Not my ID-ea of a good time

| May 21, 2011
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Oh spring just brings out the best in people, doesn’t it? It’s so much fun to spend hours outside while the days start to get longer and warmer, and who doesn’t enjoy a cocktail this time of year? I, for one, am all about it. I am NOT all about obnoxious midshipmen and their families with a false sense of entitlement.

At dinner this evening, a co-worker approached me about a questionable couple seated close to the bar, trying to order alcoholic beverages. He explained that he wasn’t comfortable serving them because, when he asked for ID, they both had vertical Virginia licenses. When he explained that he couldn’t accept the IDs, they started to get huffy. I was standing at the bar listening and decided to chime in. “I am so sorry, but it is our policy not to accept any form of vertical identification”. They tried to argue that in Virginia you were not allowed to get a horizontal ID until your license expired. False, it is your choice whether or not to get a new ID, and if I was residing in Virginia, I wouldn’t rush to get it changed but knowing that most Maryland establishments have adopted the policy of refusing any and all forms of vertical IDs, I would do my damnedest to get a replacement ASAP.

When I tried to explain that most places in Maryland will not accept vertical driver’s licenses and asked if they had another form of ID, the lady handed me her military ID.  At this point I’m thinking to myself “Why didn’t you just give me this in the first place, Einstein?”. I’ve seen plenty of military IDs in my years working in Annapolis and when I flipped the card over to check the birth date, it was conveniently covered up or “misprinted”, as I was informed, and the date wasn’t even legible except for “9N”. OK, so now I’ve seen two forms of ID, one vertical and established as unacceptable, and another with the birth date blocked out. Most customers probably would have accepted their fate and decided that that one glass of wine maybe just wasn’t worth it, but nooooo, in walk Mom and Dad to join the young couple. Once hearing their daughter pout and complain because she can’t have a glass of wine, the mother corners me in the back and interrogates me. After I go through my conversation again, mother looks at me and says “those two are most likely going to Afghanistan next year and you’re going to deny them a drink?”  I don’t care if you’re the Queen of England, I’m not going to risk my job or my liquor license taking a risk on serving potential minors.

It only got worse from there….now it was Dad’s turn, How dare I refuse daddy’s little girl. He tried all of these:

  • “Oh you’re the manager, I’m sure you can let it slide”
  • “so if you can read the number 9 on her military ID card than that must mean she was born in 1989”
  • “I’m not a cop and no one is going to say anything”

These were just three of the responses I got out of daddy dearest. I tried to politely tell him that we could get fined, or lose our liquor license. I told him that I would lose my job; and, if it were me personally and I had a “misprinted” military ID, I would get a new card, carry around a passport or get my license changed to a universally acceptable horizontal format.

The family stormed out demanding my name and threatening to call the owner. Well that’s an awkward conversation “I’m angry because one of your employees refused to serve my daughter alcohol because she didn’t have proper identification.” Let me know how that one goes!

After doing a little research of my own, thanks to Google, texting a former bartender friend of mine, and swinging past my local watering hole to speak with the “head of security”, all assured me that vertical ID’s were universally unaccepted in Maryland. My bouncer friend said that the only catch to this clause would be if the person in question had a military ID. Explaining the situation with the unreadable date of birth, everyone around unanimously agreed that “the bitch was crazy”.

So for all of you under-agers or barely-legals out there, think twice before you mess with the hand of the (restaurant) law. Any bartender or server can refuse to sell you alcohol without any reason what-so-ever, and many establishments have their own policies that they follow regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol. I have sat through many pain-stakingly boring seminars highlighting the dangers of alcohol, and believe me when I say that consuming alcoholic beverages was the last thing that this family should EVER be doing.

Also, one last piece of advice that we can thank a close dear friend of mine for:

If you are trying to obtain a fake ID, please do not spend $90 over-nighting an envelope of $200 cash to China. Not only are they going to laugh at you, so will all of your friends. Love you, K  :)

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Category: COLUMNS, Entertainment, LIFE IN THE AREA, OPINION, Rant

About the Author ()

I graduated with an Art degree from a small liberal arts college, did a bit of traveling and moved to Annapolis from Baltimore about seven years ago. I currently manage a well-known Annapolis restaurant, serve and bartend. I live downtown and I like sunsets and long walks on the beach :)

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