17 Year Old Buys Alcohol in Howard County Liquor Stores

A few days ago, I went with the Howard County Liquor Inspector to help him test Howard County liquor store employees to see if they would sell me alcohol. He gave me the money to use, and we drove around to the liquor stores he remembered as having had "issues" in the past. I asked if he was going to give me a fake ID or tell me to lie about my age, but surprisingly, I was told to show my real ID, which says I am only seventeen years old.

To be honest, I would not say I have the face to pass as a twenty-one-year old, much less any convincing facial hair, so I was stunned when the second store of the day allowed me to purchase a 1.75 liter handle of Burnett's vodka without even showing my ID. I was told not to lie, and if denied, to just walk out and then he would go in and either confront them for selling to me, or congratulate them for following the law. All I had to do was give them the money and try to walk out without breaking character.

Sadly, there was another store where I was asked for my ID. I showed them my Maryland ID, stating I was born in 1997, and then they gave it right back and let me purchase a six-pack of beer. This ended up being the last store to sell alcohol to me out of the twelve we visited around the county that afternoon, meaning a teen in Howard County has a one in six chance of going to a liquor store and buying alcohol.

The stores who sold to me would have to attend a court hearing in order to save their issued liquor license, but the first store who sold to me had sold to underage persons in the past, meaning they may lose it this time.

I must say it was almost fun to be mistaken as old enough, especially the first time, but as I walked out, I couldn't help but feel embarrassed for the employee and sad for all the other times they sold to teens that went ahead and drank it with friends or by themselves. I hope the next time we test no one has to go to court, for everyone's sake.