I may be unemployed at present (and indeed have been for the vast majority of the past two years), but that doesn’t mean I’m not making every effort to find gainful employ where possible. On occasion, I do temporary work through Manpower, and one of their particular engagements is the BARS Program. As part of this program, I visit various gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, bars, restaurants, and other places selling alcohol and/or tobacco, and make sure that they are carding according to their policies. I finished one of these routes today.
Unusually, I handed out all green cards this afternoon. Green cards are the ‘Good job, you carded me!’ token, and red cards are the slap-on-the-wrist ‘Do better next time’ tokens. My understanding is that getting two red cards in the space of a year or two will also mean the loss of your job. However, I am apparently rather well-known at the BARS headquarters for my unusually high number of red cards. In fact, they asked me to shave my beard in an attempt to get more green cards, which I refused (I did trim it, but I would fit in with a crowd of fourteen-year-olds without my beard. Just take a gander at the picture to the left) [Rank: E-3, this was taken during AIT, and we had been told to take our rank pins off because we were doing hand-to-hand training, and then told ‘Nevermind, we’re doing pictures!’].
When I called yesterday to let them know I’d be completing the route today, the lady said, “I just need you to give out more green cards than red cards.” To which I responded, “I just have to say, if I’m giving out red cards, it’s because they deserved a red card. The policy IS carding under 30, and there is no way in hell I look older than 30, even with the beard.” In fact, to those who I’ve handed red cards, I offer the following advice when they try to claim I somehow look older than 30, “If you think I look older than 30, I’d recommend you start carding anyone who looks under 40.” Take a look at the picture to the right, as I’m sure you’ll agree, there is no way in a blue moon rising over a frozen hell on February 29th that I look older than 40.
While I personally believe that alcohol should be allowed for any age under responsible parental supervision (much of the draw to alcohol for teens and young adults is the fact that it’s prohibited), and do allow my wife to drink with me (though I allow less now that she’s pregnant), the law of the land is that the drinking age is 21. Our society is not capable of responsibly teaching young adults how to act like adults – hence why we have so many college students partying and drinking and fornicating away their youth – and so, the law must stand. I help ensure that retailers are following that law, and give encouragement and/or education to the retail workers who have to work within that law, and that, I feel, is a cause I can be proud of. And it is truly far better for someone to get a red card from me, than to be handcuffed and fined by the police.