I’ll Have Wine and Scissors, Please: English Citizens Object to Move Toward “Nanny State”

250px-Cassatt_Mary_Nurse_and_Child_1896-97Management consultant Jackie Slater is over fifty and wanted to buy two bottles of wine when she was stopped at a store counter in England. The Morrisons clerk told her that she could not purchase wine because she was accompanied by her 17-year-old daughter Emily. In a London library, Lorna Watts, 26, asked to borrow some scissors and was refused by a librarian who explained that she “might stab a member of staff”. These are stories from what many of our English cousins are calling the evolution of a “nanny state” where the government and companies dictate an ever-widening range of rules for citizens who are treated as little more than errant children.


140px-Margaux94_1In Slater’s case, the clerk explained that, if she had been alone, she would not have been stopped. Moreover, if her daughter was a bit younger, the store probably would not have objected. But the store now requires everyone “of a certain age” to produce identification. The store management stands behind the ridiculous rule, stating “[u]nder current licensing laws, stores are unable to sell an alcoholic product to a customer they believe could be buying for a minor or for someone who is unable to prove their age.”

It is a uniquely moronic policy since anyone who is buying booze for minors would be unlikely to walk in with them. It also creates this vague standard where clerk decided whether a child is sufficiently young so as not to be a concern. The store admits that, if Emily were twelve, they would not have objected because “no one would buy wine for a 12-year-old”.

However, being twelve may not be enough to allow a parent out of a store. A week earlier, Gill Power was stopped at an Asda store because her twelve-year-old son was carrying a bag with a bottle of wine in it. The store took back the wine and said that a twelve-year-old could not carry alcohol even in a shopping bag. It is not clear if he can ride in a car containing such a bottle. While Asda stated later that it will allow kids to carry groceries, this nanny problem appears to go beyond weekend shopping.

140px-Skalm_2.JPGLorna Watts, 26, is a self-employed dressmaker who asked to borrow some scissors at the Holborn Library in central London. She was refused on the basis that she “might stab a member of staff.” Notably, there was no apparent concern over a crazed dressmaker stabbing patrons, just staff.

When Watts pressed the point, she was told “they are sharp, you might stab me.” Now here is the kicker. Watts then visited three other libraries and was refused at each one on the basis of a policy not to lend “sharp implements.” Rather than proceed to beat a clerk to death with a heavy leather-bound book, Watts went to the media.

This cannot be the same people who produced Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill. Benny Hill, yes, but not Winston Churchill.

For the scissor story, click here.

For the wine story, click here.

14 thoughts on “I’ll Have Wine and Scissors, Please: English Citizens Object to Move Toward “Nanny State””

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  2. 6 months ago when I was 27, I was unable to buy a 30 pack with my <$100 in groceries at a Hannaford in Albany NY b/c my wife [BEING 8 MONTHS PREGNANT] did not have an id or wallet with her.
    Oh, i had my id and even talked/scowled at the manager.

    Everyone on the shift agreed that she looked and they thought she was over 21. No movement or independent thought.

    I repeated 'this is America, right?'…as my sorry as* still bought the groceries anyway.

  3. They have similar rules against purchasing alcohol here.
    My husband proposed to me when I was 20 and he was 27. He had a huge day-long plan that backfired when he forgot to make a reservation at this quiet hotel, the only one in the area for all the things he had planned, and an unexpected corporate event took all the rooms. Not feeling so well, he decided to purchase a beer from the grocery store as we were heading back into town. Because I was with him, they would not let him purchase a single beer.
    Now, even though I am 23, I have to leave the grocery store (or use the self-check out, where the vast majority stores don’t check ID’s), if I forget my ID and he wants to buy a beer.
    The rule does not make much sense; if an adult over 21 is present and is the one paying, it should make no difference how many people under the age of 21 are present. The grocery store would not be liable if the underage students drank; the 21-year-old would be, so why do they care?

  4. This is the natural result of ‘The Rules’ being revered above reasoning behind them. We don’t need more rules, we need more people thinking for themselves.

    Of course, that’s easier said than done. It’s easier to be lazy and follow ‘The Rules’ than it is to be mindful. I’m reminded of the commandments in Animal Farm. They’ll become simultaneously more restrictive to the masses and apply less and less to those in power until “protesting peacefully and lawfully” will refer to staying home and keeping your mouth shu- Oh wait, even the nonviolent G20 protesters were violently and overwhelmingly suppressed by the police weren’t they?

  5. I have a different take on the library scissor story. Having on numerous occasions tried to read an article in an archived periodical and discovered that someone who was too cheap or too lazy to photocopy the article had cut it out, I have to agree with the no scissors for patrons rule regardless of the stated reason.

    I should also say that I am totally opposed to the death penalty except in cases of library materials mutilation.

  6. While I was winding myself up over my first post, I thought you might enjoy this…….

    This is unbelievable, but true!

    Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 600 employees and has the following employee statistics .

    29 have been accused of spouse abuse

    7 have been arrested for fraud

    9 have been accused of writing bad cheques

    17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

    3 have done time for assault

    71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

    14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

    8 have been arrested for shoplifting

    21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

    84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year

    Which organisation is this ?

    It’s the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us inline.

    What a bunch of b*****s we have running our country – it says it all. And just to top all that they probably have the best ‘corporate’ pension scheme in the country!!

  7. Such is the way of all people that let government stifle individual initiative and self reliance.

  8. Dazza said, “Our country has turned into a joke.”

    Being from/in Texas, I most certainly can sympathize.

    Fwiw, less than 2 months ago in Luckenbach, 1859 guitarists made the Guinness Book of World Records by playing the same song(s) at the same time. Here is one of the songs.
    ‘London Homesick Blues’

  9. Got your link from The Grumpy Old Sod site. Have a look at http://www.grumpyoldsod.com to see how bad things are getting in Stalag UK. Latest post is that our Police are not to put themselves at risk apprehending criminals and will be prosecuted under health and safety law for doing so.

  10. And to think that when I was 13 you could legally purchase cigarettes. I have heard about TSA taking items from passengers and then the same people going to Brookstones and purchasing the same items seized.

    Stupidity is not limited solely to government employees.

  11. I live in England and your story is just the tip of a very large iceberg.
    We have local councils here (elected by the voting public) who have taken it upon themselves to ban christmas decorations and christmas lights as they may offend muslims. Last I knew, we were a christian country.
    We have more CCTV cameras per head of population than any other country on earth. We still have rising crime figures so obviously they don’t work.
    Smoking is banned in all building except prisons….at least the cons can have a smoke when they fancy one.
    Our country has turned into a joke.
    Only last week, a jetskier was left lying in agony after an accident.
    He was injured by another jetski and suffered a broken pelvis, broken arm and leg. The paramedics arrived and wouldn’t lift the guy out of 10 inches of water. The informed the gathering crowd that they hadn’t been trained to carry out a water based rescue and the fire service would have to be called to carry out the rescue. The cited health & safety as grounds to leave the man in agony until the fire service arrived.

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