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Friday, May 08, 2009

Every day, in every way

As the tide of ignorance moves up the estuary of British society, it is threatening to turn into a Seven Bore of Stupidity.

A shopper was left baffled after she went to Asda to stock up on picnic equipment and was asked for proof of age to buy a set of teaspoons. The shop assistant reportedly informed the customer that someone had once been murdered with a teaspoon, and therefore age identification was now required.

[From Shopper asked for proof of age to buy Asda teaspoons - Telegraph]

The shop assistant had clearly made this up, having no idea why proof of age were needed to buy teaspoons. Oddly, the made up response seemed entirely plausible to me. I can imagine Jacqui Spliff announcing it, displaying an appropriately grave face, on breakfast television with no-one batting an eyelid at the pointless illiberal fatuous measure. Yes, Eamonn Holmes, might intone liltingly, something must be done about the teaspoon menace. Had I heard, half asleep at 10 to 7 in the morning, that the Home Office was working on a teaspoon strategy, I would have groaned and turned over, but would not have thought it April Fool's day.

Who knows why Asda are policing teaspoon sales? A number of theories are floating around on the web, ranging from worries about sharpened teaspoons being smuggled into jails to teenage boys using teaspoons from the fridge to delay premature ejaculation (I genuinely have no idea how: I did some pretty unusual things when I was a teenage boy, but I'd never even heard of this one). Personally, I suspect that teaspoons may have been classified as drug paraphernalia, and we have thus become a society where drugs are freely available to every teenager in Britain but teaspoons are not, which seems a fitting doom for a once-proud nation.

P.S. Since I wrote this, but didn't post it, I went on to do a bit more googling and have discovered, I think, the truth. Which is even more disturbing, in a way. It transpires that the shop assistants do not think for themselves at all: so when the POS terminal tells them to check age, they do unquestioningly. Hence a 75-year old war veteran found himself having to prove he was over 18 to buy a bottle of wine. Anyway, the likely explanation for the teaspoon event is, as is so often the case, a programming cock-up: the POS system was supposed to flag up proof of age demands for knife purchases, but somehow the code was flagging all cutlery. I imagine the people responsible have been fired and I hope Asda outsource their programming to Vietnam or somewhere in time to start registering people for the Second Home Secretary's flagship national identity card scheme.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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