White Hair, Wrinkles Aren’t Valid ID at These Drinking Establishments

Barry Newman, Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2013

Five or six times a year, Larry McCoy goes to Yankee Stadium to see a game and have a couple of beers. At the concession stand, the Yankees require him to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to prove that he is above the legal drinking age of 21.

“Why is a photo so important?” he wonders. Mr. McCoy, an ex-radio newsman, is 75 years old. “I got white hair,” he says. “It sticks out of my baseball cap. If you’re old, why would you be pretending to be someone else who’s old? Using their picture?”

Such wonderment occurs often at the stadium because the Yankees ask for identification cards from beer buyers of all ages. So do the Boston Celtics; the Fairway supermarket chain, which has stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; liquor stores in Elk Grove Village, Ill.; and lots of other spots scattered around the country. A bunch of state and local governments have gone in for it, too.

The point is to eliminate the guesswork and social goofs that often seem to go with making sure youngsters don’t drink. But it’s a point many oldsters don’t get. They’ve taken to pushing back, and some of the universal ID checkers have been backing down.


A prime place to dig for the sometimes-tangled roots of the card-the-codgers phenomenon is Blockheads, which has a bar on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The manager, 33-year-old Vicky Contreras, was at a table there one afternoon, doing the accounts.

“We card everyone,” she said. “It’s procedure. You can’t ask for ID from young people and not old people. That’s profiling.”

At the bar, Yulenny Severino had just inspected Lillian Baker’s driver’s license and put a large margarita in front of her.

“We don’t discriminate,” said Ms. Severino, who kept her own age to herself. Ms. Baker, who admitted to being 56, said, “I could be your mama.” {snip}

Filling in details by telephone, Blockheads co-owner, Ken Sofer, says his policy was devised, back in 1993, to be nonprejudicial. He also declared an expired license invalid at Blockheads, even if the picture on it is of the old person ordering the drink.

Mr. Sofer, 59, says customers occasionally complain that “any idiot can see they’re over 21.” His response: “Not idiots like us. We’re special idiots. We earn our name every day at Blockheads.”


Discrimination concerns, though, are real enough, not legally but socially. “This is obvious,” says Rick Banks, 48, a civil-liberties professor at Stanford Law School. “You don’t want to card someone who’s 40 but looks 20, and not card their friend who’s also 40 but looks 50.”


The card-everybody solution removes doubts, promotes age equality and leaves only the 50-to-114 crowd befuddled. It has even enjoyed some political appeal.


{snip} In 2007, Tennessee enacted universal carding. Indiana did it in 2009. But then some crabby old folks got on the phone and gave the politicians an earful. Annapolis repealed its law in 2002, Tennessee in 2008, Indiana in 2011.

“It didn’t work the way we thought,” says Bill Davis, Republican chairman of the public-policy committee in the Indiana House of Representatives. Scott Pelath, the Democratic minority leader, says, “All it did was set folks off. We forgot that there’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”



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  • Let’s see, McCoy and Baker, the two old people who were carded, would be about the right age of being followers of the Democratic Party. It’s time to pay up for that party at Woodstock, Mr. McCoy.
    Lillian Baker, tell me to my face that you didn’t vote for Clinton over 20 years ago.

  • Nathanwartooth

    I want to meet this magical person who is 40 and looks 20.

    • It’s either Gwyneth Paltrow, or Hugh Jackman.

    • The__Bobster

      Actually I did. A guard once tried to toss me out of a casino when I was over 40.

      • Father Time

        Dear Mr or Ms. Bobster:
        He didn’t think you were too young.

        He thought you were too old and he didn’t want to see you lose your entire social security check, dreamer!

    • I’m 47 and easily pass for late 20s, but nobody would mistake me for 20. Most of my friends really look their ages. It saddens me to watch them grow old. I suppose that I just have one of those faces, as well as a lot of hair. I also have a daughter and pet fox who conspire to keep me active.

      I am always greeted with a “Hello, Mr. Scott” at my favorite liquor store. I have a discount card there.

      The last folks who called me “Sir” were my laboratory students at UNSW in Australia. It was sweet, but I told them to call me Michael. I sure miss those people.

      I think an older person usually has dress and physical mannerisms that mark them out for what they are. An older (white) woman has a grace of movement that young ones can not match.

      • Nathanwartooth

        “Kill all the Communists.” lol that was really random.

        I am jelly of all of you who look so young. I’m 30 with a receding hair line and totally look my age.

      • Morris LeChat

        here’s a tip, mitochondria. It is important to keep the numbers of mitochondria high. Acetyl-l-carnitine will help keep them young- do a google search, and something new- epicatechin- can help double their number. You can get epicatechin from cocoa powder- but ONLY the kind that does not include “ALKALI” in the ingredients. Just take the cocoa powder and put it in a magic bullet with water. Then drink it. It does not mix readily with water but the fast mixing of the blender works. Have a combination of the epicatechin and acetyl-l-carnitine two to four times a day.

      • I’m 48 and people routinely mistake me for being 15 years younger.

        I simply don’t look my age.

        It’s kind of a confounding situation actually, because I’m having a really hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I’m going to be 50 next year (well, end of next year).

        – Arturo

        crimesofthetimes dot calm

    • Michael P

      That would be me. I’m 39 and people think I just graduated from college or am still in college

      • Nathanwartooth

        Maybe you should try to play a teenager on TV. They are always looking for older people who look 20 to play characters who are 16.

        • 90210? A bunch of 30 year olds in high school.

      • Father Time Your ParoleOfficer

        The reason they think you didn’t graduate has to do with them thinking you are dumb. Not that you look young becvause you don’t.

    • capnmorgan5150

      I actually get carded for beer and I’m 43. I take it as a compliment.

  • Tim

    On those nights I forget my ID I tell the doorman, “Hey!! Lemme give you a name… Le Duc Tho….” It worked a generation ago, now not so well.

    • MekongDelta69

      Your doorman is obviously too young to be familiar with names that all sound like a bunch of ’33’ cans chucked down the middle of a hooch at 0400.

      Now, I want to meet this Rick Banks [the ‘civil-liberties’ professor at Stanford Law School – (what a useless job).]
      If he can make me look 21 again, feel free to card my ass all night long!

  • sbuffalonative

    We have a supermarket chain that cards everyone. I know they’re trying to prevent any charges of ‘ageism’ discrimination but it does come off as silly when you are clearly old enough to legally buy beer.

    • IstvanIN

      Wegman’s cards everyone in a shopping party. I was behind a woman with a child and the cashier had to get approval to sell beer to the women because she has a baby with her. Insane.

    • Katherine McChesney

      I am carded when I buy O’Doul’s. And I’m a wrinkly 66 years old.

      • The__Bobster

        I used to get strange looks when I used my AARP card to get discounts at Texas hotels. They thought it belonged to my father. However, a 50-YO who was raised in Texas is far more wrinkly than one who was raised in the North.

        • you still hang out at niggermania, bobster? Just wondering, Mabuse.

      • Greg Thomas

        Do they know O’Douls is non-alcoholic?

    • jim8230

      My daughter used to work for one of the chains (not Wegman’s) and she informed me when the policy went into effect that it was because the store was stung by the state liquor thugs for selling to a minor. You know that little game…they send in a 20-year-old that looks closer to 30 and as soon as they purchase the beer, the cashier and the store are written up and fined. Then the store faces a suspension of their license. So now the rest of us have to pay for it. She told me she was terribly embarrased to have to proof elderly customers.

  • Okay, now. What about voting?

    • Ding-dong! Oh wait. That would be racist!

    • me

      This is only for White people. ‘Undocumented workers’, or what I personally refer to as ‘illegal invaders’, don’t need to show ID for ANYTHING, not even when they go to Social Services for freebies….

  • Tim

    When I was 38 and they were 19, I told my co-workers at Applebee`s to get me a fake ID too. One guy asked why and his friend answered laughing, “He wants some off and not on, right??”

  • It freaked me out the first time I wasn’t carded, and I was 31 at the time. What it meant is that I no longer looked young.

    • The__Bobster

      Wait until they start calling you “sir”.

    • Joel W

      freaked you out? really? im ecstatic that i rarely get carded. actually happens more for cigarettes than alcohol which i find hilarious since most of the time, my smoking habit is older than the highschool kid selling them to me.

  • Bill

    Blame it on the lawyers. They are the ones who brought this stupidity about, just as the lawyers in the halls of Congress and the Senate bring about all THEIR stupid ideas and inflict them on us. Kid gets busted for drunk driving, some shyster lawyer gets him off because he wasn’t carded. Another kid gets off because he WAS carded but his friend wasn’t. And so on. And we here ALL know blacks are always just salivating at the idea of the next ghetto lottery civil suit.

    • Stentorian_Commentator

      This, too, is why public school administrators administer “no tolerance” policies about, say, knives to suspend a kid for bringing a butter knife to school to cut the skin off a pear. The knife is a butter knife, the kid is white and not a trouble maker, but if there is any record of disparate treatment, then the school is handicapped in enforcing the rules against the real trouble.

  • The__Bobster

    “We card everyone,” she said. “It’s procedure. You can’t ask for ID from young people and not old people. That’s profiling

    What’s so bad about profiling? Oh, yeah, the libtarded MSM have made it as evil as being a racist.

    During my college years, my student center started asking for our ID cards after a few incidents involving natives that had walked in from the nearby Congo HS.

    This was PC nonsense. The only White kids in the area were us college students. Our skin color was our ID. But they didn’t want to offend the handful of Zulu EOP “students” that were attending the school (for six month before they dropped out).

  • Carding is exercising control over someone.
    Watch and you will see people who don’t get carded, people that look like the workers.

  • Token Finn

    Can’t wait for the ‘call everyone a racist’ policy when non-whites will be carded for racism too, even if they look unracist from a Hollywood point of view. And surely the non-whites will find that just as stupid as 70 year olds getting age carded.

  • James

    Tennessee HAS NOT repealed it. I still get carded all the time by 20 year olds and I’m 60. It’s just another method of dumbing down the populace into blind submission and obedience. Do it even if it makes no sense to you and ask no questions why.

    • Who Me?

      “Papers please”

  • I wonder if illegals are carded by these companies….. I’d bet that could be considered profiling….just watch!

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      They probably would be if they tried to buy alcohol there, but illegals without fake IDs tend to just go to their local Mexican corner store, where no one would even consider asking for ID and they let them pay in food stamps.

  • DailyKenn

    “The fight against “profiling” reaches new depths of stupidity.”

    Made me laugh. Literally.

  • Angry White Woman

    A couple of years ago I got carded buying cigarettes! Now anyone over 18 years of age can legally buy cigarettes, at least in this state. I passed 18 X 3 some years ago, and have an AARP card to prove it. When the little girl (looked about maybe 19) at the counter asked for my ID, I looked her up and down, raised one eyebrow, handed her the AARP card and said, “Really honey, but I didn’t ask for my Senior Discount.” She got all flustered and forgot to check my driver’s licence when I did try to show it to her!

    Most times you probably will have to show ID anyway, but it just FEELS good to “accidentally” hand them your AARP card instead. (If you don’t have one of those, a lot of chains have in-store “senior discount” cards…Those work real well, too.)

    Way I look at it is, if they want to be stupid and card someone obviously far in excess of the legal age limit, I can act like a confused old lady, and they’re also too stupid to know they are being had. You’ll also get knowing smirks, nods and winks from anybody within earshot who is themselves over about 40.

  • libertarian 1234

    “We card everyone,” she said. “It’s procedure. You can’t ask for ID from young people and not old people. That’s profiling.”

    Spoken like a true idiot.

    Why people continue to give those arrogant types business is a mystery to me.

    They couldn’t stay in business if just a third of the people stayed away.

  • MBlanc46

    The whole point of age restrictions on alcohol and tobacco is discrimination. How can you not discriminate when you enforce them?

    • Morris LeChat

      shhhh, that is too much common sense for the world we live in

  • guest

    Blacks unable to handle being in drinking establishments means that everyone needs to be treated as a suspect. The same thing is happening on a larger scale with immigration. We admit Chechens and Somalis, and so we have to treat everyone with the same level of mistrust we would reasonably apply to a Somali. It’s all worth it to get the benefits of diversity!

  • robinbishop34

    I graduated high school in the early 90’s and during senior year I knew a guy that could of passed for 25 who easily bought alcohol w/o ever getting carded. He would go into a supermarket wearing slacks, a dress shirt and tie. He would undo the top button, loosen the tie, roll up his cuffs and go in the store around 6 p.m. as if he’d just gotten off work. He also wore a gold band on his left hand and would purchase a few jars of baby food with the booze.

    • NM156

      We did the same thing at neighborhood taverns in Chicago when we were between 18 and 21. We’d pretend we’d just got off the bus and train after a long day at an office downtown. We thought we were geniuses.

      • robinbishop34

        They can’t get away with that anymore apparently 🙂

  • The Final Solution

    Yeah but you still don’t need ID to sneak into this country and enjoy all the benefits.

    • NM156

      Or freakin drink! In IL, these laughably fake Matricula Consular ID cards that illegals use as ID allow Mexican underage drinkers to buy alcohol while American kids of college age are subject to punishment that just can’t be ignored these days.

  • shmo123

    “All it did was set folks off. We forgot that there’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”

    Apparently, it hasn’t sunk in to a lot of people. I’m in my fifties, look it, and I could not buy a bottle of wine the other day at a local supermarket in Indiana because I didn’t have my driver’s license with me. I made a minor scene of it, and told the manager she had no common sense. What really got me was the clerk, who might have been all of 25 or so, told me while she was ringing up my grocery items that they only need card someone if they appear to be 40 or younger, yet she hit the wrong button, and the manager came over and wouldn’t overturn her mistaken decision. I was so angry I left all my groceries on the counter and walked out.

    • Good. If those folks are going to behave like PoS, let them restock the shelves.

    • As you should have done. I have done it before too.

  • Brady

    All they have to do is find a 20 year old with wrinkles and gray hair and send him out ordering drinks. That’ll catch ’em with their pants down!

  • “promotes age equality”

    “a fine line between clever and stupid”

    Mmhmm. Tell me more.

  • Larry Klein

    I used to work at 7-11 when I was 18. I remember turning down a guy trying to buy a beer that looked like Howard Hesseman because he had an out-of-state license. The owners drummed in the seemingly nonsensical policies into our heads. At the same time it’s hard to blame them. One time some doofus from the city government gave me a lecture because I sold to someone who was over 21, but evidently there were minors in the CAR! Seriously, are clerks obligated to go into the freakin parking lot now? Long story short a small part behind these policies might be political correctness, but a big part is these business don’t want to leave discretion to the average cashier when the lawyers or local PD/liquor control are ready to eat their lunch.

  • trollzforlulz

    ” Scott Pelath, the Democratic minority leader, says, “All it did was set folks off. We forgot that there’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”

    The hell there is. You forgot,or more likely never learned, that there is a vast GULF between clever and stupid. Just because you and all your friends are IDIOTS and think you’re clever doesn’t move the two opposing forces any closer together. You’re just typical stupid people. You think you’re geniuses and never shut up about your retarded “ideas”,most of which are pumped into your head by people smarter than you so that you’re not really having a thought but remembering one that someone else had.

    Refusing to acknowledge plainly observable facts is every bit as “clever” as repeatedly sticking your hand into a fire until you burn it off because you don’t want to “stereotype” fire by saying that it’s hot.

  • Jaego

    They are getting us ready for the Universal ID card which we will have to carry at all times. That may be inconvenient, so they offer to chip people. It will become common and people will think you are strange if you don’t have it since information will be passed pressing the backs of hands together. Eventually it will be mandatory and the holdout will be persecuted just as the Prophets predicted.

    • Nathanwartooth

      Charges of racism would stop any sort of ID chip dead in it’s tracks.

      African Americans have many criminals within their community who have no ID or fake IDs to try to keep from being identified. If they can’t force people to bring ID to vote, how the heck are they going to get ID chips implanted in them?

      Also I would love to see the quote from whoever said that. Unless they said “In the future there will be this electronic technology that you can’t even dream of and they will implant it in you and track you!”. I’m pretty sure someone is just cleverly interpreting something.

      It’s funny how accurate predictions can be when they are so vague they could mean just about anything.

      • Negroes should all have a chip implanted once they enter the prison system since they all seem to be cheated from voting.

  • whiteyyyyy

    We forgot that there’s a fine line between clever and stupid.” Not really, they are several layers of stupid before you get to clever. Land of the free, you cant even buy a drink without a card.

    • You can if you are 40 and black. No clerk would risk the result.
      As I said earlier, it is a control thing.

  • 1proactive2

    As the bar manager said, “You can’t ask for ID from young people and not old people. That’s profiling.”

    How do these “people” live as long as she has sans common sense and a functional intellect? And she’s a manager?

    They walk among us, folks. Beware.

  • Sad state of affairs when people support the idea of everybody having to show ID to buy beer, but nobody having to show ID in order to vote.

  • We’ve had the same kinds of carry on here. I remember an article in the news a few years ago about a pensioner being asked for ID to get his weekly treat of a bottle of beer from the shop.

    Although I am only 35, I had it myself in a supermarket when I was around 32. The age restriction here is 18, not 21. The board at the till said something like “If you don’t look over 21, you will need to provide ID”. There I am, at a ripe 32 years old and looking nothing like an 18 year old, or a 21 year old, and I get badgered for ID.

    Of course, being a supposed “free man” I do not carry ID. I should not need to do. I refuse to do. I asked for the manager, who just happened to be passing by, and said it was ridiculous that I can be 32 and not get alcohol in which the restriction is 18.

    Instead of seeing the absurdity, they just replied that I should be thankful that I was being asked for ID because I must look young, and I should take it as a compliment. Ultimate result, I had to leave them there on the till and come out empty handed! It really is ridiculous, especially in the case of an old man.

    As for the retard in the article that says “we cannot be discriminatory”…… of COURSE you CAN. That is what AGE RESTRICTIONS are! They are discriminatory! If you do not look like you pass the discrimination marker, you get asked for some proof! Simple.

    I do not know much about America, but I tend to share the paranoia that all these protocols are are part of institutionalising the population to get used to providing ID on request.

    Over here in the UK, particularly under the Labour party, they were set for introducing ID cards. They claimed they would be voluntary (which made a mockery of the very idea) as part of an excuse to push them through.

    But here is the catch, when everybody starts asking you for ID and unless you can provide it, you cannot receive services or goods, cannot bank, cannot do anything, then it hardly becomes “voluntary”. They will grind the systems down until it becomes the path of least resistance to have one and comply.


    Re: “We don’t discriminate,…”

    Waitaminnit. Wait just one cotton-pickin’ minnit. The whole idea of requiring an ID is to verify that the customer is over a certain age, IOW, to DISCRIMINATE against those who are underage.