Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wal-Mart Denies Fishing License to Colorado Resident

Michael McCarty
Activist Post

On an early morning in mid-March 2013, a middle-aged man of good character and fair standing in his community, free from warrant or criminal history, walked into his local Wal-Mart store in Western Colorado and attempted to purchase a resident fishing license at the sporting goods counter. His honest and best efforts were categorically denied.

It just so happens that I have direct knowledge of this unfortunate yet otherwise insignificant event, and I can attest to the fact that the man was deeply disturbed by such a troubling outcome.

He was told that said purchase was denied because he failed to present upon demand the necessary documentation needed to prove his state residency beyond any shadow of doubt, and the proceedings stopped right there. This determination came as a great surprise, as the man had purchased a Colorado resident hunting or fishing license of one kind or another each and every year since escaping the all too restrictive confines of the east coast in 1976.

I can assure you that the refusal of service and accommodation by the vendor was taken quite seriously by said confused citizen, and the deal did not go down without discussion and argument.

It did not help this agitated individual to know that he would soon miss his carpool connection, and that he would have to drive a second vehicle by himself for two hours as a result. He would undoubtedly miss the early bite too.

For him it was no small matter, and it left him shaken and angry beyond simple proportion. Of that I am quite certain, and as you may have guessed by now, I possess such firsthand and intimate knowledge of it all . . . because it happened to me.

I can tell you what I know.

My issues really began when I attempted to purchase an annual fishing license at another agent one week earlier, and suddenly realized that I had never purchased a fishing license in 2012.

This is no big deal, of course, but I had forgotten that a few years ago the State of Colorado had adopted a “season year” fishing license, which was valid from April 1 to March 31. This is different than the more traditional “calendar year” license of old, which renews on January 1st of every year.

At that point I opted to buy a one-day fishing license, because it did not make sense to pay full price for an annual license that would be valid for only three weeks.

I had no problem purchasing my one day fishing license, which is to be expected, because it is not supposed to be difficult to purchase a hunting or fishing license in Colorado.

After all, a complete representation of my personal information and recreational histories are already stored in the “central computer”, as the state developed a Total Licensing System years ago. It already knows my Driver’s License Number, my Social Security Number, my height and weight and eye color, my current and past addresses, and all of my license purchases throughout the years. Who knows what else it knows, and who it shares it with?

I just know that I was always told that the computerized system was designed to make everything more streamlined and carefree for us mere mortals of the public domain.

So why then, the problem, which is exactly what I wanted to know?

I had not planned to fish again until April 1st or after, so when my friends asked me to fish on short notice I decided to purchase an additional fishing day. The Wal-Mart store was on my way.

I presented for inspection a current and valid Commercial Drivers License (which is not easy to acquire by the way) complete with photograph, background check, and current medical clearances. Additionally, I also provided the one-day fishing license that I had purchased the week before, my Elk license from last fall, and a Colorado Hunter Safety card issued in 2006. I freely admit that I was not prepared for an interrogation, and that I did not carry a satchel full of identity papers to prove my validity.

I simply wanted to add an additional fishing day to a one-day fishing license, and I was willing to pay. My driver’s license and photo ID confirmed my identity. My one-week-old fishing license provided evidence that I had supplied the necessary residency documentation at the time of that purchase. It should have been enough. In fact, it was more than enough to satisfy all legal requirements.

But it was not so in the vendor’s eyes. As it happens, my driver’s license had been reissued five months before, and listed only the reissue date. This seemed to cause insurmountable roadblocks. Colorado requires that you live in the state for at least six months to qualify for residency, and the sales clerk took one look at that … and stopped all proceedings. He flat-out refused to continue with all the conviction of a loyal and dedicated foot soldier.

I have some knowledge of the inner workings of the licensing system. I explained to him what I knew, and that all of my paperwork when added together was reason for him to attempt to issue a license. After all, the necessary information was readily accessible on the fully integrated licensing terminal hovering just outside his reach.

He simply refused, citing policy and procedure while staring intently at a handout sheet, and literally threw up his hands before heading for the back room to search for reinforcements.

A couple of clueless sales clerks, a department manager, and one store manager later . . . I was resolutely denied service and emphatically asked to leave the premises. For the record, I must acknowledge that over the years I have been thrown out of places with much more inspiring views and tasteful decor.

I just wanted to go ice fishing. I wanted to escape the data control grid for just a few hours and feel the fresh air on my face in a desire to remember why I moved to the western part of the U.S. in the first place. I wanted to hook up with a primal and pulsating creature, drawn from the depths of another world that is safe from the grasp of the social engineers and the prying electronic eyes and ears of a robotic spy drone. I wanted to pretend for a brief time that I was a free man in a free state doing what I do best and enjoy the most, without some lingering and disturbing aftertaste of heavy-handed experience hanging on my breath. Is that too much to ask?

What does one do when faced with such a circumstance?

Well, I chose to take the matter to a higher authority; and, in this case, that was the licensing division of Colorado Game, Fish, And Parks. I had no doubt that they would like to comment on the heart of the matter, and indeed they did. They were quite happy to provide some guidance in this regard.

Vendors who wish to sell hunting and fishing licenses in their retail outlet can apply for and become license agents. They then become official representatives of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and they have a duty to provide courteous and efficient service as their agent. It also means that they need to know the licensing laws and regulations far better than you or I, and how to apply them correctly and fairly. Failure to do so can have serious consequences.

Public complaints can trigger a letter of disciplinary action from Colorado Parks, and contribute to a “three strikes” rule. The vendor can be required to attend classes on the proper procedures and protocols of licensing and agency, and to properly retrain all staff. If the abuses continue, the agent’s agreement can be revoked and their ability to sell hunting and fishing licenses discontinued.

I have filed a formal complaint through appropriate channels. It would appear that some of Wal-Mart’s staff at this particular store will be “reeducated” on my behalf before the storyline of our little encounter has ended.

It is comforting to know that a private citizen has some ability to affect change, and possibly prevent someone else from suffering the same humiliations and indignities from fools such as these.

Still, I have some concerns.

Once accepted, a first-time license application creates a “lifetime” customer identification number, and hence a customer record, or “profile”. I had always been under the impression that this electronic database and total licensing system was supposed to make it easier for me to purchase a license, without having to continuously provide documentation over and over again at every turn. I can only wonder who this system is really designed to help, because apparently it has not been put in place to help me. If it was, it does not seem to be working as promised.

One problem with a centralized and all-powerful system is that it is eventually directed by people who may not have your best interests in mind. They inevitably become judge, jury and executioner, and they can never seem to forgo the opportunity to play God with the wave a hand.

I refuse to be treated like a common criminal and dismissed like useless chattel by sales clerks who have failed to demonstrate the respect required to master some of the basic communication skills of the English language, particularly those who work for the ultimate purveyor of cheap plastic and Chinese slave goods. I will not let them use the color of law to ruin my day without returning the favor in full.

At the very least, I have a small but focused voice, and I will use it. I am also quite capable of managing a hair-raising scream or two when the occasion calls for it.

Impose your will unjustly, and you will gain my full attention. Treat me badly, and you will know that I have been there.

For now, I stand horrified in the knowledge that the information miners and the privacy thieves have penetrated so far into the remote and protected corners of my everyday life. I am left to gauge the parameters of the nightmarish, Orwellian uber reality in which I have been fully imprisoned.

You may witness me there, restlessly casting about for some remnants of my peace of mind, hot on the scent of my lost country.

I pray that I can occasionally find it in the unspoiled wilds at the edges of our memory.

No doubt it only gets worse from here.

Michael Patrick McCarty earned a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. He has worked in both the public and private sectors in a variety of capacities relating to fisheries and wildlife biology, water and environmental quality, and outdoor recreation. Michael and his wife steward a small acreage they have named Peach Valley Heritage Farms. It’s a “work in progress” for sure, but a little piece of heaven in the Rockies, just the same. Their work can be found at The Backyard Provider.

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Cal said...

Now that's just sad and very un-customer service like. That store should be ashamed of itself.

Anonymous said...

I went into a WalMart one summer day on my way to my camp. I stopped and purchased $110 worth of meat and grocerys. I also purchased a case of beer. I wore a t-shirt, swimming trunks, and tennis shoes. I had my debit card. I am 65 years old, and they wouldn't sell me beer without a ID card. I said it was in the car. I couldn't carry it in my swimming trunks. I called for a manager. No beer without an ID. I went across the street to Kroger, bought the same thing, including the beer. No problem. $15 cheaper. I have never been back to WalMart.

Anonymous said...

Those with little or no education tend to think they know everything! Those who are educated know that there is so much knowledge on a vast variety of subjects that they really know very little. Most who work at Wal-Mart are of the first type. Best advise ignore Wal-Mart altogether. Sorry for you experience but delighted you did not just take it!

Anonymous said...

The way they treated you was ridiculous!


People who work for WalMart are too inept to work for the TSA. Think about that one for a few seconds!

dogismyth said...

too bad!

your first mistake was believing you NEEDED a fishing license.

A true rebel and patriot can fish without those concerns.

Too bad for you if you feel like a victim.

Feeling like a victim is what they want.

Snap out of it. Fuck the license. Go fishing and enjoy yourself.

Anonymous said...

It seems absurd that anyone needs a "license" to fish. In the interest of maintaining adequate numbers of fish species, the state can set limits and charge hefty fines to those who cheat. If TPTB weren't so intent on throwing away money on wars, bankster bailouts, media propaganda, and payouts to their cronies, there would be an ample amount of funds available for Fish, Game, Wildlife, and public recreation area maintenance. Heck, many of us would even volunteer to help out.

Anonymous said...

Remove the walmart portion of life from your life. Because the first is too stupid to care, the second is too short to bother with stupid.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Walmart treated you in such a fishy way.

Unknown said...

With their prices being basically the same as everywhere else now, there is no reason to purchase anything from those gangsters. I rarely shop there now. My picks are Aldi and the dollar stores.

Anonymous said...

When someone says anything that includes the I went into Walmart to buy......

I stop listening.
Seriously, at this stage of the game, anyone still supporting that store is beyond help.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who enters Wal-Mart gets what they deserve. Unfortunately, my wife is one who can't stay out of that place. I vowed several years ago that they get no money from me directly. Except their online photo store...

Anonymous said...

Boycott Walmart now. You're the fool for going in there in the first place. Get feral. Fish without paperwork!

EH....I know based on your bio that you're pretty heavily invested in the bureaucracies that "Manage" all that stuff...Change is hard.

Shine Bright.

Anonymous said...

As much as I sympathize with your frustration, what actually happened wasn't some jerk trying to deliberately go out of his way to deny you a license.

It was actually just some poorly trained, minimum wage making person, probably young and poorly educated, trying to follow store policy to the best of his limited ability. It's also very possible that the incident occurred because this person was forced to work out of the department he was trained in by Walmart, so he had only a vague idea of the rules and was absolutely terrified to take anything that might violate them.

Nonetheless, I'm glad that you contacted the state wild life commission. Walmart doesn't attract the best and brightest workers in the first place, and on top of that, they're usually overly worked, poorly trained, and consistently verbally harassed by supervisors.

Anonymous said...

Good morning.

I do not shop much. I inhabit that tiny space in the universe in which shopping is not the highest good. When I must purchase groceries and supplies, I take a list and I start at ALDI. Most of the time I finish at ALDI.

I have not shopped at a Walmart in more than two years. People mention shopping there in casual conversations where the topic of trying to "save" arises, and I listen politely.

When my resistance wavers, I think of Black Friday tramplings; surveillance state info-mercials; nonstop television ads being broadcast at the tops of many aisles even though the people they're aimed at are already in the store; blue and white sacks hanging from the bushes and trees next to the Interstate; "other natural flavorings" in the meat; questionable treatment of employees. I want no part in supporting any of this, so I stay away.

Anonymous said...

It is known that under the constitution the government can only regulate commerce. What is commerce? First one has to understand his rights as a private human being before he can understand what is "commerce". A private human being has a right to liberty and a basic right to survival, as well as many other rights. These rights cannot be taxed or regulated unless you first violate another person by your actions. What is the difference between a civil action and a criminal action? The answer is intent. Intent must be proven in order for the government to be able to bring an action against a private human being. The government has no right to bring a civil action against a private individual (at least not without a contract); and most certainly not by dragging you into its own courts. Where is the fairness in that?

Commerce was once defined as having more than 7 employees, and that is the way it should be. The idea behind this was that a man had a right to liberty, a basic right to survive by putting his family to work as a family business. This was/ is a basic fundamental right that could/ can not be regulated and thus brought in under the definition of commerce. If one has these basic rights of liberty and the related rights to survive they cannot be regulated, taxed, licensed, denied. It is necessary for the state to deceive you into thinking otherwise so as to strip you of your rights by calling them “privileges”, which can be taxed, and regulated, and forbidden.

If you have a right to liberty and a right to survive you simply exercise those rights by not asking for the government’s privileges. For example, if you are not “fishing” in a commercial fashion, but rather as a manner of right, then you do not need the license to “fish”. The same logic applies to “hunting”, “driving”, “marriage”, etc. If you understand these common truths then you will understand that the government is robbing you under color-of-law. Forcing one to accept privileges that he neither wants, or needs, falls under the definition of extortion. That’s correct, your government that is supposed to protect your rights is not doing their jobs. They are in effect criminals/ extortionists/ thieves. Criminals cannot represent government. Learn your rights so that you can protect others’ rights, especially your children’s. Rights are not taught in the government schools. In the process you will learn that you no longer have a government, but rather, an organized crime ring pretending to be your government.

Michel said...

GREAT article!!!! I LOVE the action items and this is a mega-great action we all can take should we run up against this type of behavior....anywhere! Thanks mate!!!

Anonymous said...

Stop asking permission ( A License) for Big Government(a Corporation)to do things you have the natural born right to do.

People need to learn the LEGAL definitions of the words PERSON and RESIDENT & U.S. citizen.

Quit being a slave.

Anonymous said...

Funny how most want to blame Walmart instead of looking in the mirror - this is your fault for allowing an out of control "Government" to control ALL you do with permission slips.

somchai said...

Just buy a license at a sporting goods store. They system might have been a little confusing for a clerk new to work at sporting goods in Walmart. No reason to make a federal case about it. Buy a license go fishing.

matt said...

For a one day license residency doesn't matter. Outside of that, by law you must be a Colorado resident to purchase a resident license, and the burden of proof falls to you as the buyer. You did not meet the requirement if you only had a five month old drivers license which of course you knew because you read the notice that the vendor is required to post. Correct? If the vendor breaks the law they can be fined, including the clerk who sells the license. Sounds like you are upset because the rules apply to you and you were required to follow them the same as everyone else.

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