Sometimes I just don't understand this world that we live in.
A few years ago, late at night, I was at my local megamart picking up supplies for the next morning's road trip. While I was looking around, I saw a some bottles of peach soda. I thought it looked pretty good, so I grabbed a case. Tired as I was, it didn't immediately register in my mind when the checker asked to see some I.D. I showed her my drivers license, which satisfied her and she went on. A moment later I realized that I had just been carded for buying peach soda. I said to her, "you know, it's not beer, it's just peach soda." She was truly and utterly embarrassed, and even more so when I told her that now we had a funny story to tell.
Today I stopped by the store on the way home from work to buy some pineapples and some bananas. While I was there, I decided to get a six pack of ginger ale in bottles. At the register, the checker rang up my fruit, then my soda, and then asked for my birthday. I gave him an odd look and said, "for ginger ale?" He told me that the computer was asking for my birthday. Thinking it was odd, I gave it to him, grabbed my stuff (I had to tell him that the ginger ale, which had a built-in handle, did not need a bag) and headed out to the car, wondering about the birthday thing. As I drove home, I realized a couple of things. First of all, it was the computer that seemed to be interested in my age, not the checker. Odd that a computer would confuse ginger ale and real ale. Then I realized that the checker hadn't asked for my ID. Just my birthday. And he made a point of telling me that he believed me.
I can only think of a couple of explanations. First, I had paid with my credit card. Could it have been a security check? If it was, it was a new one, because I've used my card there several times before, including last night, and never been asked for my birthday. So the other explanation might be that whoever put the ginger ale in the computer was in fact a complete idiot that thinks that ginger ale is a real beer, with real alcohol, and therefore should raise a flag to the cashier to do the age check. Thanks to my seriously cool beard (which is actually only about half as thick as it was when I was 17), the checker decided that I was obviously old enough. You know, I actually had a couple of 20 year olds ask me to buy them beer when I was only 19 or 20 myself. It's kind of fun to tweak with people's brains, even if it is unintentional.
Tell you what. Those of you that have a Harmon's near by, why don't you head on down and see what other kinds of silly things have made it into the system. They've already got two strikes, with the baggers and the ginger ale. What else is going on there? Don't get me wrong, I love Harmon's. I actually have 5 other grocery stores nearer to my home (Smith's, Albertson's, Macey's, Super Target and Super Walmart) and I still prefer to drive from south Orem to north Orem to buy groceries. But guys, c'mon, get your act together! Don't make me change my mind about where I shop!
Update (6/28/2006 7am): I bought a different soda and a couple of bags of ciabatta rolls this morning with the same credit card, and they didn't ask for my birthday. So unless they're suddenly requiring age checks on bananas or pineapples, they carded me for ginger ale. I did get a lot of glares from people there, though. Almost every person in the store, in fact. It wasn't until I left that I remembered that I was wearing my University of Utah t-shirt in BYU territory.