Thursday, October 08, 2009

I Got Carded Yesterday

We buy cases of canning jars at Wal-Mart to sell our honey in.  We were there yesterday with a shopping cart full of quart boxes, and decided to get a 6-pack of beer for a special event on Friday.  While waiting in the checkout line, I read the notice they have posted, to the effect that the cashiers are instructed to card anybody who appears to be age 40 or below.  I told Laura, "They're covering their ass."

Imagine my surprise when the checker asked me for my ID!  I hammed it up, thanking him for carding me, saying it meant I looked 40, which is quite a compliment at my age, telling him I hadn't been carded for 40 years (an exaggeration, but close).  But after thinking about it afterwards, there are some sinister implications.

The checker told me his manager told him to card "everybody."  Also, the checker was told to look for expired driver's licenses.  WTF is Wal-Mart doing looking for expired driver's licenses?  What legal authority do they have to do this? 

As for carding "everybody," I think it's part of the ongoing trend to get everybody used to arbitrary absurdity.  "There's no reason for it, we just do it."  Like taking your shoes off in the airport security line.

Most sinister, it's the exercise of arbitrary authority from the powers on high.  For all they know, I'm actually under 21, wearing a clever disguise.  So to make sure, they will now card me (though obviously I will never buy beer at Wal-Mart again).  In an earlier, more commonsense era (last year, say), clerks were given the discretion not to card people who are obviously over 21 -- for example, 63-year-olds such as myself.  But society increasingly runs from abitrary directives from on high, and this is yet another example.