Those pigs at Piggly Wiggly ‘choose’ prejudice

Robin Humbert

A travesty has occurred: discrimination has hit close to home. Last term The Lawrentian printed a letter about a young woman’s mistreatment at Denny’s. Unfortunately, I have a similar story to tell. I was refused service at the Piggly Wiggly on College Avenue for what I can only assume to be age discrimination.It was Friday, about a month after my twenty-first birthday, when I went there to purchase an alcoholic beverage. The store manager who checked me out spent some time looking at my valid driver’s license. After inspecting it, he did not believe it to be legitimate, as it was from Illinois and was “shoddy.” He graciously offered to sell me the limes I was planning to buy, but without my beverage I assured him that was not necessary, and I left.

After going to two other stores and not finding the beverage I wanted, I returned to the Piggly Wiggly with my birth certificate (complete with water seal). The manager would not accept it, claiming it was not a valid form of identification, even in addition to my driver’s license and school ID. To get a passport and leave or enter the country, one needs only two forms of identification. The manager, however, made it seem that buying alcohol in Wisconsin is actually a more important, riskier ordeal.

Not only did I have three forms of legitimate identification, but I also offered to call a police officer to come verify the validity of my being. The manager still refused, giving no reasonable explanation. He kept repeating that my license was from out of state and that he could refuse to sell because the store policy is as follows: When in doubt, accept only a Wisconsin license or ID card.

He told me not to bother calling a police officer because even if I did, to cure any doubt of illegitimacy, he would still choose not to serve me. Yes, he used the word “choose.” To him, it was a choice not to serve me: not his job, not his duty, but his choice.

When the corporate district manager was alerted of the discrepancy between the manager’s actions and his place in the law (claiming he had more authority than a police officer to choose who to sell to whether or not they are of age), the district manager condoned his behavior. I am still in the process of righting the wrong via e-mail with the manager, but she has ceased responding and is now ignoring my efforts. I hope that by letting my message and cry for equality be heard, it may prevent further age discrimination in the future.