Just Making It Up As They Go Along….

A 25-year-old woman was asked for ID to buy teaspoons from a Sussex supermarket…

Teaspoons that had knives concealed in their handles? I mean, what other possible reason could they have for…


because staff feared she would use them to take drugs.


I just….

Miss Zuke, who works for trade magazine The Grocer, which is based in Crawley, was stopped from buying the spoons at a self-service checkout at the store.An automatic alert flashed up on the checkout screen saying her age needed to be continue (sic) before she could purchase the cutlery.

Miss Zuke said a shop worker then intervened and told her it was because of the risk they could be used to take drugs.

In actually fact, it wasn’t anything of the sort; Sainsbury admitted it was because the item had been incorrectly coded.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “We’re very sorry for any confusionthat this error caused.“Our Think 25 policy is designed to ensure that age-related products are sold safely and colleagues are trained to ensure they enforce our policy correctly.

“It is not our policy to ID people when buying spoons and there is no mention of ‘drug paraphernalia’ anywhere in the Think 25 training or policy. ”

Unfortunately, having this policy seems to lead to your staff assuming that there must be some nefarious reason for the item getting flagged – can’t argue with ‘the system’! – and just…filling in the blanks themselves!

“We do ask for proof of age when people buy knives and the self-scan system recognised the spoon’s code as one for a knifeand therefore triggered the alert.“The problem was immediately rectified and won’t happen again.”

Yes. Yes, it will.

Because when, say, a gift flowerpot kit gets wrongly flagged (perhaps because it contains a gardener’s knife or something that looks like one) some idiot will wrack their brains and after a period of desperate cogitation triumphantly exclaim that it’s because you might use it to grow cannabis, and we’ll be off to the races again!

Or….you could stick two fingers up to the Nanny State and tell them you aren’t going to bother checking this, unless it’s actually under the legal age of use?

15 comments for “Just Making It Up As They Go Along….

  1. February 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Our age had to be confirmed at Argos when buying a poker game for Christmas. It’s only a pack of playing cards, some plastic tokens to play with and the rules all packed in a box.

    • February 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Oh FFS. Promotes gambling or something, yes? Dear Christ… 👿

      • February 3, 2012 at 5:24 am

        Now, that one we CAN’T blame the government for….

  2. February 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Unfortunately, having this policy seems to lead to your staff assuming that there must be some nefarious reason for the item getting flagged – can’t argue with ‘the system’! – and just…filling in the blanks themselves!

    Not so much thinking on their feet as thinking with their feet.

  3. Andrew Duffin
    February 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Anybody tries this crap with me, the stuff gets left on the belt right there and then. They can put it back on the shelf themselves.

    Why on earth does anybody put up with this?

    • john in cheshire
      February 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      Andrew, can I suggest that just doing that is letting them off too easily. You should, for I would, make a formal complaint and then demand compensation for emotional hurt and the humiliation felt by being confronted in front of other shoppers etc. Then demand a huge amount of compensation to ease the pain.

  4. Lord T
    February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I’m the same as Andrew and I leave the contraversial stuff till last. It makes for a bit more fun.

    The reason it’s 25 is because the law in it’s idiocy does not allow for a id of 16 who looks 21 to buy anything. It’s an age limit. Asmost people can’t tell ages the Stasi send in quislings to trick shopkeepers and they then get fined. They like everyone else adapt to incentives and the incentive is to make it so you go overboard.

    The solution in my view is that anyone under 18 who looks older gets a tattoo stamped on their forehead with their dob. Alternativly anyone that lets their kids be used by Plod should be done for child abuse. What are they doing making their kids work underage?

    • February 3, 2012 at 5:25 am

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the kids they use were the kids of police staffers or local council workers.

  5. February 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I don’t understand why someone aged between 18 and 25 doesn’t take a shop to court for age discrimination when asked for ID. If the legal sale age is 18 there is no legal excuse for targetting and discriminating against a different age group. Just because it’s common ‘accepted’ policy does not make it legal. I would try it if I were in that age range.
    Also if the police try using a child to entrap a shopkeeper they should be prosecuted for aiding and abetting a minor to break the law.

  6. February 3, 2012 at 5:25 am

    That’s a bloody good idea!

  7. February 3, 2012 at 6:22 am

    I was using a wooden spatula yesterday at dins time. Might that be used to make a pipe or a blowpipe [dangerous weapon]? Should ASDA have sold it?

  8. February 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Last summer, a friend of mine – d’un certain age, Cath Kidston shopping bag and Laura Ashley florals – was told she could not buy the two 50g boxes of citric acid she needed for her annual batch of elderflower cordial.

    She was told by the assistant that the limit was one box per customer “because it’s used to take heroin and crack”.

    When she took it further, she discovered that the management had actually decided on the one-per-customer limit because a glut of elderflowers and a TV chef giving the recipe had led to a national shortage and consequent rationing.

    They do ask why you want it – and may refuse to sell it if they have reason to believe it will be used for drug-taking – but my friend presumably passed that test with flying colours.

    Interestingly enough, I have since heard of someone who was told that the shop she tried didn’t stock it as ‘it could be used for bomb-making’.

  9. nisakiman
    February 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    “Ok buster, I’ve got a spoon and I’m prepared to use it…!

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