I quote myself:
I went to my local Target at the South Bay Center in Dorchester, MA on a Sunday afternoon for one explicit purpose: to buy some Target-brand DayQuil, as it is (notably) cheaper than buying any of the store brands from any of the local pharmacy chains. I picked up a box, walked around the store for a few minutes as I usually do even if only buying one item, picked up a bottle of face wash that I realized I would need soon, and headed for the checkout.
Once there, the checkout clerk scanned my face wash and cold medicine, then asked for my ID.
Mind you, I had not gone to the pharmacy counter and asked for the DayQuil with pseudoephedrine in it, which the FDA now requires that all sales of must be accompanied with the showing ID and the logging of information so that you can’t buy more than 3 boxes or so of it a week. I get that, and there’s no way around it if you want to buy “the good stuff”. But I don’t want the hassle, even though the stuff in front of the counter doesn’t work quite as well, so I was buying the newfangled “regular” kind. When she asked me for my ID, I paused for a moment and stammered out “excuse me?”
“I need to see your license.”
“You can’t buy this medicine without a license.”
“No no, that’s not the kind from behind the counter, this is the regular kind.”
“Yes, you have to show ID or you can’t buy it.”
So I asked for a manager, and one came over, and to say she was rude would be a moderate understatement. After a minute or so of debating the finer points of FDA regulations, what products require the ID-showing and the information-logging, and whether or not CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid also require ID to purchase non-pseudo-containing medicines (which she insists they do), she very rudely said to the clerk “forget it, take that off, he’s not buying it,” and walked away. As a result, I then cancelled my entire purchase.
Before I left the store, I decided to walk back to where the manager had walked to, between the women’s clothing and the checkout, and asked to speak to the general manager, who apparently doesn’t work on weekends.
Having worked in retail in the past, I can confirm that no general manager is away from their store on the weekends in the middle of the day between Thanksgiving and Christmas without an astronomically good reason, so I knew that she was lying to get me out of her way. (That and she wasn’t looking at me or acting like she cared in the least, as sure sign.) She half-heartedly scribbled a phone number on a scrap of receipt paper for me and told me to “have a nice day”, which did not strike me as being particularly sincere.
About an hour later, I stopped in a CVS while I was in another shopping plaza and purchased the exact same DayQuil (except it was CVS brand instead of Target brand, obviously), and was not asked to show ID to do so.
So, what the hell is Target doing asking for ID for non-restricted cold medicines, and telling customers that there’s an “FDA regulation” that says they have to do so, when there is no such regulation? I’m inclined to stop shopping at Target in the future if I’m soon going to be asked to identify myself to purchase mundane items like cereal, t-shirts, light bulbs or DVDs.