Waking up to see your fake ID in the mail isn’t too different a feeling than waking up to unwrap your presents on Christmas. But once you have it in your hands, there’s always one important question: now what?
That’s what I woke up to as a scrawny 16-year-old on a Thursday. I had a white piece of plastic guaranteeing me liberty and freedom. There was only one problem.
I didn’t know how to use it.
Why it’s Not a Good Idea to Go Blind
Just because you have a fake ID doesn’t mean it’ll always work. Different places judge differently. Some might let you off with a cursory glance, while others will scrutinize you harder than that one math teacher.
Even if your fake is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, there’s a chance it might not work. You might catch the bouncer at a wrong spot or maybe you’ll look a little too young to qualify.
If you’re anything like me, you probably hit “Buy Now” on your fake ID order without giving it another thought. If you happened to find yourself in such a predicament, you’re purely going to be operating on instinct, right?
Don’t do that!
I think if fake IDs came with a user’s guide, they’d all be much better. However, the truth is that it doesn’t happen. Instead, you need to learn from experience.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any of your own. You can learn from mine.
Gas Stations: Your Friendly Spot
I learned early on that there’s a lot that could go wrong with picking places to try your luck at. Gas stations just happen to not be those places. For the most part, at least.
Gas stations fall into the category of places where there’s very little need for customer experience. It’s more of a necessity where you buy your gas, get a few lotto scratches, maybe some Cheez-Its, and that’s it. You get what you need and move on.
That’s why there’s not anyone who would keep a close eye on you. All you’ll find is the tired clerk behind the register who knows they’re working a soul-crushing job.
Sometimes, I feel gas station clerks exist solely to capture security cam footage when robberies backfire. Other than that, they’re not the most leery-eyed when it comes to examining fakes.
Of course, my options were limited to the booze I could get from there. On the upside, the booze was always cheap and easily accessible and the gas station open at all hours.
Strike When It’s Least Expected – Early Hours at Bars
Drinking is always associated with one or two places. You know the usual suspects: a bar, a club, or maybe some random house party. One other place where you can get your drink on is your local hole-in-the-wall eatery.
It may not sound like the best place to get blackout drunk and that’s because it isn’t. However, if you’re like me and want a light buzz on a Thursday night without waking up with a pounding headache the next day, it’s pretty alright.
When it comes to playing the old fake ID, I’ve found you have to be a bit careful. You can’t just throw it out there all willy-nilly. After some hits and misses, I was able to find out exactly how.
Here’s the thing: restaurants often have different staff for day and evening shifts. Since most people tend to only drink at evenings, it’s assumed that it will be the only time when people will be ordering drinks.
That’s why the restaurant will put a ton of care into training the evening staff for checking IDs but not so much for the daytime staff. As a result, they are usually not as aware of the intricate details in a fake.
You might get a hawk-eyed professional examining your ID at night, but in the day, you’ll just be treated to someone who might not notice about the difference between your fake and a legit ID.
That’s not to say that this plan is foolproof. I would be lying if I said it works all the time. However, things are more likely to go your way.
Set The Bar Low
Having a fake in my hand gave me a ton of anxiety, but it also gave me a ton of dumb courage. I ended up going to places way beyond my league and almost got caught. It’s a slippery slope.
I realized later that the right approach was to set my sights on something more manageable. Popular places are popular for a reason. They get the most foot traffic, and that means your average bouncer over there is going too hardened by years of ID checks.
If you try to pull any fast ones on them, they will be sure to shut you down with an iron fist. They will be able to tell you’re underaged just by the glint in your eye or the length of your shadow.
Flip it the other way around, and you will have a different experience. If you hit up some low-level bar that’s run more as a local watering hole, you have a higher chance of getting in. What I found at these places was pretty relaxed security with maybe a cursory glance or two.
Now, you could ignore my ramblings and go do your own thing. Just don’t call me up to bail you out if shit hits the fan.