Sorry, Deion…

Column: Takin’ Care of Business
by Scott L. Clark

My first job ever was when I was 16. I worked part-time at a Wal-Mart that was remodeling, and I spent my summer in a warehouse painting shelves and preparing modules to be set up in the store. It was not fun work, so when I was actually able to move into a cashier position at the store, it was a welcome reprieve to me. I was always good at math and naturally personable, so it seemed like a good fit for me at the time. One day, I recieved payment for a check, and (as I was trained to do) I asked the customer for his driver’s license. His response was something to the effect of “Son, I own half this town; you don’t need to see anything.” Even as a kid, I couldn’t understand why anyone would be so upset about my taking an extra step to ensure that their money was being protected.

Some of us may be old enough to remember Deion Sanders. He was the Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson of the 90’s. His boisterous attitude and self-proclaimed greatness was entertaining to watch as a kid, and he was also in a lot of television commercials. One in particular that I was reminded of recently was one where Deion was trying to make a purchase as his local retailer and the cashier asked to see his identification. His response was something to the effect of “Don’t you know who I am? I’m Deion Sanders.” The catch phrase of “Sorry, Deion…but I still need to see your ID” stuck in my head and I’m reminded of it every time a customer gives any of my staff a hard time about asking for ID.

Would someone please explain to me why it is so offensive to show someone your identification? Is it because you feel like you are being treated like a criminal? Is it really that big of an inconvenience for you to pull a piece of plastic out of your wallet? It really makes no sense to me.

As a person who has worked in retail and sales most of his life, I can tell you that asking for identification is expected and demanded, especially when money is involved. When a cashier, teller or other employee asks to see your ID, they are not doing it because they want to be annoying. That business is protecting itself the only way that it can: checking every person that walks in the door.

Not only that, they are protecting you. If someone gets ahold of one of your checks or your credit card, wouldn’t you want that person checking to make sure that you were the one making the purchase or getting cash out of your account? With as many customers as many of those places have, it’s impossible to remember every face of everyone.

With that being said, I think it’s time for a change of heart, and I’m starting with the young professionals. I challenge each of you to gladly show your ID when asked to do so. It’s nothing to be offended about, and should make you grateful, not upset. We should be encouraging this behavior, not being part of the problem. If we’re going to be upset about anything, we should be upset when someone doesn’t ask for identification.

So the next time you feel annoyed about having to show your ID, think of Deion Sanders, the guy who was too cocky to show his. Do we really want that stigma floating over our heads? And more importantly, do we want to leave our accounts and personal information wide open to a craftly thief?

$0.02 from Scottie Lindsay


~ by Scott L. Clark on March 21, 2011.

2 Responses to “Sorry, Deion…”

  1. I used to get upset when people asked to see my I.D., but that was before I understood WHY they were asking for it. Now I thank any cashier or teller who asks to see my I.D. because I know that if my purse or wallet had been stolen and someone else was trying to spend my hard-earned money, that cashier may have stopped them from doing so by simply asking to see some I.D. I applaud those who take the time to check I.D.’s when processing transactions. After all, I’d rather go through the “trouble” of spending the extra couple seconds digging my I.D. out than the months or even years of dealing with identity theft!

  2. I had my identity stolen and as a credit counselor I gladly give them my id. I have no problems proving who I am and I think it is ridiculous when people throw a fit over showing an id. The only issue I guess I could see is if you were a repeat customer and the employee doesn’t take the time to get to know their customers. I know for instance I frequent a gas station by my home and if I was carded everytime by the same employee who I see at least 3-4 times per week it would get a little annoying.

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