College– a time during most students’ lives when they are finally able to purchase alcohol–but what happens during the process of the purchase?
According to Keene State College students, turning 21 does not mean the struggle of buying alcohol is over. Buying alcohol in the Keene area once becoming of age can still prove to be difficult. Walmart, one of the closest stores to buy beer at a cheap price for students, seemed to spark up strong emotions from KSC students.
KSC junior and 21-year-old Arabella Littlefield said the cashiers at Walmart can be “rude and excessive.” Littlefield said when she bought alcohol for the first time around mid-July, the cashier looked at her and said, “You look like you’re 12, I’m going to need to see some identification.” Littlefield said she eagerly handed over her identification, excited to finally be able to put it to good use.
Littlefield said, “Of course I am going to be carded forever, I just turned 21.” After Littlefield handed over the ID, the cashier started “bending the ID in half” in order to ensure the identification was real. After some time had passed with the ID still in question, Littlefield said she asked the cashier, “Why would anyone give you a fake New Hampshire ID in New Hampshire?”
In response, the cashier said, “You’d be surprised.” Littlefield described her as “incredibly rude.”
After viewing the identification herself, the cashier decided to call for another employee in order to verify the identification. Littlefield said, “If this is going to be a hassle, I will go elsewhere,” to which the cashier responded with, “No, I need to take the identification if it is fake.”
Once the identification was verified by a second employee, Littlefield said she was on her way. According to Littlefield, “I understand this is a college town and I may look young, but my ID is an in-state ID, the whole situation was excessive and there is no reason to be rude about it.”
Assuring minors are not purchasing alcohol is a serious concern, especially in a college town. Keene Walmart Store Manager Adam Rizzo said, “It is a right of our cashiers to request identification, we are following the law.” After informing Rizzo of problems KSC students have experienced in the store, Rizzo said, “As long as we are able to identify that the buyer of alcohol is with a party, we have a right to request identification of the people involved.”
Littlefield was not the only KSC student who felt disrespected by Walmart. KSC sophomore and 20-year-old Amanda Torrisi was involved in a similar situation.
During move-in day, Torrisi’s father, Joe Torrisi, 49, said he felt like he was being violated after some back-to-school shopping at Walmart for his daughter took a turn for the worse. Joe said he decided to buy himself a bottle of wine while he was in the store and during checkout, the cashier asked for the ID of his daughter. Joe said he did not appreciate this. “An underage cashier has no business asking what I am doing with my alcohol,” Joe said. “In my point of view, it was as if the cashier was accusing me of committing a crime, a crime that she has no proof of.” When asked how Joe felt after being able to purchase the bottle of wine, Joe said, “It’s insulting.”
KSC junior and 21-year-old Jamie Dellot reminisced upon her boyfriend being refused alcohol because of her presence. According to Dellot, “My boyfriend and I went to Walmart and I forgot my ID. Even though the cashier had served me alcohol earlier in the day, my boyfriend was unable to purchase a 12-pack of beer because I was unable to provide identification.” Considering the highly enforced protocol regarding the purchase of alcohol at Walmart, Dellot started to notice little things occurring in the store. Dellot said, “I’ve noticed employees wearing street clothes observing customers, noticing who buys alcohol by themselves or with others.”
Although the protocol at Walmart may be upsetting customers, one would think it is resulting in minors not being able to purchase alcohol illegally, underage.
John Piatelli can be contacted at email@example.com