In the wake of a pandemic affecting millions of lives and leaving many others economically vulnerable, some teenagers on TikTok have decided to take advantage of the situation by dressing up as senior citizens to illegally purchase alcohol .
In nearly every country across the world, face masks have become an important public health measure. People across all age brackets are required to wear face masks outside of their home and in public places such as stores, banks, restaurants, and hospitals, while still maintaining social distancing. While face masks have proven to be effective in controlling the spread of the virus, a particular group of people has found another use for them.
Although the drinking age in the U.S. is 21 years, some American teens since July have taken to purchasing liquor by disguising as elderly citizens. They are not just wearing fabric masks over their noses and mouths. Some are using synthetic costume masks that go over the head to mask their youthful complexions while covering the stiff mouth area with surgical masks. They are powdering their hair, wearing wigs, sporting retro-style sunglasses, walking with canes, and wearing elderly people’s shoes to pull off their stunts.
The social media age where everything is a potential for going viral
Of course, videos of kids executing their tricks have gone viral on TikTok and are currently spilling onto Instagram. One 18-year-old girl said she put white baby powder in her hair to make it gray, and while wearing an elderly woman’s clothes and a matronly scarf, she walked into a liquor store with her heart pumping full of adrenaline.
When she walks out of the store holding a bottle of alcohol and “shaking from excitement”, the girl said she would have lied that her ID was in the car if anyone had asked. However, it’s highly unlikely that any liquor store attendant would ask an elderly person for an ID.
In another viral video, a second girl whose age is unknown can be seen dancing around in a room with her friends before putting on her prank outfits. Her friends recorded from a distance as she walked into the store, pulled four packs of booze and walked out, limping in an elderly person’s gait. She can also be seen pulling off the costume mask with white hair attached as she dances excitedly into the camera.
One girl also put on gloves that would normally pass off a hygienic appearance even though she was only hiding her youthful hands.
Surprisingly, many adults on social media are not condemning the illegal acts, with many confessing they indulged in the same acts as teens. People even found the girls’ actions creative and innovative, with some tagging them “geniuses”.
One of the shocking comments read: “These are getting all the more legit looking and I’m here for it.”
Another person wrote: “Omggg if I was in high school with this kind of innovation I could not be stopped!!’
A mom on Facebook wrote. “We were doing this 20 years ago. My friend with short curly hair thought it would be cool to dye her hair silver but wound up looking like she just had grey hair. No one carded her after that .”
However, many condemned the teenagers’ trivialization of a serious situation. The kids would most likely not control their alcohol consumption and might end up putting their health at risk . They may not be well-versed in the painful reality of drunken accidents and DUIs. Also, it’s illegal to purchase alcohol under the age of 21 and some may say it is immoral to dress up as elderly persons for these reasons.
An elderly lady on Facebook wrote: “With a bit of luck, they might get alcoholic poisoning, then they will know how clever they really are? NOT!”
Another commented: “Generation of stupid right there!”
Parents and guardians should consider having a chat with their children, but something tells me they weren’t angels when they were young either. Were these stunts hilarious or just disrespectful? You can be the judge.
- Greg Evans. Teenagers are dressing up as elderly people in face masks to fool shops into selling them alcohol. Indy 100. https://www.indy100.com/article/teenagers-coronavirus-alcohol-face-masks-elderly-people-tiktok-9620291 Retrieved 25-08-2020
- Alcohol Poisoning. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354386 Retrieved 25-08-2020
- Matt Mathers. Coronavirus: Face masks will be ‘new normal’ for another year, says Sadiq Khan. Independent. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/coronavirus-uk-face-masks-new-normal-london-mayor-sadiq-khan-a9568521.html Retrieved 25-08-2020