person. Police stopped him and demanded he identify himself, which he refused. He was then arrested and charged with violating a state law that required he give his name and address when that information is demanded by a cop. He lost the initial case in court but won on appeal. Here is the opinion from that case:

In the absence of any basis for suspecting appellant of misconduct, the balance between the public interest and appellant's right to personal security and privacy tilts in favor of freedom from police interference. The Texas statute under which appellant was stopped and required to identify himself is designed to advance a weighty social objective in large metropolitan centers: prevention of crime. But even assuming that purpose is served to some degree by stopping and demanding identification from an individual without any specific basis for believing he is involved in criminal activity, the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment do not allow it. When such a stop is not based on objective criteria, the risk of arbitrary and abusive police practices exceeds tolerable limits.

The application of Tex.Penal Code Ann., Tit. 8, § 38.02 (1974), to detain appellant and require him to identify himself violated the Fourth Amendment because the officers lacked any reasonable suspicion to believe appellant was engaged or had engaged in criminal conduct. Accordingly, appellant may not be punished for refusing to identify himself, and the conviction is


So basically, laws which demand you identify yourself to the cops are in violation of the Fourth Amendment if the cop doesn't have reasonable suspicion. Suspicion has to be based in fact, not on feelings. Seeing you with a crowbar in hand near a broken window is suspicion based on facts. If a cop says you look suspicious, demand they give you the facts that lead them to that suspicion. If he can't point out any particular causes for that suspicion, he's got nothing.


Video Games

I've noticed a lot of stores (Target is the first that comes to mind) requiring IDs for video games that have a "Mature" rating. Mind you, I am over 50 with gray hair, but the cashiers tell me the computer systems require them to swipe my ID to allow the sale.

Had something like that

Had something like that happen to me, I told her she can swipe her ID or call the manager over and have them swipe their ID but I'm not swiping mine.

The most common thing that happens to me is at Fry's Electronics when they ask to see my receipt as I leave. I tell them "no thanks" and so far they haven't pressed the issue. I don't have to prove ownership of the items. If you think about it, the shopping bags are given at the register at time of purchase, so absent of unusual circumstances, the prevailing logic is that I have just made a purchase of those items. I should not be held in suspicion at that point for simply refusing to prove to some stranger that the items in my possession are, in fact, mine.


At Giant Eagle (western PA) EVERY ID gets scanned

For alcohol purchases. I saw a 60 something year old man become very confused when they were making him show his ID to purchase a 6 pack. As much as I don't like showing my ID, I dislike the idea of being scanned even more.

But let me play devil's advocate for a minute here:

Isn't it the grocery store's right to discriminate who they sell to? Is it ok for them to want to scan people's IDs to prevent fraudulent purchases, or in case that alcohol is later given to minors it could be traced back to the purchaser? Or is this stuff just bad when it comes as a result of a federal/state mandate?

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito

You are absolutely correct.

And the correct response is no thank you, placing the bottle on the counter: "I'll patronize another more friendly store."

Sad part is,

99% of people don't even question that stuff. They'd get their retina scanned to buy a pack of gum. In order for the free market to work in our favor, people need to use their brains just a bit more. Just look at the airport, a huge herd of people stand there and let TSA "agents" literally molest children, all because they have a shirt and a badge. If those same people saw that same guy do the same thing out in the parking lot and he wasn't wearing his little costume, they'd probably tear him apart.

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito

The mandate makes it bad

The mandate makes it bad because it leaves the consumer with no right to privacy. Absent of a mandate, an individual store might still choose to ID all alcohol purchases. It would be their right to do so. However, without a mandate, a concerned person could simply go to another store where such practices are avoided. Under such a free market, the store that chooses to ID would thrive or fail based upon the willingness of the consumer to participate.


Thanks for the reply

And I tend to agree with everything you said. But here's another one: does a private business have the right to forbid you from bearing arms? Can it forbid certain kinds of speech? What is the purpose of the constitution if it starts and stops at the entrance of Walmart? Just something I've been thinking about.

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito

The Constitution is a

The Constitution is a document that limits the power of the government.

If a business wants to forbid you from certain types of speech, how would such action be stopped? Would you suppose that a law ought to be in place to restrict that business' freedom to do so?

If you think about it, the Constitution is a very libertarian document. You can interpret all of it's limitations that it imposes on our government as a "first do no harm" order. If you impose these same restrictions on an individual or business, you impose on their rights.


A private business has the

A private business has the right to disarm you before you enter their premises. You can always choose not to patronize them.

Multiple Forms of ID

I tried to get a TX license last month. I took my license from Tennessee, my new TX insurance cards, my TX registration paperwork, military ID w/ SS# and DOB on it, a local credit union banking statement, and my VA rating paperwork still in the mailing envelope. She said that it was not sufficient to establish proof of residency and American citizenship. They would need an original birth certificate, SS card, a utility bill and another form of picture ID. Wtf?

"The rich man writes the book of laws the poor man must defend, but the highest laws are written on the hearts of honest men."

Happened to me last week...

Went to refill a CO2 container (make my own soda at home) ... the young lady at the register asked me for my birth date in order to complete our transaction... keep in mind I'm now holding MY CO2 container w/ the gas they've filled it with. I had half a mind to just walk out and throw my 4 FRNs on the counter... you're not gonna keep me from taking MY container home and if you want your FRNs for the gas, take 'em.

But, instead of being a d*ck (I was wearing a Ron Paul shirt, as usual), I asked her why. She said "the computer makes us enter it" and "cause of story policy". I said "I'm over 30... do I really look like a minor?", but she responded "I have to enter a date"... so I said "fine. lets make it January 1st, 1980" while kinda half laughing and rolling my eyes.

I mean seriously, what the hell is with all this. I've been to stores that demand zip codes or personal info or phone numbers and I just blatantly lie. I say things like "Okay, fine, my phone number is 555-1234". ... What's the point? You know I'm giving you fake information, so why are we doing this stupid dance? Why should I need to carry a DRIVER'S LICENSE (which btw is total bullsh*t in and of itself) if I'm not in the act of DRIVING? Hell I got carded a month ago for an R rated movie!!! To prove I'm 18??? Are you kidding me? What if I just didn't have my driver's license with me that day cause I came w/ a friend who drove instead of me? Now as a grown man I wouldn't be able to watch an R rated movie? Sh*t is getting out of control.

Ridiculous. ... /end rant

It should be standard

It should be standard operating procedure to never give out accurate information when it is demanded of you, except in a situation where you may suffer legally. In that situation, provide no information or accurate information.

You associate the drivers

You associate the drivers license with the act of driving. You state that if you are not driving at the time, why would you even need a driver's license. I have a question for you: Why do you need a driver's license to drive? Where does the state derive the power to say whether you can drive or not? That is your right. They don't have the power to restrict your right to travel because all rights belong to the individual. I yearn for the day when the norm is to assert one's right to travel regardless of their "license". I have a license as well. I treat it as my coward's badge. It is their symbol of control over me. I have it because they will punish me otherwise. However, I'm getting bolder each day. I'm pushing back, little by little. Their recourse is to either fine me or put me in jail. Since those options scare me, it is effective recourse. However, if I have no money and no objection to a few nights in jail, they've lost that power over me. I'm working on shifting that power.


Nicely said, Duane Vick.

Nicely said, Duane Vick.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

Same problems here.

I am 28 years old, and live in Lubbock, Texas. My drivers license expired about 6 months ago. Almost immediately, I was unable to buy alcohol or smokes, because my "DL is expired." It is infuriating. I have an ID with my picture on it, but it is "expired", as if I am suddenly magically not the age the document says.
Recently, I attempted to renew my DL online, and was given a message that I must renew it in person (no reason given). The DL office here is FAMOUS for the horrific wait times (hours), and they are only open when I am working or in class (sometimes I may have an hour or so, but nowhere close to enough time). People literaly have spent "the afternoon" in there.
Twice I have decided to bite the bullet and take some extra time to go to the DMV, and both times I felt like I was in a soviet boot factory. Probably close to 50 people (no exageration) waiting in a small room, and the stench was horrible. People were standing like crowds on a bus, smashed in like livestock spilling into the entry hall of the building so that you couldn't even enter the room. I left without getting a new DL twice now, and I have since made the decision not renew my license and deal with the consequences. I now drive to a store halfway across town for smokes, where the people already know me and don't card me, and on the few occasions I go out to drink with people, it is simply a crapshoot on whether they notice my DL is expired or not.

I make a point of buying smokes or alcohol

at places where I have devoloped a relationship with the people. Most of the time I can go in and get a six pack or a pack of smokes if I don't have the money...as long as I go by the next day and pay up.

I quit habitually drinking 3 years ago and only occasionally buy beer or go out to clubs. If anyone gives me a hard time now, I won't do business with them. (I'm 49 with a full grey beard)

Banks are where I really get bent. They film me while I'm at the window with the teller, they see me every week and they all know me, they have my liscense scanned into their computer, they have my thumb print on file, but if I don't have my DL with me...they refuse to cash any check. They say they must have it to input the DL number or they can't get past a certain screen...but can they not look up my DL? If I can verbally give them my DL would they input it and move on? No, they can't do that either because it's against the rules.

My wife still is unable to get her DL renewed. They are forcing the "Real ID" on her so I'm glad she can't get it but they will NOT give her a new DL without a new flavor of our marriage liscense.

We sent off $40 to Ga to get that and they accepted our money but said they could now release the new marriage certificate without a valid DL. Well now, isn't that special? Can't get a DL without a new marriage liscense and yet we can't get a new marriage liscense without a vaild DL???

Just by chance my DL is good until 2017 and it's not a Real ID. Real ID did not go into effect in FL until 2008 and I got "motorcycle also" added to mine in 2007 which renewed it and made it good for another 10 years.

Most of the people that own quick marts/liquor stores/cigar shops in this area are from india or columbia. Most are very cool and once they know you they don't bother you. (if your exceptionally "cool" like me) :) lol.

I was ID'ed for gasoline stabilzer

Stabilizer added to a can or tank of gasoline to store it over the winter. Cashier told me it was restricted item. When I asked why, she said she didn't know, but maybe I could drink it or sniff it. Pretty sure that won't get you high, just dead.

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.

-C. S. Lewis

I hate it when a medical

I hate it when a medical facility wants to scan my driver's license into the system. So far I've been able to say, no, but you can look at my drivers license if you want. The place I went to for x-rays said the federal govt required this now. I said, if that's the case then I especially don't want you scan my license. Everyone looked at me as if I was from Mars. LOL. Then I told them to cancel my appointment and I left. I don't know how much longer I will get by with this.

Health care technology may have improved since 1996, but my interaction with the medical establishment has deteriorated dramatically since then. For instance, now I have to deal with some clerk putting my info into the computer in the exam room before the real doctor pokes her head in the room. Some day I'm going to post something on Daily Paul asking the healthcare professional, both young and old, what the heck is going on here?

The black market for medical

The black market for medical equipment and treatment will only grow as requirements like this grow.

I always say

"My wallet was stolen/lost. I have no identification but I know you have all of my information in the computer. I can verify those items. I can also verify all of the information for my child if that would make you feel better. Otherwise I will have to drive home to get a passport (say name of person asking) and by the time I get back you will be closed and I will not get the medical treatment I need and may die as a result."

I go to a huge HMO and they don't bother asking any more. Their policy is ID and medical ID. Maybe because they know me. I remember when I was a lot younger I had my wisdom teeth taken out (chipped out, they grew downward) and I had my mom try to pick up my meds since I was just out of surgery, lit off my ass from the anesthesia, bleeding all over the place and kept repeating myself and not knowing I was. They wouldn't give my meds to her. By this time I felt like there was a chainsaw taken to my head and was ridiculously angry.

So I stood in line stumbling like a drunkard and leaking blood all over the place and in severe pain. It was awesome. All my blood was leaking out on the carpet. When the blood filled my mouth I let it leak out or spit it out. I let a bunch leak out all over my cheeks so I looked like a zombie.

I said give me my gosh darned pills!!! They handed them over really fast and I popped the bottle right there and swallowed a handful of crummy vicodin while cursing about being in horrific pain. It was actually funny until since I had fasted for a day I immediately drank about a gallon of orange juice that night, then barfed it out due to the acidity, tearing all the stitches. Vicodin sucks though. It didn't help at all. In fact I think I'm immune and haven't taken any liver killing painkillers for over a decade. I'm allergic to morphine so that's why I wasn't given any during the surgery. But the anesthesiologist sure was happy when I came to with his eyes pinned!

Sometimes (actually most of the time) I wish I could have lived during the nuclear family age. Seriously. I remember as a kid going to the bank and they didn't ask for ID, they knew you by name. Same with going to the doctor. There has to be places like that around still?

More information

Apparently, there is a Federal "Red Flag Rule" put in place by the FTC governing identity theft. It requires entities that deal with credit and credit reports to have a plan in place to detect "Red Flags", possible attempts at identity theft. Some interpret that to include medical services that do billing. While the rules don't seem to specifically require photo ID (I could be wrong, I'm a programmer, not a lawyer), most businesses adopt a requirement for photo ID as part of their plan (which is required). Again, as a non-lawyer, I am not entirely sure of all of the ramifications of the rules, but the hook is "identity theft" and it is a credit/billing issue rather than a medical issue.

Same thing happened to me.

They looked at me like I was crazy, too.

now I have to deal with some

...now I have to deal with some clerk putting my info into the computer in the exam room before the real doctor pokes her head in the room.

That conduct is for two purposes:
1) To ensure you come to see the doctor precisely for what you came in for and leave only having that thing attended to, the reduction of the individual, making him less than human, making him a number.
2) Track the doctor to penalize him or her if goes outside those bounds.

Remember: world is centralizing (a sham of a condition), therefore less time, more cost, so tight control. Sham after sham.

Avoid the sheep. They're lost souls on path to their fate, my friend. You're doing well. Keep up the good work.

School's fine. Just don't let it get in the way of thinking. -Me

Study nature, not books. -Walton Forest Dutton, MD, in his 1916 book whose subject is origin (therefore what all healing methods involve and count on), simple and powerful.

I'm in healthcare.

It's all for billing purposes. If you're not paying your bill they have more info to skip trace you and collect the debt.

Also, it's designed to cut down on insurance fraud i.e. using/stealing someone else's insurance coverage.

I'm no fan of showing ID to anyone, but in this case it is due to private business practices, not the federales tracking our CT scans.

We can only be kept in the cages we do not see. - Stefan Molyneux

You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing. - Alan Watts

Don't know why someone voted you down

for telling the truth. I've done some software work with billing systems in the past. You are correct in your assessment, although there are ways that the government can access the information, the primary reason is for billing.

I asked the imaging

I asked the imaging business's clerk checking me in, who was requiring them to ask to have my drivers license scanned. The woman replied the federal government was who was requiring it. If what you say is true, then she lied to me.

The other day I went to an ophthalmologist. I was referred by another doctor. The clerk asked for my driver's license so she could scan it. I said no, she couldn't scan it, but she could look at it. She said no it wasn't necessary to see it. The other people at the desk checking in all handed over their driver's licenses to be scanned.

And since you've added your expertise, what's with nurse practitioners assuming I'm a drug addict all of a sudden? My doctor's office is filled with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who come and go regularly. Bad vibes all around in there.

And don't get me started on Bill Clinton's HIPAA. That's when I noticed this down hill slope.

Perhaps she did lie. I am

Perhaps she did lie. I am aware of no law, federal or otherwise, requiring to scan Driver's licenses. If there is one, it was probably put in place by insurance companies to cut down on fraud via paid claims on stolen identities.

Good for you RE: saying no.

I have no idea why NPs think you are a drug addict. I'm sorry. I'd be happy to offer more information and help you achieve your healthcare goal, but I would need more info from you. Just a friendly offer...

HIPAA, another idea that is sorta good, but screws most everything up practically for people in healthcare.

We can only be kept in the cages we do not see. - Stefan Molyneux

You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing. - Alan Watts