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Walmart Identification Policy Is This For Real?

Posted Fri August 7, 2009 12:00 pm, by . written to Walmart

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I am a US citizen living in New Zealand. I went to the Walmart store in Grinnell, IA at approximately 1:30am to purchase a six pack of beer and some beef jerky and had no idea the following situation would ever occur. I am still in complete disbelief.
A customer in front of me could not make his purchase because lack of funds card so a second checker was called to assist. She made no attempt to ask me if I would like to checkout and the customer behind me proceeded to go to her to checkout. (1st lack of customer care). I then shifted as the checker continued to wait for the customer to go to the ATM and said nothing to me.(2nd case of lack of customer care). I put my 6 pack of beer and beef jerky on the counter and the cashier asked me for my ID. I presented her with my valid New Zealand drivers license and she then proceeded to tell me that it was not legal and if I got caught by the police it would not be legal. Now I have a cashier with a law degree and knows international standards for identification and operating a motor vehicle (yeah right!) I proceeded to explain to her that it is valid to use in the US for a year which is the international standard for developed countries. She said I will have to call my manager which she did. This cocky young fellow came to the station and she said to him it's your decision you can accept it if you want. WOW she really is a lawyer. He then said we cannot accept this as a form of identification only US drivers license and US passports are excepted and that is Walmart policy. I then stated you mean to tell me you don't recognize or sell to international customers and he said NO! I said that is FN ridiculous and you will loose a load of business because of it. He stated it's Walmart policy and I am sorry if you feel that way. So from now on all international customers in the US and abroad need to rethink supporting a company that doesn't recognize or allow foreigners spending money in there stores and they don't care if you don't like it. Go someplace else was basically the attitude. Went to a convienence store and had no problem didn't even get asked for my ID as I have a significant amount of gray hair and I was on my own so no excuse for the purchasing for minors scenario as Walmart also likes to dictate based on other blogs.

May Walmart Crumble!! Without foreigners Walmart would collapse. If they didn't have the slave trade in China and every other developing country that they go in and exploit child labour and create a dumping ground of toxic waste from chemicals and cheap manufacturing processes.
As well as selling inferior products to people of foreign descent who think they are getting a quality product and think they are doing the right thing by possibly supporting a family member who works for these clowns.
I don't know why I even bothered going into the disgraceful place. Unfortunately the little local grocery store McNally's had closed at an earlier in the evening.
Sam Walton started a company that seemed to have values and respect for humans now it has nothing of the sort they are a huge bureaucratic juggernaut that needs to go down like the Titanic.


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by tibiann Posted Wed September 9, 2009 @ 9:48 PM

Tonight I came home from my local walmart grocery store and got online
to do a search about this very topic. I was with my 37!!! year old son
and we were getting items for a family party that we are having. He
had his I.D., i didn't bring my purse. They carded him, then they
carded me! i didn't have my ID so they refused to sell us alcohol (A 6
pack of beer and a bottle of wine) they said their policy is that
eveyone has to have ID!! I appreciate the compliment but being a
mother to 3 boys ages 34-41 certainly makes me look older than 21!! we
called the manager over and she was VERY nasty, reiterating that "yes,
everyone MUST have ID" my son had to take me home, then go back to the
store to pick the alcohol up, without me. Upon arriving at Walmart the
Manager approached him and stated "How am i supposed to know that you
aren't going to purchase the alcohol for your mother!!!" This is a
true story!!! My son is like I said earlier 37 with ID. Even if he was
10 theres a good chance that i would of been of age!

this store is the Walmart on kennedy in tampa, Florida.

by andrea f. Posted Wed August 19, 2009 @ 10:42 PM

I'm canadian and tried to buy a pack of cigarettes in brownsville
texas. The gas station wouldn't sell them to me even though I had a
driver's licence, passport and birth certificate. They had a sign on
the door that they would only accept texas driver's licences.
I went across the parking lot to walmart and they sold me a pack of
smokes. The cashier looked at my driver's licence (didn't ask me for
anything else) and kept calling it a scotland driver's licence (it's
Saskatchewan, that's where I'm from)

by DeVoidx Posted Mon August 17, 2009 @ 8:21 AM

I work at walmart.

It is true that it is up to the cashier to decide if they accept the
id or not. The cocky kid that came up to you probably wasn't a
manager, but a higher tiered cashier called a css. They get paid about
60 cents more an hour to babysit the cashiers. We are told that
acceptable forms of id are US based photo id. ie. state id cards,
drivers license, millitary id. If we want to accept other forms of id
it up to us. It is much harder to figure out if a different state's id
is fake, let alone another country.

I use common sense. If a person looks older than 30, I will sell to
them even though the register says under 40. If I get in trouble it
will all be on me.

I had a co-worker that was very strict and wouldn't sell anything that
asks for id, without id no matter how old you were. She even denied
selling ciggarettes to another co-worker, even though you have to be
18 to work in our store. And therefore had to be over 18, the age you
have to be to buy ciggs.

She used to refuse for one very good reason. Sell to an underage
person and get caught, the store doen't care. You automatically go to
jail, lose your job, and get a $1000 fine. She took it to extremes and
made me shake my head sometimes but it was her job, her

I get a lot of tourists where I work (orlando) I see grandma and
gandpa with the kids buying a smirnoff ice party pack. Do you think
it's for them or the three teenage girls behind them ? I had three
Canadian kids wanting to buy several cases of beer. They had id. but
they were only 17. When I told them I couldn't sell it to them they
said hold on, we'll get our cab driver. When I laughed and told them
that wouldn't work either. They suggested it was for their coach.
Sorry guys even if the coach came in, I wouldn't sell it to him.


by Anonymous A. Posted Thu August 13, 2009 @ 5:54 AM

grey hair means nothing. It can be inherited at young ages, I've even
seen children with grey hair. No one would ever understand that there
are strict rules,especially in certain states, unless they actually
work retail(I never understood until I actually started working for
retail). They make you sign contracts and stuff so if you get busted
you go to jail. Some offenses can be anything from allowing people to
give money that are minors,or accepting invalid IDs, to not using the
"40" and under rule. It really isn't as easy as people think it is.


by MA Cunningham Posted Wed August 12, 2009 @ 1:13 PM

Well, the presumption that there are a boatload of NZ Ex-pats running
around in IA seems far fetched, but, if you say so.

Regardless, it stands to reason that local stores can only accept
local identification to reduce the chance of people fraudulently
identifying themselves as legal. It would be hard for them to verify
that that ID is valid and legitimate, so they restrict it to only
those ID's they can verify.

If the other shop decided to accept your ID, that's their right as
well. It will be their butts on the line if it were to turn out your
ID was not, in fact, legal.

As for the inferior products - you were in a WalMart, what exactly
were you expecting?

by Ben G. Posted Wed August 12, 2009 @ 12:32 PM

The laws governing the sale of alcohol protect the
retailers/restaurants. It is a privelage to buy it, not a right.

In restaurants (at least in New York), the law allows restaurants to
deny the sale of alcohol to anyone for any reason whatsoever, whether
it be the consumer shows signs of intoxication, or if the ID doesn't
seem right. No one is entitled to it.

I would imagine the same standard applies to retail establishments,
seeing as they denied it for not recognizing the form of ID as valid.

Being the sue-happy country that we are, I am glad the law is in
place. Because as it stands right now, it always comes back to the
person serving/selling the alcohol.


by Anonymous A. Posted Mon August 10, 2009 @ 5:46 AM

Actually the cashier is right. In the U.S. , acceptable forms of IDs
are state IDs, passports, or military IDs. Some places may choose to
accept country-issued IDs, but if that breaks company policy or even
the law, than it is risking their jobs. You may not be aware since you
are from another country that a clerk who accepts an invalid form of
ID will: 1.lose their job, and 2.possibly face jail time and fines.
Most big companies put a minimum age requirement to card customers,
mostly at 40 years of age. Convenience stores aren't as strict, most
are business owners. But as far as the big chains, hey are just doing
their jobs.


by RowdyRetailer Posted Mon August 10, 2009 @ 1:52 AM

I have never drank alcohol, never had a reason to. Maybe its cause Im
cheap, who knows.

Too many innocent peoples lives are killed or injured by people that
consume alcohol.

Its sad that the drunks claim they are only "social drinkers" and they
always know when to say when.

Why does it seem that the drunk who kills someone behind the wheel
walks away with a few scratches, but the other vehicle always has dead
family members in them?

Guess its macho to slam beers, but women are slamming em now too.

I dont even like beef jerky, too grisly.

Good Day


by Aztecace Posted Sun August 9, 2009 @ 5:43 PM

Having worked in a Liquor store in Florida, have found out that they
are more regulated then other retail outlet, but when it comes to
alcohol there are rules that have to be followed. The one about ID, is
that you can take one of the following Id's a)Any valid license or
state issued Id, from any state in the US. b)Valid military Id. and
c)Valid passport from any country. Without one of these three Ids I
would not be able to sell you anything alcoholic, except maybe near
beer, or NA beer. Part of reason for this is that there would be too
many different Id's to keep track of, if we accepted ever countries
driver's lic, would be hard to check if they were valid, and not
forged. So, you should have had your passport, because I know I would
not have been able to serve you, if I thought you were underage, and
here you would have to appear to be over 35 before I could serve
without Id.


by Nate. Posted Sun August 9, 2009 @ 3:46 PM

I think you should be able to use any valid ID for a purchase. I am
totally with you. I also see the point made by other members below
about the fake ID possibility... I'm sort of undecided on this issue.

I think the common sense factor should have played in. From your
letter, you sound like you look far above 21. A valid ID in the
jurisdiction in which it was issued and the look should have been
enough... But the managers at Wal Mart don't seem to have common


Nate,,, by Anonymous A. Mon August 10, 2009 @ 5:54 AM

looks mean by Wolf Mon August 10, 2009 @ 10:38 PM

by fairywithfangs Posted Sat August 8, 2009 @ 7:03 PM

Wow, I had never heard of this before. I know a few years ago, I went
to purchace some beer with an out of state id. The cashier swiped it
though the register, I asked her why and she stated this told her if
it was an actual id or a fake one. It was in a place that would have
gotten a lot of tourists. I don't know if that is something you find
everywhere or not..but it seems like it would be convienant.


I believe by Donno Sun August 9, 2009 @ 12:26 PM

by PepperElf Posted Sat August 8, 2009 @ 10:19 AM

When I was stationed in Japan we were not allowed to drive a car
anywhere until we had a Japanese driver's license*

* well kinda. It was a special license for the military and in order
to use it we still had to have a valid state-issued driver's license.

I have honestly never heard of any "one year" policy and would have to
read the actual law before agreeing.

In my experience some word-of-mouth laws get twisted in the

For example, NY state *does* have a law that states a NY resident,
while in the military is not required to renew a driver's license
until 6 months after he or she leaves the service.

But what many NY residents DON'T realize is that you actually have to
contact the DMV and request a card from them that you have to carry
along with your wallet.

as for buying alcohol, i have been told by others that it is the
jurisdiction of the store on whether or not they will accept
out-of-state licenses. I do not know if NZ has this as well but it
could be a distinct possibility.


"I do not know if NZ has this as well". I don't see that it would matter as by Even Steven Sat August 8, 2009 @ 5:39 PM

ah i didnt notice the IA part. still i'm a bit surprised there wasn't a state ID at all by PepperElf Sun August 9, 2009 @ 2:20 AM

by Teresa B. Posted Fri August 7, 2009 @ 11:16 PM

Try living in Texas and NOT having a Texas DL and wanting to buy
alcohol. I have my Tennessee DL and have been freqeuntly denied my
purchase since I dont have a Texas DL - My TN DL will exprire my next
Bday and I will get a Texas one then - I am told that the cahsiers are
not trained on other states DL's..they wont even take my Military ID!
Despite the fact that San Antonio has more then 3 military posts here.
So if I want alochol I have to drive to Ft. Sam Houston and go to the
Class 6 to get it...needless to say I drink very little!


I don't understand by Terry F. Wed August 12, 2009 @ 10:59 AM

by Igby Posted Fri August 7, 2009 @ 6:13 PM

I work at a grocery store in Illinois. It is common practice to deny
people trying to buy alcohol with non-US issued IDs. There are so
many different types of licenses it is impossible to train every
cashier on every ID. At the grocery store I work at we have a booklet
issued by corporate of every ID we can accept for alcohol. Here's a
hint...they are the IDs from every state and other American issued
IDs. We can't even accept other countries passports. It may be legal
in the US, but that does not mean we have to take it.

It sounds like WalMart has the same policy we do. Police set up
stings and have underage people trying to get cashiers to sell them
alcohol. If someone lets them slip, the company gets fined big and so
does the cashier. Also, if someone buys alcohol and supplies it to
minors or injures someone while drunk, we can get sued. By accepting
only US-issued IDs, we cover our butts. It's not always the fairest
way, but that's what our company does.

And with the manager deferring to the cashier on whether she wanted to
make the sale or not, legally that's how it is. If a cashier asks the
question "Can I see an ID please?", we have to see it. No one else
can override that or pretend it didn't happen. I almost got caught up
with that one day, but that's a different story.

Long post short, it's not that the cashier was making these decisions.
It is all laws and company policy to cover their own butts.


non US ID by L W. Sat August 8, 2009 @ 12:57 PM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Fri August 7, 2009 @ 5:27 PM

The manager is a nitwit. So Walmarts near the U.S. borders with
Canada or Mexico will refuse to sell ID-related products to Canadians
or Mexicans who don't have a valid U.S. license? Baloney.


That's a really good question. by The Return of BellaSera Fri August 7, 2009 @ 8:12 PM

Here's how they do it by PlanetFeedback's Mr. Helpful Fri August 7, 2009 @ 8:23 PM

But grey hair is grey hair. There's a common sense element there, too. by Even Steven Fri August 7, 2009 @ 9:08 PM

Grey hair does not equal over 21. by Igby Sat August 8, 2009 @ 1:03 AM

Grey hair does not equal over 21. by CrazyRedHead Sat August 8, 2009 @ 11:37 AM

and in texas it's easier for a non-citizen to get a driver's license by PepperElf Sat August 8, 2009 @ 10:11 AM

by Donno Posted Fri August 7, 2009 @ 5:13 PM

I can understand you being upset, but I think they erred in the right
direction. Any retailer has the right to ask for identification, and
if they don't *recognize* the identification, I don't know how they
could feel right in allowing the purchase. They must be trained to
turn down a sale if they can't recognize the id presented.

I would take this as a lesson, and perhaps carry a passport with you
as well in the future if you will be having to prove your identity.

In a case like this, you will find an attitude of "go somewhere else."
The only other option is for them to break the store policy, which
defeats the whole purpose of checking id.


FN by Donno Fri August 7, 2009 @ 5:21 PM

by Just Jeffrey Posted Fri August 7, 2009 @ 4:32 PM

Policy and legal issues aside, here's the deal: most people have no
idea how to tell if an ID is real or not. Some stores have training
for employees, but that training is focused on US licenses. There is
no way for the average Wal-Mart employee to how to how fairly evaluate
a license from every single country in the world.

A place like Wal-Mart, where there are rules that employees must
follow or be fired, isn't going to have cashiers that are willing to
take the risk on guessing that you have a legit license.

All of this ties into the end of your letter. You clearly have
significant issues with Wal-Mart that go way beyond being denied the
purchase of beer. Yes, they are big and bureaucratic. If you feel as
strongly as your letter suggests, it seems like you'd already been
avoiding the place like the plague.

As you pointed out, McNally's, while otherwise lovely, has chosen not
to serve the customer by closing early in the evening. This is
exactly the reason that Wal-Mart is able to drive small businesses out
-- (some) small businesses aren't willing to stay open late, offer
lower prices, or do all the positive things that Wal-Mart offers.


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