January 3rd is International Fake ID Day. This holiday continues to grow in popularity each year. In some countries International Fake ID has become more popular than Halloween.
Adults love this holiday because it combines elements of both Halloween and the American shopping day Black Friday. It is not surprising that this enterprising holiday was the brain child of Amazon creator Jeff Bezos. He hoped to create a holiday that would organically drive sales to his business, as well as other retail locations, during a period of time that was less profitable for businesses.
In 1998 Bezos infiltrated the small town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas with a small group of Amazon employees. With the aid of local businesses Bezos and his crew set up contests at local bars and restaurants that put workers’ ability to distinguish fake IDs from valid IDs to the test. His crew and some local volunteers spread out through the town to test bartenders, bouncers and servers alike to see if they were able to distinguish between real and fake ids.
About 30% of bars and restaurants were unable to tell which were fake. This discovery helped Bezos lay the ground work for the creation of International Fake ID Day. The following year Bezos set up a contest at a couple of local retail stores. Booths were set up to encourage people to come in and see if they could trick store staff with their fake ideas.
Officials were given two cards by patrons. These officials recorded the fake id and the real id. A member of the store staff was then asked to tell which was real and which was fake. Those participants who successfully tricked store staff received $500 dollars in store gift cards. This was the origins of International Fake ID day.
Within the next few years local stores experienced an influx of cash as participation in the day increased. Slowly more and more retailers adopted the practice inspiring people to create more fake IDs much to the chagrin of local authorities who started to be inundated with forgery rings as a result of the day.
As the internet brought attention to the day more companies around the world began to participate. Iceland was one of the first countries to make this holiday their own. All across the country patrons had the chance to win gift cards, products and even alcohol.
People began dressing up in sun glasses with money signs. Music blasted through the streets as community parties were set up near retail venues. In Akureyri local leaders made International Fake ID Day an official holiday. The government set the day aside and closed all businesses not in the retail sector. Those who worked on the holiday received three times their daily wage.
In 2015 more people in Europe and Asia celebrated the holiday than those in North America; however, the holiday continues to grow exponentially in countries like Canada and Mexico. It is estimated that more people in these countries will celebrate this holiday than Christmas by the year 2035.