With my birthday coming up, I wanted to relay a story that happened the day before my 41st birthday.

I was at a big box store, and when beer went across the scanner, the machine beeped, and I was asked for my ID. Here is the message at the register.

Alcohol Carding Policy

Needless to say, that completely made my day! (Of course the grammar/punctuation checker in me screamed out at the quotation marks around the number. Then again this store also has cringe-worthy “10 items or less” signs.)

That got me thinking about the first time I was ever carded: my 22nd birthday.

Now I know my ma might try to argue with me, so I wanted to tell the story of my 21st birthday.

Ma and Tom were incredibly generous and took me and two friends out to see Tom’s cousin perform and drink (why is this the second alcohol-related story I’ve told about them?). We weren’t carded at the door as expected, so Ma told the bouncer it was my 21st birthday, so they had me pull out my ID. That doesn’t count!

Tammy's 21st b-day
I figured it was safe to post a picture of me drinking literally half a lifetime ago.

We had a lot of fun that night!

Flash forward nine years, when I first moved to England and I worked as a bar maid at a pool hall until my coursework became too strenuous. I was told by management that I was supposed to card everyone that looked too young, because if there was a violation, the bar wouldn’t pay my fine. I responded that I was gong to card everyone since they all looked too young – completely understandable with the drinking age being only 18! There is an added hitch to this policy: Because there is no requirement to carry ID in the UK, even when driving, no one does. If I challenged someone, it meant I would have to kick them out because even if they were old enough, they wouldn’t be able to prove it.

Fortunately for all of us, my coworkers agreed I wouldn’t have door duties, so the problem was averted.

What a strange twist to an American – being placed in a situation where it would be a bad thing to be carded!

When was the last time you got carded? or How did you celebrate your 21st birthday? Am I the only one to celebrate that day with parents?

6 thoughts on “Carded”

  1. I love getting carded, since the last time I did so was probably the night I turned 21. Seriously, though, most clubs (that I’ve been to) card these days. I got carded on my 39th birthday because the place offered me no cover if I proved it.

    I don’t remember my 21st birthday, and not because I was too drunk. We had been going to the bars since I had been 18 – I always looked older and stuck to the places that didn’t card heavily. I just don’t think I did anything on my 21st. Maybe went out with friends. It was a weird time in my life.


    1. Being the little rule follower that I always have been, I never went out before my 21st. Well, I did go to a friend’s 21st before I had my birthday, but that was an at-home party. That seemed like an accept rule breaking situation since I didn’t have to lie about my age. Everyone there knew it. 🙂


  2. I’ve never been lucky in not getting carded at bars. I just look too young. Even now I get carded as I was just carded a couple of days ago. I guess that’s alright – I’ll look young for a while then. I don’t really drink much anymore so I don’t know how long it will last.


    1. You could always think of it that you’ve been very lucky by always getting carded. Looking young is coveted in our society.

      I looked older than my age when I was younger and now I look younger than my age. I think it is the best of both worlds. I got lucky in the gene department … for the moment.


  3. I love reading about your adventures in England and elsewhere! We didn’t get carded over the weekend so… I must be no longer young looking and now umm mature. 🙂


    1. If only getting older did make us more mature! Then again, I think life would be pretty darned boring if everyone did the expected, respect adult thing.

      (And thanks for the HUGE compliment!)


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