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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Even worse

When buying OTC cold remedies at Target here in the Vampire State they wanted to SCAN your drivers license with a barcode reader. When they refused to take no for an answer $150 worth of stuff got left at the check out.

There may be a law here that requires underage cashiers to check id automatically for ethanol purchases no matter how old the customer is.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Scan it, huh?

I have yet to experience that one. No doubt I soon will. I wonder if the State is keeping a record of all the purchases in some database somewhere? In the department of Pre-Crime.

Certainly Target is. Did you see this a while back?

How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did

Certainly the underage cashier doesn't know if the State is keeping records. They're just doing what they're told, making $8.00 / hr / ($1,200 per month, or $14K per year)

Isn't it also odd that these underage, under paid individuals, who wouldn't be able to buy the stuff both because they're too young and would have a hard time affording it, are on the front lines, enforcing the law?

He's the man.

Thank you for sharing

"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." "

I know this is serious, but I laughed too. I was reading along, yah, yah, whaaaaawhaaa! yah, yah, it is a shame. But at least it is a laugh on the way.

Really though, they are wanting to set check points on highways...just to check for drugs....TSA in the bus stations...prove your gray hair at the grocery...pick up and detain indefinitely...drone without trial...cheat Ron Paul out of the presidency...but at least we can still laugh...that is one thing that has not been taken.

Michael Nystrom's picture

We can still laugh - this is still true

In the parking lot of Whole Foods, my friend was quite animated, "Can't they see I'm an old fart?"

I said maybe they thought it was a disguise, like that kid who got on a flight in Hong Kong disguised as an old man. I was referencing this:


It showed up on the DP back then. Remember that? My friend didn't know anything about it.

Of course, I doubt anyone would go to such great lengths to buy wine.

He's the man.

Wow! That was W A Y before my time!

Michael, I only found Liberty and the Daily Paul this year. Thank you for providing me a place for education, contribution and a few laughs here and there. I have found many new friends.

Your picture with your voting ballot makes me smile too. That was during my time and I remember reading that post :)

Now do you have anything for a DP addiction?

Michael Nystrom's picture

Thank you

It always makes me feel better to hear comments like yours - that this place is valued by people. Sometimes there is so much complaining going on that I'm not sure, lol. I'm glad to know you enjoy your time here and you've found new friends.

But as to the subject of DP addiction - I know we talk about it in jest, but I do think it is a serious issue. The larger issue is Internet addiction, or connection addiction. We see it most especially in young people, who are always checking their facebook pages, twitter feeds, etc. But the DP serves that same function.

Personally, and this is kind of a far out theory, but I believe the machines are taking control. It is the next step of evolution, when we morph with the machines and our evolutionary strands get woven together.

You've seen the Google Glasses project?

Well one day they'll just dispense with the glasses and it'll just be "Google Brain"

Speaking of which:

Freaky dude!

We're in a transition phase now. From 100% human to a morphing with the machine. In that context, I'm not sure what the concept of Liberty will really mean.

He's the man.

You are Most Welcome!

So...when will you be issuing those DP glasses? LOL :) Then I suppose I could clean house while DPing.

"Personally, and this is kind of a far out theory, but I believe the machines are taking control. It is the next step of evolution, when we morph with the machines and our evolutionary strands get woven together."

Not far fetched at all...they were talking about it 2,000 years ago:

Revelation 13:17 KJV
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

I wonder if we even know yet what that means!

Have a good one!

Michael Nystrom's picture

Disturbing link

But as far as 'noticing it for years' - I'm specifically talking about senior citizens being carded. This has to be a new thing. I know there used to be places that had signs that said, "We card anyone under 30." So is this the new policy now, "We card everyone under 70."

Does Dr. Paul get carded when he goes in to buy a bottle of Cabernet?

He's the man.

I've been carded at the grocery store

when buying beer. Funny thing is, the cashier was under 18, so she had to call an older employee (21) over to card me and I'm 62. This started happening about a year ago, I think. Hasn't happened at the liquor store yet, but does happen at restaurants on occasion. It just seems absurd!

Carding older folks

is new to me also. Just 3 weeks ago I was working in Virginia and another cameraman who is gray haired and balding got carded for a beer when we all went out to dinner. I was somewhat surprised and had the "you ought to be flattered" thought in regards to it. I am still waking up every day from being mind controlled by 'rules' that change, it's hard to completely wake up to 'everything'.

I guess some of the tweaking to the Nazi style control mechanism is baby stepping people into control. The 'we card under 30' seems to have acclimated us further into handing over our papers without resistance.

Good topic.

Does Dr. Paul get carded when he goes in to buy a bottle

of Cabernet?

He does when goes to board a private jet after the RNC in Tampa...

Remember this? http://www.dailypaul.com/251930/ron-left-tampa-yesterday#com

I hear his son gets "carded" at airports too...

You don't have to show ID...

in order to vote!!! Isn't that sick?!?
Michael, I've been through this at various stores too. The explanation I've gotten from store managers is this: Government Intervension.
If they sell booze or beer to an under-aged person, the FEDERAL fine is enormous. If they sell smokes to a kid, the FEDERAL fine is enormous. This is the loss of our 10th Ammendment with the creation of the ATF...wasn't this one of the alphabet organizations Ron wanted to kill?

Silence isn't always golden....sometimes it's yellow.

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry

well, lets see

1. Even in a state where u have no gun control laws other than the federal ones, u need to fill out a questionnaire that gets sent to the ATF asking you all kinds of personal questions (i.e. what prescription drugs r u taking) before u buy a gun.

2. I was recently informed by a policeman that I am legally required under state law to carry a government-issued photo ID at all times and present it whenever I am ordered to do so by law enforcement. Still trying to find the legal source for this little gem of tyranny...

3. We're now going to have to show GOVERNMENT ISSUED photo ID in order to vote.

4. Your prescription medication info is recorded with the DEA so they can prevent "abuse".

5. In the modern surveillance state, (thanks to the FISA Amendment Act and the the Patriot Act Amendment) all of your e-mails, phone calls, texts, google-searches, etc are now "stored" (not "collected" or "gathered") at a super-hard drive in Bluffdale, Ut. But they dont even need a warrant to look through that stuff.

6. Under the multitude of Homeland Security bills, all this "stored" info is shared between agencies.

7. 30,000 FAA drone flight applications from federal agencies...

Just a short summary....2012 is 1984.

Re: 2

I think the Hiibel case is the one which allows law enforcement to demand verbal identification. I know of no law which states that a man or woman walking in public must present photo ID when requested. I think the police officer was embellishing the truth a bit.


Michael Nystrom's picture

Thanks for the insight.

You don't have to show ID to buy weed either. Isn't that funny, too.

He's the man.