Last week I went on a book binge at Half Price Books. It is amazing what they have for only a quarter, sometimes fifty cents. Great books that I’ve always wanted to read – it’s almost as much fun as getting a good find at a garage sale. I love that feeling of victory, as if you are conquering something great and huge by getting such a good deal.
As I stood at the counter with my $3.00 worth of books, the man at the next register was finishing up his purchase. He went to pay with his American Express card, and the cashier politely asked to see his ID.
“I do NOT have to show you my license. That is a federal crime asking for that, and I WILL NOT SHOW IT TO YOU!”
She apologized and asked him to calm down. She explained that it was management’s policy, she was just doing as she was told to do.
“Then your management IS STUPID!”
She remained calm – amazing if you ask me, because while I am a patient person, I might have just snapped by that point. Again, she asked him to calm down.
“I will NOT calm down! You do not need to see my license, that is a crime to even ask for it. Once you see my license, you have two-thirds of the information you need to steal my identity!”
She explained that she is not writing anything down, all she is doing is checking the photo and the signature. She calmly states that it is just a safety precaution, to verify that the person using the card is the legitimate owner. She tells him that she doesn’t need to see his ID though if he is not comfortable with it, she will simply complete the transaction. He can make his purchase, have his books and go home.
This is not enough to please this man.
He shows her his ID, covering the address information with his thumb. She graciously thanks him for showing it to her, quickly glances at it to reassure him that she is not copying down any pertinent information, and completes his purchase. The whole time, he is still grumbling about identity theft and how in California it is illegal to ask for ID with a credit card purchase, matter of fact it’s a federal crime. (I guess he realized he was in Texas at the moment, and California’s laws don’t matter here.)
The most amusing part for me? If you’re really so adamant about this, convinced that store clerks are going to steal your identity and all that, wouldn’t you be even more worried about the conspiracy theory ideas floating around out there and the fact that the credit card companies can track your every move based on the purchases you made? Because in the grand scheme of things, I would be a lot more worried about that. Maybe it’s just me… or maybe they really are watching all of us.