Fact Check

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Slurpee

Published Jul 30, 2015


FACT CHECK:   Was a young man denied service at a Redmond 7-11 store due to his status as a military reservist?

Claim:   A young man was denied service at a Redmond 7-11 store due to his status as a military reservist.


Example:    [Collected via e-mail, July 2015]

Read on facebook that a 7-11 clerk in Redmond, Washington refused to wait on a man because he was in the military. He was buying cigarettes and showed his military ID — clerk said she couldn't serve him.

Origins:   On 22 July 2015, Facebook user Daylene Dunham published a Facebook status update in which she claimed that her sister's fiance (Collin Brown) had been denied service at a Redmond, Washington, 7-11 convenience store due to his status as a military reservist:

Earlier today my sister and her fiance went to this 7-Eleven he was buying cigarettes and a slurpee, when he showed his military ID as proof of age for cigarettes. The employee said "you are in the military we cannot serve you" not because he wasn't of age to buy the things he was wanting to buy but because he is a member of our armed forces.....DESPICABLE!


Where's the media outrage over this discrimination....

As with a similar July 2015 shunned serviceman claim, Dunham's post was captured and shared numerous times to the Facebook page of the company in question (in this instance the 7-11 chain of convience stores). And like a then-recent rumor targeting a Minnesota SuperAmerica gas station (a claim later proved false), the Facebook rumor quoted above closely resembled long-circulatings urban legends wherein members of the military are said to have been denied service (often at convenience stores) by foreign (i.e., Muslim) clerks who are not fond of American soldiers.

One different aspect of Dunham's claim (compared to older rumors) was one of the items Brown purportedly attempted to purchase: cigarettes. While most claims involving refusal of service to military members seem to involve gasoline (which is not restricted to persons over the ages of 18 or 21), cigarettes are an item for which cashiers must exercise exceptional caution in age verification. Standards of proof vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but cigarettes (and alcohol) are items that often prompt retail employees to err on the side of caution and refuse sale if they feel uncertain of a customer's age.

We contacted 7-11's media relations department about the incident, and representative for the chain told us that the issue had to do with a problem verifying the customer's age, not his status as a military reservist:

It's clear that a misunderstanding occurred at a franchised 7-Eleven store. We understand that a customer presented a military ID as a form of identification when buying age-restricted products, and the Franchisee's store associate could not clearly read the birth date. In this instance, the store associate, by law, was required to ask to see a second form of ID with a birthdate. After the customer's age was verified, the transaction was completed. Serving members of the military, being named a top military-friendly company and employing military veterans are great honors for 7-Eleven.

Last updated:       30 July 2015

Originally published:      30 July 2015

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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