ONE OF the most common, if relatively benign, acts of entitlement these days comes with the folks who get very angry and offended when they’re asked to show ID at a bar.
These days it’s almost a rarity to go out to a local watering hole, especially downtown, and not witness someone melt down in ugly fashion because they were simply asked politely to show some ID.
Contrary to what you might think, not all these people are gray-haired older folks who think their age is self-evident at first glance and think they require some kind of vague exemption from state law.
Many are a lot closer to 21, whether here with friends or part of a bachelorette party.
I saw one Woo Girl get indignant at a bartender, saying, “I left my ID back at the hotel,” as if that is a good explanation for... well, for anything.
And then of course these people leave negative social media reviews, as if they’re the one that’s been victimized.
Many local bartenders have literally dozens of stories like this.
Here’s the deal: Every time you’re carded, whether you’re 21 or 81, that bar employee is not just doing their job, but literally helping to keep that bar in business.
The City of Savannah, as well as the state of Georgia, are increasing their crackdowns on underage drinkers in local bars. They conduct regular sting operations wherein undercover agents come in with expired or otherwise faulty IDs.
It doesn’t matter if the undercover agent is of legal age — if the bar serves them without checking or by not catching a bad ID, the whole business can take a hit.
Too many of these penalties and you can lose your alcohol license, i.e. be forced to shut down entirely and lay off all your employees.
Our City Council, in all its wisdom, insists on case-by-case control over all alcohol licenses. And they aren’t shy about using a heavy hand, especially on bars owned by individuals instead of deep-pocket corporate interests.
I’ve always thought it’s unfair to burden service workers with having the magical intuition of determining the age of a total stranger, on top of everything else they have to do.
For example, though I’m obviously over 21 now (but still happy to show ID!), when I was 30 I had a bit of a baby face. I could easily have passed for under 21.
Why should someone working for eight or ten bucks an hour have the additional burden of guessing my age in dim light, like they’re working some game in a country carnival?
The weird part is, in the time it takes to foam at the mouth about being carded and leave a scathing Yelp review, you could have shown your damn ID a thousand times over.
It takes about five seconds.
If you insist on getting mad about something, reserve your anger for the bureaucracy that spends so much time on this rather than maybe doing more to fight violent crime.
Or maybe wonder why some local bars, notorious for letting in underage drinkers, continue not to get noticed by the City.
Or get mad at yourself for forgetting your ID in the first place.
Here’s another facet of the whole issue:
Not only is it incumbent by law on bars and restaurants to make sure that everyone who drinks can show current, valid ID, there’s also the matter of straight-up business policy.
The same people who don’t bat an eye at a sign on a business that says “No Firearms Allowed” or who have no problem with Twitter banning anyone for any reason (or for literally no reason) will often lose their minds when a bar simply adopts its own individual policy of carding everyone, across the board.
Luckily, there’s a very simple solution to all this: Just bring your damn ID with you!
And view being carded as your own humble contribution to keeping a favorite watering hole in business.