Sunday, 14 December 2008

The 21st Century Great Excuse: Health and Safety

So when this happened on Friday evening, I knew I was going to write a post about it. But I wanted a couple of days to go by so that I could calm down and be objective. Here's what happened:

Mrs C wants a coat for Xmas. Harrods had a 30% off week for its most loyal customers, which thanks to Mrs C's ludicrous spending habits, seems to mean us. Mrs C went, looked around and waited for me to finish work. So at around 1730 hrs on Friday I arrived at Horrids carrying my briefcase (a black, fabric, airline style affair with 2 wheels and a retractable handle). I was also carrying a large shopping bag full of another present for Mrs C bought earlier in the day.

As I arrived at the door, I retracted the briefcase's handle, picked it up in my hand and made to enter but was stopped in my tracks by a gruff Horrids security guard who looked and was acting as if he was being confronted by a major threat to Horrids security.

Guard: "Sorry but you can't bring that in here".
MC: "Sorry, bring what in here?"
Guard: "That bag, sir. It has wheels."
MC: "It's just my briefcase."
Guard: "Sorry sir. It has wheels and that's against Horrids policy."
MC: "Why?"
Guard: "Because you might wheel it and someone might fall over it."
MC: "But you let pushchairs in here, right?"
Guard: "Yes we do."
MC: "And prams?"
Guard: "Yes."
MC: "And if I had 20 big shopping bags like this one in my other hand, you would let me in, right?"
Guard: "Yes."
MC: "And you sell these wheely briefcases in the store as well?"
Guard: "Maybe sir but it is company policy that bags with wheels are not allowed into the store. You can leave it at Door 3."

There followed a terrible to do where I went to the next door to be greeted by a similarly brusque guard who had been alerted on the radio by his mate. Pissed off, I told Mrs C to come and get me and we stomped off to the car in high dudgeon.

Mrs C rang to complain, as is her way, and a 'computer says no' conversation ensued, which went nowhere fast where the 21st century officialdom's trump card was inevitably played: "It's against health and safety".

My points:

1. What a stupid fucking rule.
2. Yet another inarticulate dunderhead wanker with a badge wins out over a normal law abiding person, and smirks his way home feeling big about himself.
3. How pathetic is our society now that we are so frightened about health and safety that we err so much on the side of extreme caution that we have shops worried about briefcases on wheels. (We can conqueror the world, thrust into space, wage pointless wars but in Brown's Britain we obsess about PC crap).
4. A great example of British 'gold plating'. Does anyone really think that the HSE would have a problem with wheely briefcases in department stores? Not a real danger are they?
5. What a stupid fucking rule.

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