For those who follow this blog or follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I recently began calling Austin, Texas my home.

A part of relocating is updating my car’s tags and getting an in-state license.

When I did go apply for my driver’s license, they confiscated my old ID and gave me a temporary license.

“It’ll be eight to ten weeks before you get your official one.” they said.

I thought nothing of it.

I then went to my local Wag-A-Bag convenience store to pick up (I’m ashamed to say) a pack of cigarettes.

“Are you over thirty?” the clerk asked.

“Nope.” I replied.

“Then I need to see some ID.”

I pulled out my temporary, and the clerk asked me, “Do you have anything else?”

I didn’t, so the clerk refused to sell me the item. “I’m sorry, it’s Wag-A-Bag policy that we don’t accept temporary IDs.”

I pleaded, “But this is legal identification.”

“I’m sorry.” the clerk replied.

Not wanting to give up, I placed an e-mail on Wag-A-Bag.com asking for clarification on their license policy.

Their response did little to further my understanding on the dilemma.

This is our reasoning for the current policy:

1. WAG*A*BAG makes every effort to avoid sales of alcohol or
tobacco to underage customers
2. A scan able form of ID is usually a legal form of ID as far as
date of birth
3. If the employee has to scan before selling, the employee does
not have to rely on their math skills.
4. We want to give our employees every tool possible to protect
them from making an illegal transaction.

The third point is what’s sticking out. Employees don’t have to make the decision or not if a customer is underage if the identification is scanned.

The e-mail continues:

We realize this policy can offend some of our customers when they are waiting for a permanent form of ID. But we cannot think of a way to tell our employees when they can take an ID or not take it. So the most consistent policy is- “no scan” “No sale.”

To put this “No scan, no sale” to the test, I went to the same Wag-A-Bag store. This time I was armed with my United States Passport (yes, the very same form of identification that legally allows me to leave and enter the country).

“I’m sorry sir, but unless you have something I can scan, I can’t help you.” the clerk replied.

“You realize your refusing official United States identification right?” I asked the clerk.

“I’m sorry sir, it’s Wag-A-Bag policy.”

Conclusion

I can see where Wag-A-Bag is coming from: they are trying to keep alcohol and cigarettes out of the hands of those not old enough, while giving the clerks the freedom not to discern whether someone is old enough or not.

However, the refusal of my Passport was just a slap in the face of common sense. This place is officially stricter than the TSA on matters of identification.

As a side note, I went to my local Walgreens to get what I needed. They accepted my temporary ID, and laughed when I asked if they needed to see my Passport.