Yesterday evening I went to Walmart for a few things. Let me first say I’m not a Walmart regular, but I needed some things cheap, so I wanted to do a quick in and out. Even for someone like me who typically doesn’t mind busy store crowds, Walmart can be a different beast. Fast. Let’s get this done. I did not expect the holdup I got.
Greyson requested some beer. I steered my big blue cart down America’s biggest retailer’s coldest aisle to find my husband a six-pack. I also grabbed my seasonal favorite, Samuel Adams Cold Snap. I wanted my own brew to enjoy during the NCAA tournament. I stacked the beer in the cart with diapers, some things for Easter Baskets and store brand Clorox wipes. I found two lanes of the store’s 25 actually open. A young woman waved me to her line.
She began pulling my items off the conveyor belt. She got to the beer and said, “Do you have ID?” I paused and almost looked around for a second. Was she talking to me? I laughed and gave the obligatory, corny 30-something response to this. “Wow! You made my day.” I reached for my purse. Then I stopped. “Oh! No, I’m so sorry. I’ve lost my drivers license. I’ve ordered a new one.”
This is all true, but the clerk still eyed me suspiciously. She said, “You look really young. I can’t sell you this. ” I gaped at her in disbelief. Was this happening? I smiled and said, “Um, I’m 33. 34 is fast approaching.” She said, “Yeah. No. Sorry.”
I laughed before delivering this diatribe:
“Okay. I was born in 1981, early in the Reagan administration. I remember where I was when the O.J. Simpson verdict came down. Anyone who was sitting in their civics classroom when that happened is old enough to buy a six pack. I was young, but I even have vague memories of the Challenger explosion. I had New Kids On The Block t-shirts and saw ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘Jerry McGuire’ in the theater. I graduated high school in 1999 and college in 2003, before the economic downturn. I more closely identify with Gen X than Millennials, but don’t believe I’m either, really. It’s called being stuck between generations.”
She looked around hesitantly. Possibly because I’m a crazy person who delivers speeches at the checkout. I continued.
“I have two kids.”
She stared at me and looked down at the beer. Oh, right. 19 year-olds can have kids too. I’m sure a lot of them buy diapers at Walmart. That wasn’t helping my argument.
“My husband is 40!”
She said, “Ma’m I can’t sell you this without ID.” There was no way this was really happening. I said, “Do you really think I look 20 or under?” She said, “I can get a manager, but it’s store policy.”
I laughed and told her it was fine. I looked in the mirror when I got in the car. I wasn’t wearing any makeup. Maybe that’s why I looked younger? I decided to take it as a complement. I told my husband what a hot, young wife he had as I sent him out to buy his own beer.
I had picked a fine craft brew for him. What did he come home with? Coors Light and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. What is he? A 19-year-old girl? No, but his wife sure looks like she is!