22.6.06

Denied.

I got off work late one night, and I went to the local Meijer 24-hour megastore for a few items, among them a 6-pack of beer. I only had a couple things, so I went to the U-Scan line. A bored looking guy around my age was standing behind the register, not really monitoring the lines. When I scanned the bar code on my beer, it prompted me to show my ID to the cashier. I walked over and handed it to him.

"Hold on a minute," he said, not even looking at me or my card as he took it and walked away.

When I saw him coming back a few minutes later, he was shaking his head and looking back and forth between my ID in one hand and a small magazine in the other. He set them both on the register and I saw the magazine was a little booklet showing the drivers licenses of different states. He shook his head.

"No," he said, "The numbers and everything match the ones in the book, but I don't believe it. It looks like somebody copied and pasted your picture onto there."

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

"Well, if I have any doubt...you can talk to the manager if you want to."

"Yeah, I want to."

He called somebody on the phone, and I waited a few more minutes. I had a feeling the manager was just going to agree with him, as I've had similar experiences before. If they had any doubt that the ID was real, they wouldn't sell the alcohol. At the age of 24, I still looked young enough that people who hated their jobs and wanted to take it out on customers could give me a hard time. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that I had an out of state license, due to my laziness after relocating.

After being denied alcohol a few times, I had figured out a few rules for picking cashiers if I was buying beer. Whenever possible, I chose a line where the person working the register wasn't white. I'd been denied by one black girl, one Indian guy, and probably 10 white people. Particularly troublesome were overweight white girls. I'd had at least three of them deny me alcohol. Angry looking cashiers were always to be avoided. Young guys were usually alright. I'd had a few tell me they me that they thought it was fake but didn't care. I assumed incorrectly that this young guy would be cool, too.

The manager who appeared was a very effeminate man who spoke with a high pitched lisp. He was the stereotypical flaming homosexual, and had the most ridiculously huge unibrow I can recall seeing.

"What's the problem?" he asked.

"Well, he wants to buy liquor, and his numbers on his license match up, but it looks like somebody superimposed his face on there."

"Mmm... I'm sorry, but if there's any question about the authenticity of the ID it's our policy not to make the sale because it's a liability," the manager told me. I was expecting this, but this time I was going to have my beer, dammit.

"This guy didn't even look at my ID when he took it. He stared at the book and couldn't find anything wrong with it, so he made up a ridiculous story."

"It looks like somebody cut his face out and pasted it there. You see this little shadow?" the young guy said, shoving the license in the manager's face.

"I have my work ID right here," I told them, pointing at the photo name tag hanging from my shirt, "You can see the name and the face match up on that, too."

"I'm sorry, we don't accept those, anyway," the manager said. "We're going to decline to sell you alcohol tonight."

"Let me talk to your manager, then."

The effeminate guy disappeared and I waited some more, fairly aggravated at this point. A few minutes later, a very angry looking woman in a black dress appeared. She looked me up and down like I was a criminal. The young guy explained the situation to her and she told me the same thing that the other manager had said, except with a lot of venom in her voice. They weren't treating me like a customer who didn't understand the policy, they were treating me like I just been caught stealing.

"Let me talk to the store manager, then."

"I am the store manager."

"Look," I said, "I shop here all the time. This is where I do all of my grocery shopping. This guy was never going to sell me alcohol in the first place, so he made up a completely crazy story to deny me. You're treating me like a criminal, and you're about the lose me permanently as a customer. I do a lot of business here."

The lady hesitated. I had said the magic words.

"You can buy it this time," she said, clearly pissed off, "but we can't guarantee that this will work in the future."

She left and I expected the guy to key in my birth date so I could finish my transaction. Instead, he got on the phone again and asked somebody else to come do the sale, because he wasn't going to. He still wanted to be a dick and make me wait some more just because he could.

1 comment:

ferox. said...

And I thought I liked Meijer!