By Patty Steele
So, if I were the type of woman who bought beer for 17 year old boys, how would I go about it? Would I bring my own young children into a grocery store, along with Alex, the striking 17 year old son of my best friend, load up on groceries for 10 people, and then try to buy expensive imported beer to hand over to said 17 year old? That's what I was suspected of last weekend when I approached the check out at the Grand Union in Schroon Lake NY. With the check out loaded with pounds of burgers and hot dogs, salad stuff, cleaning supplies, and, yes, beer . . . not to mention the giant bouncy balls Alex and my daughter Katie were playing with, I was asked for an ID for not just myself, but for Alex.
I'm old enough to buy beer myself, I said, feeling flattered at first.
But you have to prove you're not buying it for him, I was told.
Huh? He's my best friend's son!
But he looks like he could be 21 so we need his ID.
He's 17, I said forcefully and this is not his beer. Why would he carry an ID?
Well, you can't buy the beer since he's with you, I was told.
But if I was going to buy beer for some kid, why would I bring him into the store with me . . . and my children . . . and buy all this other stuff. Clearly I have a houseful of people!
Well I'm not losing my ass over your beer, was her ladylike reply.
Then the manager arrives. Sorry, said he, store policy.
Then another couple in line offered to buy the beer for me, and they were threatened by the store clerks, who were circling their wagons.
Then a separate guy in line says to the manager, "Don't you agree this is a stupid policy?"
It's just the policy, the manager said.
I realized I was up against a bureaucratic mindset and decided to cut my losses and leave sans beer. Other customers were still arguing with the clerks as I left, Alex bouncing his big ball behind me and feeling very cool that he could pass for almost 21. All was not lost -- thanks to Stewart's -- not only do they have excellent ice-cream (as my family discovered) but they also carry beer -- and a six pack of common sense. We bought the beer and Alex helped me carry it out to my car. No questions asked.
A memorable Memorial Day indeed.
This guest post was written by New York radio personality Patty Steele. She's a first time visitor to Schroon Lake and vows to come again. However Patty won't be buying beer at Grand Union.