Now let me preface this by saying that the following rant is in no way directed toward our local wine merchant, the always courteous and helpful staff or its excellent selection of wines, beers and liquors. No, this one's for you, Indiana, so listen up!
So my number 1 gal and I swung by the Village Bottle Shoppe yesterday to pick up a couple of items and I was rather surprised to have been asked to present a photo ID. I wasn't surprised because I shop there every week and am becoming a familiar sight wandering the isles in search good wine bargains. Nor was I surprised because I am pretty clearly over 21 years of age. Hey, I get it; this is a college town and the store has to watch its ass. There's a perfectly clear sign at the register explaining that they card everyone. In other words, my 65-year-old dad, who on his best day couldn't pass for 40, isn't getting any gin without some proof that he was born before August 1989. I do find it a bit much that one is required to provide TWO forms of ID, but all right: college town, fake IDs, fine.
No, what really gets me is being carded considering the nature of the items in question:
A jar of maraschino cherries
A jar of anchovy-stuffed olives
To be fair, the clerk was a bit embarrassed, even letting me forego the second ID. But what the fuck!? The only thing I could think of was that there must have been trace amounts of alcohol in one of the jars. Some olives are packed with vermouth for explicit use in martinis. The cherries too could be pickling in some sort of cordial. Alas, Alex read aloud the ingredients as the McBonemobile sped away:
Cherries: cherries, water, corn syrup, sugar, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, preserved with sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, red 40, sulfur dioxide
Olives: Manzanilla olives, water, minced anchovy* (anchovy, sodium alginate, guar gum, calcium chloride, citric acid), salt, monosodium glutemate and lactic acid. Notice: olives may contain pits
Not a drop of alcohol to be found. So, Indiana is not only carding geriatrics, requiring two IDs and, goddammit, not selling on Sundays, the Hoosier State is also requiring an ID for FOOD. Obviously these particular foods items are marketed toward drinkers, but they are, nonetheless, food. Still, I have to conclude that I would have been denied these mostly innocuous items if I happened to be a 20-year-old. I wonder, would I have received the same treatment for some of their other offerings? A bag of chips? A Slim Jim? What about a copy of this month's Wine Spectator?
Such is the legacy of Prohibition. Few are those who remember that dark time in our nation's history, but these endangered ancients, without the proper ID, would be stonewalled at the Village Bottle Shoppe, even if all they wanted was a measly cocktail onion.
Christ, Indiana. Get a life.
*To which Alex exclaimed: ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!