Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Saturday, December 13, 1997

Some clerks don’t, others
do have to ask your age

I thought that under the equal credit law or whatever, no one could ask you how old you are or your birth date?

When I went to pay my bill with a check at the Firestone Tire and Service Center on Dillingham, I was asked my age. I refused to give it. But the man asked for my ID and saw I was born in 1928. Then, when I went to Security Equipment Service on King Street to buy pepper spray, I was told they needed my age because the police department requires it. Can they ask for my age?

On the face of it, "I don't see the relevancy" of a store asking your age, said Jo Ann Uchida, executive director of the state Office of Consumer Protection.

However, since you weren't denied a product or service, she said she couldn't comment offhand about your experience. If you wish to pursue the matter, call 587-3222.

But, according to representatives of both companies, your birth date was asked as part of the process to verify identification -- in the first, for check verification, and in the second, as required by city ordinance.

But Firestone was concerned about your complaint and had double-checked the requirements of its telecheck guarantee company, said Dillingham store manager Gary Jo.

He passed your concern on to the district office, where it was discovered there was a misinterpretation of policy, said Firestone operations manager Matt Puana.

"We double-checked with Equifax (Check Services) to get in writing what the policy is," he said.

The policy is "to obtain an acceptable form of identification," including a valid U.S. drivers license or a state ID, which already has your birth date. One rule is "do not ask the customer for their date of birth."

Puana said Equifax has a training packet, including videotape and test, regarding the check authorization process. Based on your complaint, all employees will go through the training program, Puana said. "It was not intentional to hurt anyone's feelings," he said of your experience.

He noted the policy has changed several times and, based on state regulations, is "something that gets scrutinized frequently."

As for Security Equipment, owner Cyrus Lee said the city requires specific information about anyone purchasing pepper spray. The city provides a form requiring information on the date and time of sale, the buyer's address, date of birth, and the quantity and description of the product.

The city also wants to know the basic intention (of the purchase), whether it's for self, gift or other," Lee said.


To Penney's in Pearlridge. My teen-age grandchildren went there to buy gifts with their own money but a rude clerk passing out candies with discount coupons refused to let them have one. The manager later said you had to be 18 or accompanied by an adult and it was one per family. I think this was discriminating against children. If you spend the same money, what does your age matter?


To those in the Seaview/Crestview area who keep roosters in their yards. If you want to enjoy the company of farm animals, perhaps you should consider moving to a farm. The rest of the neighborhood does not appreciate those early wake-up calls. A lot of people have valid reasons for not wanting to be awakened at the first hint of dawn! (Call the Hawaiian Humane Society at 946-2187, ext. 280, for animal nuisance complaints.)

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