Bitch it out
Diary input: Friday 16 November 2018.
Jumbo Supermarket! They wind me up rotten!
This Jumbo is a small supermarket in my little Dutch village of Stiphout where I and my hubby shop daily. Most of the ladies at the till know us well but each and every time a new girl starts to work there, we get the: “May I have your ID please,” when we buy a bottle of wine.
Maybe I should feel flattered. After all, my husband is 58 years old and I am 48 but… it is not our looks which raises the ‘I want to see you identity card’ question. Nope… It is because I am shopping with my teenage daughters or son who are obviously under the legal drinking age.
I may be Dutch but I am not as tolerant anymore as I used to be. Life has changed me too much and I have learned to speak my mind. One look at the snippet of a girl asking me this question and I can only wonder if she herself is in fact old enough to sell me the booze in the first place.
Instead of asking her to show me her ID instead, I grumped out: “Not again, please… I am a local and my daughter and I just hopped in for a quick shop. My ID is at home, I left it in my handbag. I come here every day…”
“I have to ask you by law.” The wide-eyed girl tells me with a slight quiver in her voice.
She didn’t ask me for an ID, she asked my daughter. I couldn’t be bothered to correct her. “You don’t need to see her ID because I can tell you she is indeed under age. I am her mother.”
A little indignant sniff and ‘Blondie’ said in a determined voice: “I can’t sell you the wine.”
“Yes, you can because I am an adult.” My voice dripped with irritated impatience.
“No, I can’t because your daughter is with you…”
An older stocky woman with glasses and half long dark hair moved behind the Blonde shop assistant. Her hands in her sides, she echoed the girls’ words. “No, we can’t by law… We have to stick to the law.”
By now the eyes of many other consumers pricked into my backside.
“We have had this happen before and we checked it out, you are misinterpreting the Dutch law.”
“No, we are not…” the chunky lady sneered.
“So…” I sighed, raising the volume of my voice in the process. “Let me ask you the question… Do you ask a mother who is shopping with her three-year old for their ID or refuse to sell her the alcohol?”
“No, because we assume the three year old doesn’t drink.” Feeling safe behind the counter and slowly more Jumbo staff gathering around her to support her in dealing with this irate difficult customer…, the short sturdy woman, her hands still in her sides made herself a little taller.
“Well… there you go… You discriminate me for being the mother of under aged teenage children. You are accusing me for feeding my kids alcohol based on my looks.” I turned towards Mae, my seventeen year old. “Mae stop packing and wait outside for me.”
My eldest shot me a mischievous smile and left the shop. “Now… my daughter is out of the building. She is not here… can I pay for my shopping please?”
The solid dark haired female cut her sentence short and her mouth hung open for a full second. “But… next time we cannot do this… we cannot sell you the wine…”
“The next time I will ask my daughter to leave the shop before I go to the till, so we can still shop together as Mother and Daughter. For arguments sake, who is going to stop me from feeding my kids drunk if I was indeed that way inclined? When on my own, I can buy trolleys full of alcohol and let them drink themselves into oblivion inside my house. What makes you think you can stop this from happening by refusing to sell me three small 25 centilitre bottles of red wine because my teenage daughter happens to stand next to me in the shop?”
“We have to by law...” I no longer listened to her ongoing lame explanations and punched in my pin code.
“I am sure you are misinterpreting the Dutch law. You are the only supermarket who behaves like this. Have a good day…” I picked up my shopping bag and left the shop where Mae outside, stood waiting, grinning from ear to ear.