What’s the point of legislation imposing age limits on buying certain products when retailers clearly know better?
I’m sure we’re all quite used to seeing signs in supermarkets telling you that it’s an offence to buy alcohol unless you’re 18 and then another sign telling you that if you look under 21 you’ll be asked for ID. Some shops even say that they’ll ask for ID if you look under 25.
There are signs telling you that you can’t buy cigarettes without ID unless you look over 21 but the legal age to buy them is 18. Then there’s knives – you have to be 18 to buy a knife but the signs in the shops tell you you have to be 21 or 25. And not forgetting glue and solvents of course, you have to be 18 to buy them but shops won’t sell them to you if you’re under 21.
I appreciate that retailers are held responsible if they serve someone under-age but the signs often say they won’t serve you if you look under 21 or under 25, not that they will ask you for ID. I don’t have a problem with the ones that say they will ask you for ID, I do have a problem with the ones that say they won’t serve you.
This rant isn’t random, there is a point to it. I went to get petrol today and I noticed a new sign on West Mercia Police headed paper attached to the petrol pumps. It says that you can’t use the pumps unless you’re 21 years old. Bearing in mind that you can legally ride a motorbike at 16 years old and you can drive a petrol powered invalid carriage at 16 if you’re registered disabled and the law says that you only have to be 16 to buy petrol, why are the police putting up signs telling you that you have to be 21 to use a petrol pump? The job of the police is to enforce the law, not make it up as they go along.
West Mercia Police have replied to an email I sent them earlier about this saying that they’ve done it elsewhere to try and cut down the availability of fuel for people riding mini-moto’s and off-road bikes illegally. They say that it only applies to sales of fuel in cans and that most people riding illegally are under-age. Mini-moto’s are a pain in the arse, especially when they’re ridden on footpaths around the estate but it’s still not the job of the police to make up laws as they go along. Besides, the biggest motorbike problem around here is the two grown men who ride their road-legal quads around at breakneck speed. The police know who they are but they’re still doing it so presumably they haven’t had a visit.