Gamestop ID checking (very mild)

This is fairly weak sauce, as Pittings go, but:

What the heck is up with Gamestop’s ID check policy?

I just got sworn into the Maryland bar last night, and I figured I’d earned a “you rock” gift. So, I went to Gamestop and bought a copy of Bioshock.

Now, I am a 26-year-old lawyer. When I went to the store, I was wearing a business suit, tie, and shirt with French cuffs and my old legal clinic’s official cufflinks. I’m a fairly young-looking guy - I could easily pass for a man in his early twenties, and for years I had to bring two forms of ID with me to bars in order to ensure I wouldn’t be accused of using fakes. But there is no way on Ford’s green Earth that I could pass for under 18 - almost certainly not under any circumstances, and certainly not in my lawyer costume. :slight_smile:

Nonetheless, when I went to the checkout counter, the clerk said, “ID, please.”

I actually blinked. “You’re serious?”


Come on, Gamestop. I know you’ve chosen to adopt the (absurd, IMHO) policy that you ID for Mature-rated game purchases. But videogames aren’t tobacco, or alcohol - they aren’t regulated, and you won’t face fines if you accidentally sell to a minor. No one is going to get drunk or stoned on Bioshock, and drive off a bridge. So, when a fellow walks in who is absolutely, clearly, unambiguously not a minor, it’s needlessly, pointlessly annoying to demand an ID.

Well, if we go with the assumption that Gamestop is a pack of rat bastards, which I believe to be accurate, then I’m betting it’s a combination of hard corporate policy, manager too chicken to relax policy, and employee too stupid or scared to ignore policy. (Were I feeling more charitable, I might figure the manager and employee can’t subvert policy for one reason or another.) I’ve rarely been impressed with Gamestop’s employees no matter which store I’m in.

If they have a company-wide policy of checking IDs on anyone who looks younger than, say, 35, a policy they absolutely enforce across the board, it makes it easier to deal with minors who are trying to buy games with adult ratings.

If you gave that cashier any kind of crap about enforcing a policy about which I’m sure they had absolutely no option, I hope you realize you’re an asshole.

If only those murder simulators were as harmless as alcohol, tobacco, or yellowcake.

I’d much rather be carded for a video game than have the cashier assume I qualify for the senior discount. Yes, I realize that to a teenybopper, the difference between 40-something and 60-something doesn’t seem to be much, but still…ouch.

Maybe a little too mild. Moved to MPSIMS.

Gamestops have cameras, and the employees are reviewed (I think by the regional manager, but to be honest I have absolutely no clue) on the videos sometimes. On one I used to frequent they knew me well enough to know I could buy M rated games, but they had me throw out my ID on the counter anyway because otherwise they could lose points on their performance reviews.

Yeah, I got carded last week when I bought Metal Gear Solid 3 at Best Buy. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever been carded for a video game and at first I honestly didn’t know what they were trying to do. “Can I see your ID?” “My ID? Why do you need to see that?” “Because this game is rated M.” I laughed and showed the girl my ID. Look at the little photo in my user profile - does that face look 17 to you? Maybe you can find a 17 year old with a full beard but I doubt that 17 year old would be spending 400 dollars at Best Buy.

You’d have to look 16, actually. M games are rated for 17+ so you’re only out in the rain if you’re under that.

Did they just look at your ID or did they scan/copy it? If the latter, you are likely now on a mailing list.

I actually don’t mind Gamestop’s carding policy. I think it’s good. I saw a 12 year old kind trying to buy GTA4 at another gaming store that asked either for ID or to go get his parents to agree to buy it, which I think is good. They’d let the parents know what the game contains and let them decide if their kid can handle it, which is cool. Not that I think video games make killers, but I do think there’s certain content in many of these games kids shouldn’t be exposed to. Bioshock, not so much, but games like the GTA or Saint’s Row series or stuff like that I can get behind carding for.

I do think it’s stupid if they card an obvious adult for it though. I was also very young-looking so I’d always get carded for damn near everything that required ID of people who look young – at least 'til I approached my 30s. Now I haven’t been carded in years.

I dunno. I’d prefer a policy that asks, “Are you the kind of asshole that’s gonna play GTA4 with your seven-year-old nephew?” I think that’d be a lot more effective.

My husband gets carded a lot. Despite being a burly 30 year old guy no one would mistake for a teenager, there is something about him, even off duty and in jeans, that screams “fed” (or “cop”). I think it’s the way he speaks and holds himself*. I guess people worry he could be a sting.

But even he gets annoyed when carded at Gamestop.

(My favorite remains a college festival where they wouldn’t sell my 80-something year old grandfather beer, because he couldn’t produce photo ID. I had to go buy it for him)
*I wish I could master it. People park illegally in front of our house all the time. When I go out and ask them to move their car, no matter what or how I say it, I get arguments and attitude. He goes out with, “Ma’am, you need to move your vehicle,” and they apologize and flee. It’s crazy.

Moved MPSIMS --> Game Room.

One of my friends in high school would go into the fancy wine store and chat with the employees for 30 minutes about vintages, and nose and legs and such. When he went to pay for the moderately expensive wine, they never checked his id. He paid more, got better quality, and had consistent access to booze when he was underage.

Yes, he did grow up to be a wine snob.

I have a buddy whose beard was fuller and larger than yours at 17, and I can see him spending that on speakers or something at Best Buy. But I take your point- you don’t look 16.

This is probably the reason. Also, it’s not enough to look 17, or 18, or 21…you have to look ENOUGH older that there’s no doubt that you are of age. For instance, in the convenience stores around here, I think that they card anyone who looks like he might be under 25 for cigarettes (minimum age is 18) and 30 for alcohol. Any employee who doesn’t card a youthful looking person might very well be fired if a manager sees it.

I used to get carded quite regularly, especially when I dyed my hair. Now that I’m about a quarter to a third grey, and don’t dye any more, I haven’t been carded in the past few years…not since my late 40s, I’d guess.

And when I was a clerk at a convenience store, I NEVER accepted a guy’s facial hair as proof of age. My baby brother had a very full beard by the time he was 15 or 16, shaved every day, and had to shave again in the evening if he didn’t want to look like our cousin Vinnie. Being half Sicilian will do that for you. On the other hand, I know that some guys NEVER get a really full beard, even well into their 20s and beyond. For that matter, I started developing an hourglass figure when I was 10 or 11, which puzzled most of my male classmates and fascinated a few of them. So physical development can be an indicator, but it’s not a legal defense when a clerk is accused of selling adult stuff to a minor.

What’s amazing is that here in Australia, the age classifications on games are legally binding (ie it’s against the law to sell an MA15+ rated game to a 12 year old), yet they don’t ID people who clearly are out of high school (and I don’t think they’re too strict on people who appear to be in High School either, but most kids know to get their parents or older siblings to buy games for them anyway).

Sounds like a weird corporate policy that the sales minions are forced to follow upon pain of losing their jobs. Why not ask one of them the next time you’re in? I’m sure they’d be happy to tell you the rationale behind it.

Dude, you totally overpaid for that game.

Huh. I got carded for Bioshock, too, and didn’t think a thing of it. I would rather have them release the games and card me, then not release them at all because some kid, somewhere might get his hands on it. Provided it works, of course.

Argent Towers, you’re kind of cute, in a shaggy-dog sort of way. (Well, you did invite all and sundry to look at your profile.)