I was in the main Co-op in our local town today, not a place I normally frequent. I take exception to the Co-op in particular as they have such a hypocritical attitude toward commerce. Instead of being up front and admitting they are really just like Tesco, Sainsburys and all the other super markets, they have this holier-than-though attitude about being a co-operative in the sense that everyone has a share in the profits. I’m sorry, but a divi card is just another loyalty card like the others. And they charge the earth for the goods, pretending that they are really like the corner shop and have to charge high prices cuz they don’t have the buying power. Bullshit!! They are as ruthless as any other large business and their property portfolio in my local town means they own half of it, the other half owned by the Dean and Chapter. And the corner shops they are pretending to be like have all gone because of their ruthless attitude. At least Tesco’s etc with their ‘Express’ shops make no bones about it.
Anyway, back to my visit to the Co-op and the reason for the title of this piece. I needed some tobacco and being in a rush, this was the nearest place. So I was waiting in the queue when I noticed the sign on the cigarette cabinet doors (this being a ‘big’ co-op, they need doors to block the offending goods). This sign, without any sense of irony, in extremely large letters, announced “If you can’t see what you need, please ask” followed by “If you wish to purchase tobacco products, please ask a member of our team”. Forgive me, but you’re the ones (as puppets of the EU/CONLIB) who have put bloody great slabs of wood between me and the (legal) products for sale. How the fuck could I see what I need, without some X-ray vision. And the second piece of information is equally nebulous as I can never remember when any tobacco product was in the self-serve isle. You have always had to ask the assistant for what you wanted as they have ALWAYS BEEN BEHIND THE COUNTER!. This was not to stop kiddies getting their mitts on the products, but to stop anyone nicking an expensive item. Apart from the fact I doubt whether the tax man would have believe the line “someone nicked all the B&H” when the duty was due to be paid.
After absorbing these two stunning pieces of unnecessary information, I got to looking at all the other signs that are plastered around the area. Such as the one saying you have to be over 18 to purchase cigarettes. I must admit, I thought it was still 16. So you can join the armed forces at 16, possibly get shot at by the age of 17, but not be able to smoke to calm yourself afterwards. It’s all so disconnected.
There is also a sign stating that if you don’t LOOK 25, then they will not sell you alcohol without some form of ID. So there you are, SId Snot, aged 18, in regular employment but no driving license, student card or what have you. It’s Friday evening, you’ve had a shit week and just want a few tins to unwind with. Being fully aware that the age of consent for the consumption of alcohol is 18, you go to make your purchase. “Sorry mate, you don’t look 25, no can do”. Well of course you don’t look 25 ‘cos you’re only 18. Fully entitled to buy and consume alcohol, but some wonk has decided, that to protect themselves from possible prosecution in case you’re not 18, you can’t. And without an ID, because fortunately, we don’t all have to have one, you’re screwed!
And they wonder why sales of ‘black market’ cigs and booze is on the increase.