Today I walked out of Walmart.
I resolved to never again shop at Walmart, because this corporate monolith has not just profit but social control at the forefront of its operating model.
I had put more than $300 worth of groceries on the conveyor belt at the register, and included in that stash of groceries was one six-pack of Michelob Lime-Cactus beer. The cost of that beer was $6.87. I have bought beer with my groceries at Walmart all over the United States without incident.
My wife was with me, as was our daughter. I am 53. My wife is 35. Our daughter is nine years old. The clerk, a very typical blue-collar Walmart employee, proceeded to ask for not only for my ID but my wife’s ID as well.
I looked at the clerk incredulously. “You want both of our IDs?” the cashier insisted that she did. I asked why and she replied, “it’s the law.” I responded to her that it was not the law, the law required only the presentation of one ID and that there was actually no reason to bother customers with the request of two IDs.
The cashier immediately whined, “Look, I’m just doing my job.”
I never vex rank and file employees with such issues, as it's beyond their pay grade and unfair to hassle them with it. I immediately -- and nicely -- asked for a manager, whereupon another cashier walked up and told me that it was indeed the law that they require two IDs.
I asked for a manager again, and said that I didn’t wish to speak to a low-level employee about the issue. I explained that I was a criminal defense lawyer, and that I knew exactly what the law was with respect to the sale of alcohol as I dealt with such cases on a weekly basis.
Understand, for me at this point the issue was no longer about the alcohol. It’s was about the issue of social control and of this corporate oligarchy that is taking over our nation. It used to be you had to just present your ID, and now they want to scan it because it has a barcode and they want to take down your information because they want a database of who is buying their beer. Contrast that with Europe, where there is no drinking age on the books in many countries.
This big brother mentality is a further eroding the freedom that made this country great. First alcohol, what’s going to be next? Are they going want your ID and scan it when you buy meat? Will the do-gooders who are anti-meat push through legislation and the next thing we have is a regulation on who can and can’t buy meat? The city of New York is already attempting to ban the sale of soft drinks. Other states are discussing banning sugared foods. This is nothing more than a continuous eroding of the simple freedoms that made the United States the beacon of freedom throughout the world.
Quite frankly, I’m pretty much a son of a bitch when it comes to issues like this. It’s not that I want to be an ass about it, but I’m trying to make a point whenever something like this comes up.
So, finally a customer service manager type approached and promptly informed me that it’s not the law but it’s Walmart’s new corporate policy that whenever someone is buying alcohol they have to present ID for each adult present at the sale.
I asked, “So you’re telling me that you’ve taken it upon yourself as corporation to enforce the use of the alcohol that you’re selling?”
The customer service manager informed me that Walmart had adopted the policy because “sometimes people buy alcohol and they give it to people who are under age.”
So there you have it. Walmart has decided that it's their responsibility to make sure not only that they sell you the alcohol properly but that you use it properly. Now, whatever corporate moron thought this up apparently didn’t realize that Walmart was expressly taking on the responsibility for the use of the alcohol by their customers, thereby opening themselves up to the enormous legal liability. But hey, if Walmart wants to do that, let him. I’m sure that my brother lawyers who are in the lawsuit game would be more than happy to sue Walmart since Walmart seems to want to be responsible for the usage of the alcohol that it sells.
This is so moronic it’s not even funny. I go to the liquor store to buy hard liquor and I’m never carded. Why? Because I look like what I am. I’m a 53-year-old man. It’s kind of funny, because as the Walmart manager was insisting to me this was Walmart’s new corporate policy, the little screen on the register had the question, “Is cust over 40?”
So, clearly I was over 40. Because my wife is youthful in appearance, the corporate oligarchs and their minions at Walmart decided to quibble about getting my wife’s ID. I look at the manager and I said, “my nine-year-old is right here, do you want her ID to?”
The CSM said to me, “don’t be ridiculous. She’s a child.”
“So what you’re telling me is you want to take responsibility for whether or not I provide alcohol to someone who’s under age but looks of-age but you’re perfectly okay with me purchasing alcohol with a child with me because you’re making the assumption I’m not going to give it to the child?”
Clearly, logic was lost on these Walmart employees and indeed was lost on the morons at Walmart management to start up the scheme.
I explained to the CSM that if that was Walmart policy that I was leaving my $300 worth of groceries on the conveyor and walking out of the store and never again shopping at Walmart ever again.
I already didn’t like Walmart and I'd already begun phasing out shopping there. I already didn’t like Walmart years ago when they quibbled with you about the content of the film you took there to develop. Walmart used to report people to the police if their film had pictures of naked babies in the bathtub. Kiddie porn!
I already didn’t like Walmart for the way they interrogate you when you try to buy spray paint or other chemicals. I don’t care if other people sniff inhalants. I need to paint my rusty chair!
I already didn’t like the substandard quality of their meat. I already didn’t like the fact that Walmart uses carbon monoxide injected into their packaging to prevent old meet from looking old. I already didn’t like the hothouse produce that they sell. I already didn’t like the fact that Walmart has single-handedly shut down mom-and-pop grocery stores all over the world. And contrary to their marketing, I have found that Walmart is often more expensive then the neighborhood Fresh Market, Target, Publix, and Whole Foods stores. I’ve taken to shopping at these other markets simply because their quality is so much better and often their prices are the same or cheaper.
And my wife and I have found locally owned small grocery stores to shop at. That’s the best of all.
I may be just one person, but I’m not giving one more dime to the oligarchs at Walmart. They can take their social control and stick it up their asses.
Oh, and for the record, I went immediately to Target and bought the same groceries, including the beer. I was carded by a nice young clerk who scanned my card and thanked me without comment. And I spent almost 1/3 less at Target for the same goods.