At least Britain sort of got it half right. There, to make life easier for stores selling age-restricted items there’s a “Challenge 21″ programme, so anyone looking 21 or under is asked for ID, even if the products are restricted to over-18s. Tesco and other large chain stores championed a “Challenge 25″ programme just in case someone slipped through the net. Finally some idiot in the seaside resort of Blackpool came up with the idea of “Challenge 30″, which is roundly lambasted across Britain.

But at least these outlets demand high-integrity forms of ID such as driving licences. In the US you can show a picture of your dog pasted on the back of a chocolate biscuit and they’re likely to accept it.

That’s because no-one really knows why they are asking for ID in the first place, and no-one up the chain tells them – mainly because they don’t know either. Everyone just goes through the motions. There’s no way to verify the validity of ID, so everyone just plods along with the security theatre.

Simon Davis, “How a dog and some chocolate biscuits reveal an identity crisis in America
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