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April 2008


Senior Citizen Denied Alcohol at Applebee’s

Just when life seems to finally start making some sense.  When the laws of our country finally add up.  Just about the time we finally get our collective heads in the game and out of our collective arses.  Oh, yes, just about this time (whether we’re actually there or not) something like this happens…

While eating lunch recently in a restaurant which I will not name (rhymes with Shmapplebee’s and is the afore-title-mentioned eatery), while eating here I overheard our server asking two patrons at another table for their photo identifications.  Being the ever responsible licensed alcohol retail sales agent, she wanted to be certain the individuals in question were of legal drinking age.  Individuals who obviously remembered the Depression from first-hand experience, persons who were on the other side of 8 decades of life, this was the age-range of our suspected alcohol consumption violators.  And according to the server it “was law to see the valid photo identification of all persons purchasing alcohol to ensure the license is not expired.”

Basically, the patrons responded with disbelief.  After the gentleman questioned the server a few times to make sure she was being serious, he showed his identification.  (The server oddly never broke a smile, never affirmed her own amusement at such a regulation.  She was quite steadfast in her convictions.  She waited patiently to see the identification.)  Then came time to see the gentle lady’s identification, and she wasn’t even aware this was going on around her. 

She asked “What?”

And she was told thrice, each time more loudly than the last, “She needs to see your ID so we can get a glass of wine.”

The patron was less than amused, and even less in a hurry.  Nope.  I applaud her.  She kept this whole scenario going at her pace.  She found her purse, and a few minutes later, she found her wallet.  She began to fumble almost amusingly through the plastic photo sleeves in her wallet, the ones you don’t see too much anymore.  She glanced passed photos of her own children in their 50’s flair, grandchildren who made love not war, wonderful graduation pictures of great grandchildren, and adorable 2001 Christmas photos of great great grandchildren.  She passed all these photos knowing that somewhere behind one of them was a state issued photo identification card.  She hadn’t seen it in sometime, as most places never ask for them anymore.  She doesn’t write checks, she uses a debit card.  Policeman don’t ask for it, she doesn’t drive.  But the bar maid at Apple…err.. the establishment, felt the need to assert her badge and tell these suspected privilege abusers she needed to see proof they were old enough to make their own decisions.

It appalled some, amused others, and caused everyone there to raise their collective Scooby Doo heads and say “Rrrrwhat?”  Yeah.  It drew attention.

What drew attention from me was the lack of federal laws concerning alcohol sales and consumption.  In fact, it’s a state thing.  And the state of Missouri is a shining example of how not to regulate underage drinking.  Yes, it is illegal for persons under the age of 21 to purchase alcohol.  (A completely different post, but just so you know, it is NOT illegal for persons under 21 to consume alcohol that has been provided to them by a family member.  That’s Missouri’s legal take on it.  Read the document here.  You’ll find it.)

Without hashing federal, state and local regulations (or the collective lack-there-of), I was unable to find the statute that required our server to provide such an amusing afternoon to me, table fodder for others, and a trip down decades of memory lane for our gentle lady.  No, I don’t see the cause. 

However, I do see the effect…

It took precious attention away from our table as our server was preoccupied ensuring she was upholding the most stringent of nonexistent law.

I plan to go to my favorite Sikeston eatery, Buffalo Wild Wings next weekend and amuse myself with my favorite trivia games and attempts to reach local acclaim as a leader in trivia points.  I sincerely hope the servers of BWW are more concerned about me and less about the obligations to uphold truth, justice, and the American Way.

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