Dear Mahatma: I went to a grocery store for a bottle of wine. At checkout I was demanded to show my driver's license and allow them to scan it. I said they could look at it and even look at my face to compare it to see I was who I was, over 70 and legal. But I said they couldn't scan it; it was a violation of my privacy to put my driver's license number into the store's database. They wouldn't budge, so I went to a liquor store and bought the same wine with a brief nod to my driver's license. I had never been asked to have my DL scanned. Is this legal? For what reason would a grocery store have in scanning someone's ID? This makes me flummoxed and verklempt. -- Tyler
Dear Tyler: We, too, were flummoxed. Is this a driving question? We decided it was, because the answer surely would come from Alcoholic Beverage Control, an agency that's part of the Department of Finance and Administration, which has many responsibilities related to driving and vehicle ownership.
Doralee Chandler is the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control/Arkansas Tobacco Control Administration. She gave us an answer in several parts.
First, state law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to people younger than 21.
Second, the Alcoholic Beverage Control agency does not mandate that a specific individual be carded or that a specific process is utilized to assure that underage sales do not occur.
Third, many permittees have a mandatory carding requirement for their employees regardless of the individual's age. This is an exclusive business decision.
Fourth, in addition to a mandatory carding requirement, many permittees have software in place to detect fraudulent IDs. This process requires the ID to be scanned. Usage of this software is within the parameters of the business and its corporate requirements, not the alcohol agency.
Regarding verklempt, defined as being overcome with emotion, for some folks it's emotionally soothing to patronize Mom & Pop's liquor store than buy wine at The Humongous Grocery Chain Which Already Tracks Our Every Purchase.
Freedom of choice. Is this a great country, or what?
Dear Mahatma: I want to promote the IDriveArkansas app. I just returned from a round-trip drive to Brentwood, Tenn., which required crossing the Interstate 55 bridge. The app gave us data about traffic flow and alternative routes. This reduced a lot of frustration. Your bully pulpit can let more people know about the app. -- Jim
Dear Jim: We asked the Arkansas Department of Transportation how many people have downloaded the app.
ArDot doesn't know, but it does know that from Jan. 1 to May 23 the site was visited 1,132,403 times. In February alone, it was visited 698,054 times -- the snowstorm. In the other months, the count is roughly 100,000 visits.
This reminds us to have tech support -- grandchildren -- put the app on our own flippin' cellphone.
Vanity plate: GRANCAR.