Last night I was refused the purchase of alcohol by my local Tesco store. As far as I can recall this is the first time I've every been refused an alcohol purchase. The reason for refusal has annoyed me to a considerable extent, because of the implications, and the general absurdity of the 'rules' being applied.
But lets not get ahead of ourselves... I'll start at the beginning.
So last night I needed to pop into town to get some bits and pieces for dinner, and because there was a lot to remember, I made Kat come with me, rather than risk me forgetting something important. And so grudgingly she gave up a sunny spot in the garden to stroll with me into town.
We went to our local Tesco, there is also a Sainsbury's in town, but it it a little further away, so Tesco normally gets my custom by sheer virtue of being about 600 years less walking. We wandered around and picked up all the things we needed, lastly stopping of at the booze aisle so I that I could pick up a couple of bottles of cider.
One of the things I like about my local Tesco is the self service checkouts. They normally move pretty quickly, and the inconvenience of having to get someone to sign off on my use of a re-usable bag 'unexpected item in bagging area!!' And of course signing off on the alcohol.
So I've packed my bag, mostly with food and such for our evening meal. And I summon the assistant to approve my cider. At which point she turns to Kat and asks her for ID.
ERM..what? I'm the one buying alcohol here, and apparently she had no cause to believe that I am under 25. However since I was with Kat, she said she needed to see her ID. Again.. She had to 'think 25'..erm WHAT? Kat had no ID on her, why would she need it? She just came along to keep me company and make sure I didn't forget anything. So unable to present her ID, I was told I had to return the alcohol. 'You're kidding right?'
So the deal is this, Tesco has decided that it is not enough for me to be demonstrably old enough to buy alcohol, but that anyone I shop with must also be able to prove they are over 18... Because apparently I might be planning on giving someone under 18 drink. Since when is it Tesco's job to preemptively assume that I might be planning on breaking the law with my purchases anyway? The very fact that I know someone for whom alcohol consumption would be illegal is now enough to forbid me from buying it?
The crazy fact of course is that Kat is over 25 (just) and has not been ID'd all the time that it was merely 'think 21` and I don't think anyone would really question that she is over 18. But the implications of this are crazy.
Are parents allowed to buy alcohol whilst with their children? How old does a child have to be before they will mean anyone with them is banned from buying things they *might* illegally pass on to the child?
Whilst I know that our government seems hell bent on a national ID card scheme, at the moment at least we are free to walk the streets, without name,rank and serial number with us at all times. But now, just being *with* someone that is shopping means you have to have ID on you?
I was told to just give back the alcohol. I of course told them they could keep the lot. I'm not doing 'some' of my shopping here. And I went to Sainsburys, where I was able to buy the exact same set of shopping, and pass through checkouts with Kat, without any such nonsense.
I resent the implication that I cannot be trusted to obey the law if sold something when you think I have the opportunity to break it. Particularly when someone that does want to buy alcohol, or anything else, for under age friends. Can go to the trivial step of making them wait outside. It's hardly difficult to circumvent.
And it's perhaps that which rankles the most. Like so many stupid things being imposed upon us because of 'terrorists' or 'pirates' the measures are almost always incredibly inconvenient for honest people, and of almost no hindrance at all to real criminals. DRM need only be broken once by pirates to be able to illegally distribute movies. But that same DRM interferes with every honest consumer every time. How about you stop presuming that people are out to break the law, and restricting activities that *might* be precursors to crime. And focus on people actually committing crimes? And in the case of Tesco, how about you leave crime detection and prevention to the police, and go back to worrying about selling goods to honest consumers.
So congratulations Tesco. You have now offically lost my custom.