My fellow Baby Boomers, the next time you have to whip out your ID in the Kroger checkout or at the CVS counter to buy that bottle of Pinot or six-pack of Stroh's, just smile and consider it a compliment.
You see, we can all now say we're no longer part of the problem; we're part of the solution.
At least that's what the Indiana State Excise Police are telling us these days. The Excise Police released a compliance survey this week that indicates the new state law requiring everyone who purchases alcohol to flash their ID, regardless of age, is curbing illegal sales of alcohol to minors.
To begin with, requiring the carding of everyone seemed fair enough to me. How else can you divide the age groups without an issue? We all know people who look much younger than their age (think Dick Clark, once America's "oldest teenager") or older than their age. One of our girls will be 24 this April yet just recently a store clerk in Chicago basically ignored her interest in a major wardrobe purchase because the woman thought Emily was 16. Come on, she doesn't look a day younger than 18.
The carding law was openly ridiculed when it took effect last July, but statistics (Yea, I know, they're for liars, as in "lies, damn lies and statistics") show a one-third drop in illegal alcohol sales to minors over the first six months of regulation.
The regulation hasn't really cost most of us more than a couple extra seconds in line. You just have to get used to pulling your driver's license out of your wallet the same time you hunt for your Kroger Plus card or that CVS Extra Card card (as a side note, please hunt for these cards before you are asked ... especially if you're in the Kroger line in front of me). After all, showing your ID has become commonplace when you travel. Just think about your liquor purchase being your own little magical mystery tour.
I am joking, of course.
Each time I have to show my ID to buy wine for the wife, I kid the clerk and tell him or her "It's a good thing I just celebrated my 21st birthday." Obviously, I'm beyond even the 21st anniversary of my 21st birthday but the quip has yet to fail to produce a double-take by the clerk, who looks at me and looks at my ID photo and looks at me again until I think I'm in that rapid-fire Old Spice commercial.
Seriously though, the Excise Police say non-compliance at liquor stores has dropped from 41 percent to just 8 percent. It's even better at grocery stores (5 percent) and drugstores (3 percent).
"The numbers don't lie," Excise spokesman Jenny Fults assured WRTV/Channel 6 the other night. "We received a lot of backlash over the law, but we can't deny it has been a good thing for the industry."
So good that the senior citizen furor has died down enough that a bill that would no longer require the carding of customers "who appear older than 40" failed to pass in the State Senate.
Good thing that bill died. Imagine being a clerk and not carding some 35-year-old woman because you thought she looked "older than 40." Buddy, you'd be calling more than the Excise Police after that one ...