Monday, July 11, 2005

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to St. Louis

I found myself driving across Missouri the other day heading back to Atlanta from Montana. I suddenly remembered that I wanted to bring back a 12-pack of Fat Tire. Not too much room left before crossing the Mississippi where Fat Tire is all but non-existant, kind of like Coors back in the 70's with the exception that Fat Tire is actually tasty.

You may be surprised how difficult it is to find a supermarket or a liquor store somewhere close to the Interstate in Missouri. I finally convinced the wife that we needed to stop for directions. No, really, it was her that got us on a 30-minute side trip to nowhere.

I asked the clerk at the unmemorable convenience store if there was a supermarket or liquor store nearby. She said, "well, there's a Wal-Mart supercenter." I said that'd be fine. I know that they sell beer in Georgia at least. She described how to get there, real close, and I got clarification from the brown-toothed customer that walked up. Thank goodness, because I'd have missed the turn to get there. It's hard to explain, but you have to take a right turn when it looks like you're supposed to go straight.

Get to Wal-Mart. Same as every other Wal-Mart for the most part. You know, pick up some meat and produce, a new outfit, a TV and some bait. Head to the back of the grocery section where the coolers are. And the first surprise? ... Wal-Mart sells liquor! A whole endcap consisting solely of 750 mL bottles of JD. Jack Daniels for the less-rednecky reader. Sweet! Missouri is cooler than Georgia with respect to alcohol sales. Still not as cool as Montana because you still can't buy on Sunday, but luckily it was Saturday.

After the initial shock wore off, time to complete my original mission. Get Fat Tire.

Got it, headed to the register.

Got out the debit card. Almost forgot to show ID. She checked it, but this is where things got real weird. She also asked my wife for ID.


So, she'd already checked my ID. I brought the beer up. I was paying for it. My name was on the debit card. Why does she need my wife's ID? Not that we didn't comply, but I don't get it. She said it was the law. I don't doubt that it is, but I fail to understand it. And I question the legality of the matter if she had refused to sell me beer if we didn't supply the extra ID.

Allow me to throw out a theoretical. (Yes, I realize that I just turned that word into a noun.)

What if I were shopping with my 15-year old daughter? Or my 3-year old son? Or my bodacious 20-year old college girlfriend? Or my 28-year old wife who left her purse in the car? In which of these situations would she be allowed to sell me beer? In which would she be able to refuse the sale? Do I forfeit all rights as a consumer in Missouri simply because I am buying an alcoholic beverage despite the fact that I am carrying legal identification verifying that I am of the state's legal consumption age?


  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    M and I had the exact same experience the other day.

    I had the exact same questions.

    I don't know the answer.

  • At 2:10 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Same thing happened to me too... but I did leave my ID in the car. Made me go out to the car to get it.

    I suppose it prevents the 18 year old college student from going with you to pick out what they want??? That said, plenty of ways to get around that... like picking out bubble gum balls near the door while they pay.

    I'm jealous of those buying beer and liquor in the grocery store. I miss that. Only beer & wine here. Such a pain to make a separate trip. Esp since the liquor stores don't sell beer or wine. argh.

    although I do love being able to walk to the liquor store as I change buses on the way home from work.

  • At 4:50 PM, Blogger Kyle said…

    Boy - I really take that for granted now. I do not look forward to making trips to liquor stores.

    I mean - even Circle K sells my precious Hypnotique.

    Got to have Hypnotique.

  • At 5:36 PM, Blogger Marc Mielke said…

    Had the same problem when I was working at K-Mart. Apparently it's not okay if the buyer is of age and accompanied by a 16 year old, but okay if it's a mother with her 5-year old son. When I pestered my manager for better instructions than "use your common sense", I was told to shut it.
    I hate laws like that.

  • At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Checking everyone's ID isn't the law in MO, but how some retailers cover their asz in respect to selling to minors. Stupid if you ask me, but I guess some retailer has been sued over this situation, so everyone gets on board with the practice.



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