I’ll give you an example… it’s been at least nine months since last I was in a supermarket. During that relatively short space of time it appears that these places no longer just sell food. Now it seems they’ve become the moral guardians of the nation, dispensing plenty of nannying advice and implementing moronic regulations. They seem more interested in bossing their customers around than they do in selling food.
First I read that a pensioner was refused permission to buy a teaspoon in a Tesco store because she was unable to prove she was over 18. What the hell did the checkout assistant think she was going to do with a teaspoon? Launch a frenzied attack on another shopper and scoop their eyes out with it? What sort of cretin would ask an elderly woman for ID before letting her buy a teaspoon? I know supermarkets don’t always employ the brightest types but you’d have to have the IQ of a lobotomised baboon not be able to tell the difference between a teenager and a pensioner. I’m surprised they’ve got sufficient intelligence to remember to draw breath on a regular basis.
ANd then this week I heard of another piece of supermarket madness. A Sainsbury’s employee told a pregnant woman that she couldn’t buy a piece of cheese as she was expecting. The knucklehead was of the opinion that the cheddar would harm the woman’s unborn child. Since when were cheesemongers qualified to hand out medical advice? I know supermarkets do more than just sell food, but this is extreme mission creep.
The pregnant woman was told that the cheddar she’d asked for was made from unpasteurised milk and was simply too dangerous for her to be allowed to buy it. Ignoring the fact that it was none of the imbecile’s business, the advice was completely false. Soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert may have a case to answer but not cheddar. Anyway, the woman might have been buying it for a neighbour or perhaps she was playing Russian roulette with a cheeseboard chock-full of killer cheeses. It was nobody else’s business.
So why are supermarket workers getting so above themselves? Personally, I blame the Government. It’s spent the past ten years or so spying on us; encouraging neighbours to snitch on each other and even urging children to spy on their parents by reporting environmental crimes like leaving a tap running or not turning off a light. The Government now pokes it’s nose into every nook and cranny of our lives in a way that would make a Stasi officer blush – and now it’s spreading to the private sector.
The more I hear about this sort of crap going on in the outside world, the less inclined I am to leave hospital. Apart from the old woman in the next room, no one in here is mad or stupid. If it weren’t for the food I think I’d set up home!
UPDATE: Barbara, this blog's delightful Austrian correspondent, tells me that the naughty person attempting to buy the lethal teaspoon was in fact only 21 years old. Quite correct to ask for her passport in that case. Obviously, as a journalist I never allow facts to get in the way of a good story. Even so... a teaspoon? It's total madness and it's catching. How much longer before the hospital starts using plastic cutlery?