A Trader Joe’s in California won’t Accept Reader’s DC License because “they don’t accept non-US IDs”


Oof. @lawandlibations tweets us:

“Visiting CA – told at grocery store [Trader Joe’s] that I couldn’t use my DC ID because they don’t accept non-US IDs. Passport requested. @PoPville”

43 Comment

  • It’s clearly a non-us ID. You know the Capitol of the US, which is located in Mexico.

  • District of Columbia vs District of COlOMBIA… Classic mixup!

  • You should ask the store manager to contact Corporate and find out what country does the Trader Joe’s located at Foggy Bottom and 14th and U St are located in.

  • I think California and New Hampshire are just trolling us. I can’t believe that people are really that dense.

  • binpetworth

    I would be tempted to find the local version of Pat Collins and share this story with their local news station; I’m sure they’d love it.

  • It would be kind of funny if it wasn’t standing between you and delicious $4 wine.

  • jim_ed

    This is the perfect storm of stupidity and disrespect that would end with Jim Ed being escorted off the premises by store management and/or the police.

    • Accountering

      Yup, this wouldn’t end well for me.

      • Is it seriously that hard to laugh at the absurdity of the situation and politely ask to speak to a manager? Be cool, Honey Bunny.
        “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” – Chinese Dude Probably Smarter than You

  • Even more shockingly, this happened to a friend at a bar in baltimore…

  • Even MORE shocking still…this just happened to my partner and me as we were going through security at the airport on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Her: “Must have an official US driver’s license”
    Us: “It’s Washington DC…the district of Columbia…where your PAYCHECK comes from!”

  • The same exact thing happened to me at a bar in Boston. The bouncer clearly felt like an idiot when I said, “the District of Columbia is the capitol of the United States. Have you heard of ‘DC’ before?” This happened at a bar in Harvard Square, mind you.

    • Massachusetts is just weird with alcohol, and out of state licenses in particular. I grew up there and there were a lot of places that wouldn’t take out of state licenses at all back then. I think that’s mostly changed, but there was a recent posting on Boston.com about the TD Garden and a few other places not taking out of state licenses at all from anyone under 25 and requiring backup ID for anyone with an out of state license who was between 25 and 30.

  • I have to say, it doesn’t help that our new “Real IDs” look utterly ridiculous. I’m embarrassed sometimes that I have to use such a silly looking card to identify myself. And also because my picture looks awful 🙂 Is anyone else looking up in their photos? It seems like everyone I know is looking in a weird direction on their DC IDs.

    • I totally am looking up in my picture! It’s, frankly, a heck of a lot more flattering than my old one where I was looking down in a double-chin-inducing sort of a way…

    • I don’t have one yet, but my boyfriend does and the birthdate (and all other useful information) is TEENY TINY. I feel sorry for all future bartenders and bouncers who may go blind squinting at all these new IDs.

    • Mug of Glop

      I’ve yet to have my DC ID rejected yet anywhere, but, when I was back home in Michigan for Thanksgiving, I had to keep telling people “top right corner” because of the utterly ridiculous font and placement of the DOB on the thing.

  • I moved from DC to Vermont for a short while and initially had a difficult time registering my car. The clerk kept hounding me for proof of car tax from VA. Even tho I had once lived in VA — years and years prior — I couldn’t figure out what this had to do with anything. After my 2nd attempt at the DMV I realized it was because the clerk thought DC was in VA. I ended up going back a 3rd time because I was so embarrassed for the clerk (small town, same clerk time and time again) that I didn’t know how to initially explain that they’re different places without feeling like an a-hole. I think the 3rd time I went back with various documents printed out and highlighted so I didn’t have to do explain the situation.

    • Haha, this sounds very Japanese (being so anxious to avoid embarrassing someone that you go to elaborate measures to get around it).

    • When I worked at Nordstrom I had to call a store in CA to get something shipped to a customer in DC. I read her the address, blah blah blah, Washington, DC. There is a *drop down menu* with DC in it and she kept saying “Washington DC, Virginia, Washington DC Virginia.”
      We will never get voting rights because people don’t even understand what DC is.

      • This actually happens quite a bit online. I’ve come across my fair share of state drop down menus where DC or Wash DC is not included. I end up choosing VA in the hopes the all that matters is the zip code. Grrrrr.

        • burritosinstereo

          Yeah, this happens to me all the time when renting textbooks from amazon. DC is not an option for delivery, although MD & VA both are. I just have them shipped to my sister’s house in Alexandria, but if I didn’t have that as an option I would be up shit’s creek.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I find it hard to find fault in a guy working a low-wage job 3000+ miles away for not recognizing “District of Columbia.” He probably would have recognized it if it simply said “Washington DC.” And note that the old DC licenses said “Washington DC” whereas the new ones say “District of Columbia.” This is an error on par with entering the wrong PLU for organic acorn squash the first time the cashier has a customer try to buy one.

    • Yeah, except working at Trader Joe’s isn’t exactly known as a “low-wage job” when compared to other grocery stores. If this were Safeway I would expect it. But not TJs.

    • Accountering

      Meh, he seems like he is going above and beyond to be ignorant. I wouldn’t expect a grocery store clerk to recognize (or honestly even know) all 50 states. So for him to go above and beyond is a bit much IMO.

    • “This is an error on par with entering the wrong PLU for organic acorn squash the first time the cashier has a customer try to buy one.”

      Um, no. It’s the name of the CAPITAL of the United States of America, not some relatively obscure vegetable.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Most people call Washington DC Washington DC. No normal person outside of Washington DC ever says “District of Columbia.” Most people outside of Washington DC can get through the entire remainder of life after 10th grade without ever speaking, hearing, reading, or writing “District of Columbia” again, because every normal person says “Washington DC” or even just Washington. (I’m assuming this was one of the new licenses, which say District of Columbia. If it was one of the old licenses that say Washington DC, that’s different.)

  • This made me laugh so hard.

  • Mile High Stadium wouldn’t sell me beer with my DC driver’s license at a Broncos game. They told “we don’t accept these as ID.”

    Also a friend from out-of-state once told me she’s surprised DC “gives” driver’s licenses. “Why don’t people just have one from the state they came from?”

    • west_egg

      “Why don’t people just have one from the state they came from?”
      This is why we will never have a vote in Congress.

  • My reply would have been:
    DC was part of the union long before California. So there, smarty pants.

  • Ah. I’ve been stopped by TSA at US airports various times with my DC license and told that I also need to show my passport. Ha.

    Other times, they think my DC license is fake, etc.

  • As a DC resident you have to travel with a passport, this happens all the time. TSA told me I was not an American. I said “I live a mile from the White House where the president of the U.S. lives.” Her response was ‘I’ve been doing this job 8 years and never seen a DC before.” I assured her it is valid and after holding up the line for five minutes people were laughing and getting agitated. She realized her mistake and felt really stupid and finally let me through.

  • is it wrong that I want to trade in my “Washington DC” license for the new Real ID just so I can correct people when I’m out of state… Er out of District?

    • No way dude, not wrong at all. Its may favorite part of having the Real ID. I’m up to 3 incidents so far. Being right feels so good…especially at the airport.

  • I have a friend who used to live in New Mexico,and she said when she’d give her address to companies over the phone, they’d say, “Oh, sorry, we only ship to the US.” She said it happened 50% of the time. Unbelievable.

  • Let’s face it – people are ill-educated in this country. People who don’t know were either not taught where the capital of the country is, and how it was formed, in grade school, or just weren’t paying attention. I’ve had a friend who has two degrees from highly respected universities in this county, when first coming to visit me after I moved here, coming from NYC, which is not that far away, ask me if Washington was in Virginia. I think she was either not taught in public school (in the midwest) what DC was, or was undergoing such stress in her childhood (as she was) and was not able to pay attention in school. I was still shocked, though, as I learned and never forgot in grade school.

    Others may not have grown up and gone to school in this country, and thus never were exposed to such arcane things as how the capital of this country is not in a state and its residents are not full voting citizens, but rather live in a US territory without voting rights in Congress. In hindsight, as people always lived here, providing services, and were living here in the cities of Georgetown and Alexandria before DC was created (and not all were slaves and thus not accorded voting rights), the whole DC thing was a really dumb idea, which we still suffer from.

    On the bright side, because my license plate said “Washington, DC” not “District of Columbia,” I was able to ignore a NYC parking ticket a few years back, as the officer writing it looked no further than the first few letters, and wrote the state of my plate down as WA for Washington state.

  • I’ve had the same issue in Pennsylvania. I gave my ID at a Ground Round restaurant and they said that they had to cross check it because its out of state. I’m not too sure what they were looking up, but it was (literally) a 20 minute process. At one point my mom told me (she was in view of the bar) thats she’s not sure if I would be able to get a drink! I’m 36 years old. I thought this was just crazy, especially considering that the last time I went there, I sat at the bar and they didn’t even ask for my ID. Its too bad we are not from a “state.” It would make things easier.

  • I LIVE IN LA WITH A DC LICENSE, THIS HAPPENS EVERYWHERE I GO!!! including at airport security!

  • This has never happened to me, and I’m a little sad. Because I would have gotten a real kick out of saying, ever so sweetly, “Would you mind repeating that? I’d like to get it on video.” Then I would sell the video to Leno or something.

Comments are closed.