Monday, 26 November 2007

Age Concern

Waitrose for me is becoming like that mermaid on the rocks winking to sailors. I really shouldn’t, mustn’t, cannot go in there – the budget really doesn’t extend to sodding £4 on blackberries, however lovely and plump they appear to look. But there is something about the supermarket that lures me in every time, as it is just there, and so handy, and so clean, and so I ended up popping in to buy friend C a bottle of wine for cooking up a feast for everyone last night.

Now, the background to this story is that I used to get ID’d all the time for really silly things – I was told I needed my parents signature for an adult bus pass when I was 20, I was refused a lottery scratch card (16 and over) when I was 24. Needless to say when I smoked, buying cigarettes could be a trial, as was sometimes getting served in a bar. But the last time I had been ID’d for anything was a fair few years ago, and finally I was beginning to think my age had caught up with me. Fair do’s, I thought, it had been a good run.

So it was a surprise when the lady behind the till asked me how old I was. I laughed; feeling flattered, and said oh I’m 32. She gave me a quizzical look and asked if I had any ID, at which point I thought if I was 17 and trying to sneak a bottle of Rioja, surely it’s a bit of a stretch to say you are 32? Out loud I explained I only had my debit card, and she said she’d have to get her supervisor. I was like, o-kay… as the queue behind me shifted and murmured.

The worse thing was I was actually starting to feel a bit shifty, like I really was under-age and trying it on. I did that sort of wan smile you give to the queue when it is being held up due to your transaction. No one smiled back, I noticed.

The supervisor came over, asked my age, and again I said 32, thinking surely here be the voice of reason. But still she asked me for supporting ID, which I explained I had stopped carrying about ten years ago. We sort of looked at each other a bit and then she said it was ok to go ahead. She must have spied a wrinkle.

I was still packing up with a bit of a red face when the old boy behind me in the queue moved down the conveyor belt to pack his own purchases away. “I’d have served you,” he said with a smile, and I did an answering grin of thanks before getting out of the shop and thinking hang on a minute, that wasn’t exactly a compliment!


musicobsessive said...

Oh Dear! What have we come to? There was a case in the papers recently along similar lines. A 50something woman was refused an alcohol purchase because she couldn't prove her age. Luckily her 25 year old daughter could - but the assistant still refused to serve the daughter in case she passed the purchase on to her mother!! You couldn't make it up!

Jayne Ferst said...

Wahahaha! Oh that is funny!

I admit, having worked at one time the other side of the till, that it can be hard to judge how old people are, and there are so many strict fines for you and the shop should you let someone through the net that no wonder people are vigilant. But vigilance is one thing, madness is another!