“I was at Wal*Mart recently with a few friends, and before we left one of my friends wanted to pick up some cigarettes. We went to the one lane where you could make such a purchase and the lady asked to see ALL of our IDs.
Annoying and pointless, sure, but I didnâ€™t mind showing her my ID. She claimed she was just following the rules, so it was no big deal.
My friends handed over their drivers licenses, and I hand over my concealed weapons permit. She looked at it for a moment and handed it back saying â€œIâ€™m sorry this isnâ€™t valid ID.â€
Oh really? So a license to drive is valid, but a license to carry a weapon is not valid? Both are government issued, and neither are required to have by law.
The lady at the checkout said she could not sell my friend cigarettes unless I could produce a â€œvalid IDâ€ according to her definition, which seemed to only include driverâ€™s licenses. I told her I donâ€™t drive and didnâ€™t have a drivers license. This is a lie, of course, but she was being a pain and I wasnâ€™t willing to give in.
She then disappeared from the register and went to the customer service counter to â€œdouble check.â€
During the few minutes that we waited, I reflected on the requirements of obtaining either form of ID.
A driverâ€™s license requires you to pass a driving test, and produce a birth certificate (which may or may not actually be yours). There is actually very little verification that takes place – they donâ€™t compare your fingerprints to your birth certificate – they just trust that if it is in your possession it must be you.
I know this because I had several friends in high school who would obtain real IDs from the DMV using their older siblingsâ€™ birth certificates. The real IDs, of course, contained fake information – but they were valid government issued IDs.
A concealed weapons permit, on the other hand, requires several classes, proficiency tests, en extensive FBI background check, and numerous forms of ID. While it is still not impossible to obtain one, it is certainly not as easy as a driverâ€™s license.
The lady finally returned from customer service. She told us she had given all of our IDs to the police officer on duty and that they were being held in a â€œprivate roomâ€ while they called the police station to check us out.
We asked if we could just leave and forget about the cigarettes, but she told us we would have to wait. She was not willing to give our IDs back. All this time a massive line was stacking up behind us.
We waited several more minutes before the manager came back with our IDs. He gave them back to us and told the cashier that they â€œchecked out.â€
I couldnâ€™t help but feel that the whole thing felt like an invasion of my privacy. Age verification is one thing, and that is fine, but calling the police station and doing a check on me because MY FRIEND wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes was pretty ridiculous.”
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