November 03, 2006

Do I really look 17??

I just got asked for ID in Tesco when buying a nice bottle of red wine!! It wasn’t even like I was buying cheap cider or Lambrini!!

I know that the new slogan is something like – ‘If you look under 21, we will ask if you are over 18’ – but really, that is ridiculous – you have to be 18 to buy wine so surely this implies she must have thought I was younger than 18! I am 24! And anyway, I don’t look under 21 either – do I?!

Normally I would be embarrassed in these situations but I just smiled nicely and replied “that’s a nice compliment for a Friday afternoon”. I guess that’s what you are meant to say when you get a bit older!


- 32 comments by 9 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    I remember (a very long time ago) being seriously miffed that a bus driver wouldn’t let me pay adult fare for journey, insisting I pay only the child fare. But, but, all the other kids on the bus were kids – I was a grown up:-)

    I’m rubbish at guessing ages, but I wouldn’t have guessed at 17. Mind you, nor would I have guessed at 24. I’d have put you somewhere in-between…

    I think part of the problem is that some youger people (girls especially?) are very good at making themselves look much older than they are, so Tesco just have to be careful. Taking it as a compliment is the right approach!

    03 Nov 2006, 13:53

  2. I was reading about the increase in the number of shops taking part in the US-inspired scheme of requesting over-21 ID this weekend…

    Alcohol agents – Why underage boozers are cruising for a bruising

    Opening lines range from, ‘Four Stellas, while you’re in there – for a 19th birthday party, mate?’ and, ‘As a short woman I’m always having this embarrassing problem – can you help?’, to ‘Excuse me, I am home for the weekend from the Uni of North West Wales, where I’m in my second year studying PPE – and I could tell you about all the term’s different modules if you really need to know’.

    I don’t know what to think…

    Part of me thinks it’s a good idea that prevents underage people drinking – and part of me thinks that its insulting that someone can have sex, vote and join the armed forces but not buy themselves a bottle of wine.

    03 Nov 2006, 13:57

  3. So – the point I forgot to add was that this if you look under 21 we’ll ID you to make sure that you are 18 or over-thing is a good half-way house.

    03 Nov 2006, 13:59

  4. Eleanor Lovell

    Ha ha – at least you got a discount fare on the bus Steve! And you just reminded me of another incident…

    When I was about 18, I was in Woolworths buying some party poppers with some of my mates from Uni and I was asked for ID!!! I didn’t even know there was an age restriction on buying party poppers!! Apparently you have to be 15 – and I was 18 at the time!! I don’t think I took it as a compliment that time!!

    Hopefully when I am 50 I will only look 45!

    03 Nov 2006, 14:02

  5. Allan Smith

    In Seattle we went to a place where they bizarrely ID anyone who looks 39.5 and under. When they stop asking it’s time to worry.

    03 Nov 2006, 14:11

  6. In those situations, I always find myself indignantly muttering:

    “Well! What kind of 14 year old would be buying organic Shiraz?”

    03 Nov 2006, 14:32

  7. Matthew Jones

    Can I ask, was it a grey-haired woman who served you? I never get ID-ed in Tesco normally, except by her! I find avoidance of that particular cashier-on-a-power trip works nicely.

    I normally don’t get annoyed when it happens. They’re just doing their job and they can get a (personal) fine if they serve someone. However that woman always looks at me like I’m scum and says “You got ID?” (sic) in such a condescending way that when I show it to her I say slowly and loudly, “That’s right, I’m TWENTY-TWO.”

    Rant over.

    03 Nov 2006, 15:05

  8. Dave

    I got asked for ID when buying a knife, fork and spoon set from wilkinsons. I think you have to be 16 and over. I was 19. Did I really look 15? And it was a blunt knife!!

    03 Nov 2006, 15:05

  9. I have to keep a beard :-(

    03 Nov 2006, 15:20

  10. Mathew Mannion

    Probably the grey haired woman, she ID’d me for a Donnie Darko DVD (a 15, I might add) in my second year.

    03 Nov 2006, 15:22

  11. Lucy Griffiths

    I think they are obliged to ask after a certain number of people they serve so you probably just got unlucky that you happened along at the point where they needed to ask someone. I got ID’d the other day (OK admittedly I was buying a bottle of baileys AND a bottle of Bacardi at 12pm on a wednesday, but that’s not the point, I’m 24) and although it’s a bit irritating, it’s not that bad really. It was better than the National Trust man saying to me ‘You’re not under 25 are you? Surely?’ Bloody cheek. I’ve got a whole year left until I’m that ancient…

    03 Nov 2006, 15:32

  12. mick

    Eleanor,

    You wait! You’ll get to a point in your life when you stop getting asked for ID, then you’ll feel really miffed :)

    03 Nov 2006, 15:47

  13. Rachel Davis

    Well I am 30 and I still get asked for ID when buying a bottle of wine in Sainsburys – I tend to carry my passport with me at all times. On producing said ID, the checkout lady is usually very embarassed :)

    03 Nov 2006, 15:47

  14. Lucy, I used to work in Tesco during my sixth form year and there wasn’t any minimum quota of number of people you have to ID. What you did get was a pop up on the first age-restricted thing you scanned in a transaction saying “Is this person over tthe correct age?” which wouldn’t let you do anything else until you pressed the Yes or No button. But it might have changed in the last 4 years.

    03 Nov 2006, 16:01

  15. I think you look twelve.

    03 Nov 2006, 16:43

  16. Jane

    Funnily enough I’ve just been in Marks and Spencers and bought a bottle of wine and was asked if I’m over 18 which pleased me greatly as I’m more than twice that age! Of course I said “only just!” The lady on the till said “I always ask everyone”. I bet she makes lots of people feel very chuffed.

    03 Nov 2006, 17:11

  17. I wouldn’t ID you, but I wouldn’t say you look much over 20. One question is how tall are you? Facially I don’t think I look more than a couple of years older than I am (25 max) but due to my height I think people think I’m older. Obviously this made sense when I was 15 (but looking 20) but I still think it holds true now. Short people get ID-ed more.

    03 Nov 2006, 17:16

  18. I haven’t been IDd since I was 15 :S
    My sister is 25 and still maintains she’s IDd regularly. I even had to go into the bookies with her the other day. I think she’s kidding herself though.

    03 Nov 2006, 17:58

  19. As someone who has worked behind a checkout, sometimes you just feel like asking for the sake of asking.

    Other times you wonder how old someone is and know you have the power to find out.

    In reality, when you’re sat there looking at someone buying alcohol you don’t assign an exact age to them, it’s more like a percentage chance of them being underage. You think “hmmm, this person looks about early twenties, but I’d say there’s a 10% chance they’re just a mature looking 17 year old”. Is 10% low enough to not bother asking for ID?

    But yeah, most of the time IDing older-looking people is just to alleviate boredom. Who says that just because you’re selling them alcohol that you have to be responsible?

    04 Nov 2006, 09:31

  20. My friend and I got asked for ID for a 15 rated film. We were 18 at the time. Now that really is embarrassing.

    04 Nov 2006, 20:40

  21. Emily

    I also used to work at Tesco (the last time was as a Christmas temp in December 2005) and I was probably a little over-enthusiastic when it came to ID-ing people (I once asked a 29 year old for ID), but I was so terrified of getting caught serving underage drinkers that it was worth the embarrassment just to be on the safe side! A guy at my old store got caught serving a 17 year old and he got a hefty fine and now has a criminal record.

    I think the “ask anybody who looks under 21” policy is operated in a lot of bars and shops these days and is actually a guideline set by the police. I know that there were several police checks when I worked at Tesco, and it was drummed into us at least every other month that we should check ID if we had any doubt whatsoever, so don’t blame the cashiers for being a bit cautious. Strangely, my friend who worked behind the bar at a local pub notorious for serving underage drinkers was never once told by her manager to ask for ID, nor did the police ever visit to check that the age limits were being enforced. It seems to me that supermarkets are just easy targets – far less hassle than going into a crowded, rowdy pub on a Saturday night.

    05 Nov 2006, 11:29

  22. Nick Howes

    I think we should all cherish the time when we still get ID’d, because one day, you’ll stop getting ID’d, and then you’ll start thinking you must look really old and past it.

    05 Nov 2006, 13:19

  23. Managers tell their workers to do it so that they can look busy and put something on their company record. Other managers do not stop him, as it’s pretty hard to be against. Workers follow the rules like mindless drones because the work is so boring they do it as its relatively interesting (they get to do something slightly different plus they can nose into your private life) plus the work is so soul degrading that you don’t have the strength of spirit to take the initiative and so you just follow the rules given to you.

    05 Nov 2006, 14:42

  24. Yup, it’s absolutely that clear cut and prescribed.

    05 Nov 2006, 14:50

  25. Sounds like he really understands life.

    05 Nov 2006, 15:16

  26. Yeah, he’s “got it sussed”.

    05 Nov 2006, 16:05

  27. dave

    getting id’d can really ruin your day.

    05 Nov 2006, 23:03

  28. dude, some time it happens on a bad cashier in a bad mood.

    she just dont want to let u go easily, and bring too much trouble for a guy likes me that dont usually bring ID with

    05 Nov 2006, 23:25

  29. At 38 I very rarely (well never) get asked for proof of age – instead I’m always trying to find the cashier in Tesco etc who is over 18 and can actually sell me booze without having to get permission from someone else!

    06 Nov 2006, 10:04

  30. You mean the under 18 cashiers have actually started caring about that rule now?

    06 Nov 2006, 10:37

  31. Shane Parsons

    Be honest with yourself Julian – you’re never going to be asked!

    I had an amusing incident about 10 years ago when I was in Florida with my wife and a couple of friends. We were eating at Planet Hollywood and my better half, 31 at the time, was refused alcohol. She couldn’t prove she was over 21 and the waiter refused to serve her with any alcoholic drinks. Talk about a double edged compliment. I almost choked on my cocktail with laughter as she sipped her diet coke in the corner.

    My son who is 6, firmly believes she is 24 and nothing I can do will convince him she is 40. However, being a ginger nut (or strawberry blonde as you girls confusingly call it), she has started to grey rapidly, thus diminishing greatly her youthful looks – something as a loving husband I constantly remind her of.

    16 Nov 2006, 16:50

  32. emma

    just been to local co.op ask for ten marlboro lights .Then i got it by a young girl at the till.Have you got any i.d red face me said yes iam 28years old.

    12 Oct 2007, 16:11


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My name is Ellie Lovell and I am the Web Editor in the Communications Office at the University of Warwick.

I started this blog in August 2005 when I started working at the University and have learnt a lot from it. I don’t update it so much anymore (I have been unfaithful to WarwickBlogs) but I hope you enjoy what is here…

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