Just Add Alcohol

December 14, 2010

You know what’s annoying about the drinking age? Aside from the fact that it exists? It’s like a go-to excuse for all sorts of other ageism against young people.

There are many hotels out there that will not let you check in if you are under 21. Hell, Holiday Inn Express’s website will even tell you point blank on their hotels’ pages the minimum check-in age. What’s often the little excuse for having this ridiculous rule? “Oh, we don’t want there to be underage drinking parties!”

Well, the logic there crumbles easily. Most parties with alcohol have at least a few people 21 or older around, mostly since they’re the ones who supply the alcohol to begin with. And if they have the 21+ people for that, chances are those people would be the ones checking in. As long as you allow anyone under 21 to stay at your hotel at all, even families, you run the risk of having underage drinking on your premises. Please. These rules don’t attack underage drinking. They attack youth independence.

There’s also the Muvico segregation issue, where they wanted to have one screen in their theaters be 21+ only. Their reason for this being – surprise! – they wanted to serve alcohol and it’s apparently less a pain in the ass to just card everyone who tries to enter than just those who actually drink the alcohol. Yeah, carding everyone rather than a few is somehow less a pain in the ass. Or, no, we know their real reason, and in fact had stated it themselves unashamedly… that adult patrons are annoyed by the presence of teens so this way they don’t have to be near those awful young people. Ewww!

In 2001, my sister and I, at the time aged 14 and 18 respectively, were in Las Vegas and needed to break a $50 bill. I forget why. So, since the casino was nearby (the Aladdin, I think) and they certainly have to do that all the time, we just went over there to the cashier and asked if she could break the fifty for us… and we were told she couldn’t because we were underage. So because the drinking age is 21, the Las Vegas gambling age is 21 so their frequent supplication of booze to the gamblers is unimpeded, so if you’re under 21 you can’t even really be in the casino area unless you’re just passing through, so certainly those under 21 are much too immature to… break a goddamn fifty dollar bill.

In some jurisdictions, restaurants that serve alcohol have a sort of curfew, after which no one under 21 may remain in their establishment or they get shut down. Thanks to the 21 drinking age, you can shut down a whole business, put people out of work… because of your mere presence at a certain hour.

If you’re under 21 in any of these scenarios and countless more, everyone around wants you to leave. No, not because they know or care what “damage” alcohol may do to you… because they fucking hate you because of your age and don’t want to be reminded you exist. With the drinking age, many places have to make the choice between serving alcohol or being open to young people. Seeing as most people love alcohol and hate young people, the choice is clear most of the time.

That’s another thing that bothers me about the proposed age restrictions on energy drinks. Or the thing about Starbucks possibly serving alcoholic drinks. If you just add alcohol (or whatever other age restricted product or phenomenon), you can make the young people be legally required to go away, or to at least strongly intimidate them into doing so.

These here and so much more are some real often encountered repercussions of the drinking age… and not a goddamn one of them has a fucking thing to do with drinking!

4 thoughts on “Just Add Alcohol”

  1. In some jurisdictions, and under some practical circumstances, it also forces establishments that have no desire to discriminate to choose between refusing to serve people under 21 and declining to serve alcohol, either in general or at certain times. Likewise, and even worse, social hosts are forced to discriminate among their guests or else not have alcohol at the event at all. Indeed, at bar/bat mitzvahs, they must contradict the meaning of their own event by treating the person whose coming of age is being celebrated as not of age.

    (Yes, it is sometimes the case that carding at the door is the only practical way.)

  2. The stupid thing is, that if anyone under 21 can’t go into a place that serves alcohol, why can they go into an Applebee’s(etc) with a sports bar?

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