Carding for the Purchase of Alcohol: I'm Tougher Than Other Clerks Are1


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    This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (R29-AA10397-01) awarded to the first author. We thank Victoria Kindon, Bridgette McInnis, Sharon Brecher, Allyson Oswald, and Aimee Gipe for their assistance in data collection and coding. In addition, comments by Steve West and Tom Gilovich in the conduct of this research are gratefully acknowledged.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael McCall, School of Business, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY: 14850. e-mail:


The present research examined whether clerks believed themselves to be more likely to card customers than “other” clerks. Store clerks (N= 121) from 23 stores of a major grocery chain rated 4 person-product profiles of hypothetical shoppers each representing distinctive lifestyle groups. Embedded within a series of items were key questions that asked how likely it was that they and other clerks would ask for identification from the shopper for the purchase of alcohol. Across all conditions, data revealed a significant positivity bias suggesting that the clerks felt that they were much better than other clerks at determining who should be asked for identification. The data are discussed in terms of their motivational implications for the false uniqueness bias.