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.

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With all due respect...

...Mr. Nystrom, you are not the first one to raise this suspicion. This article makes a very similar point: http://newagora.me/2011/12/29/in-our-future-background-check... so I fear that your fears are very well-based. Thank you for reminding us of this however.

I'm Free like a Willy! Happy Day! Oops thats a bit of a cliche!


Where i am, They tell yah look under 30 get carded and well they dont really card the old folks, but i think this is due to having them ALREADY carded you in the past. I no when I got carded the first time they never card me ever since. maybe this will change in the coming.

His name is Edward Snowden

What is Capitalism?

At Lowes the other day,

At Lowes the other day, cameras and video screens at the each of the self checkout stations. Staring you down while you scan in your stuff.

All never be using one of those again.

Yes, and this is strange

A couple of weeks ago I went to Wal-Mart to have a new battery installed in my car. Outside the garage area the service man had a handheld computer. He checked my drivers licence, confirmed my address and asked my phone number. I gave it and he ask me if I was (unknown name)while reading the computer. I said no. You just saw my name on my license. Then he used a scanner to scan my VIN number on my car, walked to the rear and entered my tag number. He then measured the tread on my tires and entered that info in. I wondered if they were checking for stolen vehicles or something. I asked him why he was getting all the info and I was told it is now Wal-Mart policy. I wonder if all of this info is going to some government data base somewhere. All this for a new battery?

this is sop

When you get your oil changed they check tire pressure plus 30 more things to upsell. Prolly not checking stolen vehicles but making a sales file.

But that info is not necassary. I wouldve told him to fuck off at cheout amd said the car needing battery wasnt there (cause the battery dont work). But i am also an a-hole that hates people and i am frequently rude

I only shopped at Wally World once

And that was to return a battery I didn't buy from them and told them it didn't last the lifetime on the sticker. They issued me a new battery for free. I don't know if they still do that but they did about 3 or 4 years ago. So I guess I never actually shopped there, just got a free battery. No receipt or ID needed. Told them I lost it. I just took it to the return area. It was my friends car and he didn't know where the battery came from. I was just hoping for a cheaper battery but I got one for free and scored one against Wally World. I NEVER shop at that (well insert a curse word) hole.

They are evil. They don't pay employees jack. Not even enough to buy their cheap china junk. My mom shops there and I tell her never to buy anything for me there. There is a two reasons their price is low. 1st is they are huge. Can't hold that against them. 2nd is because they pay poor wages. That's probably how they became huge.

Small businesses are shrinking. We don't have the same purchasing power as in the past. But I make due with less, buy stuff second hand and the worst thing I do is buy groceries from Lucky's. We don't have any local mom and pop shops other than an indian grocer who I do purchase basic things from. But to be honest I don't think they keep their money domestic.

If the owner of WalMart/Sam's Club was such a saint he would pay enough money to buy their products made in the US much like Henry Ford paid his employees enough to buy his cars. I have an inherited 1929 Model A that runs perfect and cost $63 in 1964.

Get Around the Carding

I don't drink, but I play video games. A new "Barcade" opened near me, at 5pm they open their bar which means they ask everyone there playing video games for their ID or ask them to leave.
Of course I don't have an ID, because it's against my beliefs. I simply tell them I'm over 21. At this point they can ask me to sign a paper stating that I am over 21 and if anyone from their liquor license place bothers them about it then I am held responsible for any fines, not them.

There's a few other ways out like if your spouse is over 21 then it's perfectly fine. A parent can even bring their kid into the bar and buy them a drink, if the parent is ok with it then it's perfectly acceptable to the liquor license biz.

There should be absolutely nothing illegal about buying/selling liquor, these kinds of rules are in place by liquor boards, and I'm unsure if it's a state business or a national organization, but the Constitution trumps anything they can throw at the people. Just remember that.

it is state budiness

Although the feds extort the states with things like highway funds (which they stole in the cirst place). I assure you the parent permission shit doesnt fly everywhere. Especially in the bible belt

I don't recall life before being carded

The deck was stacked before I was born. I was born into a world where my cards were being drawn up before I was born. How many cards do you have in your wallet? I figure it beats a chip implant.

Slowly bringing the frog to a boil

Yeah, I think this is just part of a long process, though not necessarily part of a contrived larger blueprint on the part of most of the participants. I got carded for buying Nyquil here in WA state a while back. I don't think they copied down my info, but I think they actually do that as well in some places.

Papers Please?!!!

Its law as of this summer in Anchorage, Alaska...


“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” ― Henry Ford.

If they card for spray paint because of graffiti incidents...

It prolly won't be long before they put toilet paper on the list.

My first vote was for Eisenhower

How old am I? I was asked for identification at Target where I bought some Sangria. I thought it was silly but decided that they were covering themselves by having everyone carded and not leaving it up to cashiers to decide

We are in another war for our Independence.

Zero Tolerance

Zero-tolerance and one-size-fits all policies like the ones were talking about are just Zero-Thought Policies, where management directs and the lower level enforces, without regard to common sense. This flies in the face of any sense of liberty and individualism, so naturally we'd see a bunch of folks bristling about it on Daily Paul.

Its interesting that central decision-making yields the same results as central corporate planning or central economic planning; specifically senseless and inferior results.

Maybe rather than call them stupid, the better approach would be to ask them, "Are you really going to let someone else think for you?" It might wake up their inner rebel.

Author of Shades of Thomas Paine, a common sense blog with a Libertarian slant.


Also author of Stick it to the Man!


I got carded for NyQuil

Once and didn't have an ID. I too am balding. The cashier said she couldn't sell it to me; a cold medicine like nyquil with whatever makes you sleepy and whatever stops a cough.

I asked to talk to the manager and he said they have to card for anything related to cough and cold due to druggies making dope. So I look at the bottle and tell him there is nothing in here that could be a precursor (eg sudafed which does.)

I said any idiot who's been trained to restrict pseudo-fed (hah, what a funny name) knows that the product I was buying not did not contain that medicine, and even if it did, it's a liquid with suspended medicine and all kinds of other stuff in it and preservatives and stuff. I said on top of that I can't take it because it makes me feel really bad. I've never been able to take it.

He said he couldn't be of any help, company policy, whatever. I was visibly sick. So I told him that he should educate himself on company policy and I would be taking my business elsewhere after I buy this soup and cough drops.

Once I got home I looked in my bag and the cashier either knowingly or unknowingly put the medicine in my bag and didn't ring it up.


Common products

can be used to manufacture other things. Like Meth - cold medicine, lithium batteries, and ether(starting fluid or carbcleaner)
Bombs - fertilizer
etc, etc ....
You are carded when you buy these not because of your age, but because the government is "keeping you safe" by tracking the people that purchase these items and looking for repeat purchases from the same person. The government is just like your mommy and you are never too old to listen to your mommy.

i'm 43, when clerks ask me for an ID I simply tell them

no thanks. If they tell me it's store policy I tell them I have 4th amendment rights that trump their store's policy. Then I'll ask them to use common sense and look at my graying hair at which point I'll ask them if they really think I dyed my hair gray to buy a six pack. If they still refuse to sell to me I tell them they've lost a customer for life and simply go to the next store.

I'm a cashier at Wegmans

I'm a cashier at Wegmans, a supermarket chain in the Northeast, and we're told that we need to ID everyone, even if they look wayyy over 21. If they don't have their liscense, we can usually sell it but I need manager approval. It is store policy but it's more because of laws and liability if we sell it to someone who's underage (esp if they get in an accident). Don't blame the cashier, honestly I think its ridiculous every time i do it, but we can get in trouble and potentially lose our job if we don't do it.

i know its not your fault

But its still aggravating and gets directed at you. I mean i have an addiction. And if i dont get a beer and cigs im liable (pun intended) to lose my shit.

I've been carded for Sharpies and Sudafed.

You can get high with a Sharpie and make meth with the Sudafed.


Why have i been overpaying for cocaine since the 80's. Thank you for this important news and why didnt i learn this in 4th grade DARE class?

About a year or so,

I went to my old man's house to help him with his first cutting for his yard. He went to start up his riding mower and it just wouldn't start, it had been sitting all winter. It turns out it had a gummed up carburetor.

So I drive to the hardware store to pick up some carb and choke cleaner. I find the product I need and proceeded to the check-out. Upon checkout, the girl behind the counter asked for my ID. I was flabbergasted at the notion, but I needed it, and I went to pull it out when I realized I didn't have it with me.

She new I was over 18, but needed "verification." So I had to drive all the way back to my old man's house, pick up my wallet, and drive all the way back to the hardware-store. It was ridiculous.

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

This can be used

To manufacture shake and bake meth in a soda bottle. That's why they want your ID - it has nothing to do with your age. They are tracking large purchases of some products.

I had no idea

one can produce that with carb cleaner. As for the rest of your statement, a small minority of people (the ones who produce the meth with carb cleaner) screw it up for everyone else. That is a perfect example of democracy.lol

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” – Dresden James

Carb Cleaner

contains ether. So does starting fluid which is what you need to make a little batch of crystal meth via the shake and bake method- cold medicine, ether and lithium batteries . walaa! You can make this in a soda bottle. No lab required. Trust me just about every kid in your town knows how.

i think we can all agree

We do not need the govt protecting us from ourselves when producing and smoking (inhaling? Shooting?...idk) meth

Just let those stoned fuckers blow themselves up. Most of them didnt make it through 9th grade chem.

Unless we accept as a country that it is govts obligation to fix their fucked up teeth.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Did someone say 'shake and bake?'


To be mean is never excusable, but there is some merit in knowing that one is; the most irreparable of vices is to do evil out of stupidity. - C.B.

Shake & Bake

And We helped !!!



Why continue without a conversation with the management or...

owner. I have been in similar situations mentioned with this blog. It would take at least two 21 year olds to replace me. ;)
Regardless. In every situation pertaining to retail that I have been in " requiring " I.D., etc. I have not complied with the request. No matter if it is store policy or not. The majority of times I have not had any negative response and the store gladly allowed my purchase.
There have been a couple of cases where it was " required " for one reason or another I then would ask for management and or the owner explaining why I was not willing to give my I.D. information. I will add that within this conversation I calmly let the individual know that they would be at risk of losing my business if I (not being a threat in any way)would be required to show I.D. when it is obvious of my age, etc..
I've only been denied once out of numerous times. That particular store no longer has me as a customer. By the way it is a large chain store. Most of the time I do my business with locally owned and or independent businesses.
An individuals tactfulness and respect towards the management and or owner plays a large part in the outcome.
Large chains are mostly part of the corporate system. Attitudes,etc. effect the outcome.

Continue towards freedom one at a time.

Don't stand for it.

I'm sixty-nine years old, but look fifty :-), I was recently asked for my birth date at the checkout. I looked at the cashier and said YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!! She said no. I walked out leaving the beer at the checkout, went next door to a party store and got my beer without the statist harassment I got at the chain store.

Perhaps other senior citizens objected to it too, as they haven't asked me for a birth date at the chain since then.

My friends tell me of their buying beer for their fathers when they were ten years old in Europe. Who says the Puritans aren't still influential in American politics?

It only takes one to KEEP AMERICANS FREE. Know your duties & rights as a juror. Stop the unconstitutional conviction of innocents in federal custody. The Fully Informed Jury CALL 1-800-TEL-JURY www.fija.org IMMEDIATELY if not sooner. It's that important.