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Jason Holliston
Sunday, February 09, 2003  

A Small Thing

I have to write about a pet peeve of mine -- getting "carded" for everything, and America's overbearing need to protect our children. First, I have a confession to make -- I'm a smoker. I ask you to put aside any preconceived notions of how horrible tobacco is for you (been there, heard that, a million times), and think about this for a second or two. I'm 32 years old, and there's no way that I'd ever pass for a high school junior or senior of 17 years old. A 70 year old clerk at 7/11 with 20/600 vision would never make this mistake, as long as they had their glasses on, trust me. Still, about a quarter of the time I buy cigarettes, the clerk will ask for my ID, and believe me, if I don't have it, they won't sell. Does this strike anyone as wrong? How many times have you used your credit card and not been asked for ID to verify you are who you say you are? For me, I'd say less than 5% of the time, even though credit card fraud is a very real problem cutting through the entire strata of generations in this country.

Now, I understand the reasons behind not selling dangerous, addictive substances to minors, such as tobacco and alcohol -- in fact, I completely agree with it, but things have gone astray with this "need to protect". There are stores that are so afraid of fines from the people that enforce these laws that they instruct their employees to ask all customers for their ID, even if they look like they are a card-carrying member of the AARP. I'm not grouping alcohol into this severe category, simply because those magic three years' difference makes such a, well, difference, in how people look. I'm not sure if there's anything anyone can really do about this directly. All I ask of readers is that they consider the ramifications of their actions, and that they approach things with a hint of logic. It's a small thing, I know, but I believe that even the small things need to be pointed out sometimes.

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