Wednesday, 3 February 2010

For the love of quiche!

Recently I promised myself that I would stop posting stories about silly things like 70-year-old men being asked to show ID when buying a bottle of wine. Whenever I post a story like that I get emails from Guardian readers telling me that all these ‘political correctness gone mad” stories are a lie and a fabrication. Well, I lied… because here is another.

When 24-year-old Christine Cuddihy visited her local branch of Tesco supermarket in Coventry, she decided to buy a slice of quiche from the deli counter for her supper. However, when Christine arrived at the checkout, the till operator asked her for some ID. That’s right… you apparently need ID to buy a piece of quiche!

Christine thought it was a joke or a wind-up but the assistant told her: “You don't look over 21. I need to see some proof of age,” before adding “We have to be really strict now and this applies to quiche bought over the counter.”

Naturally there’s either something being added to the water cooler in Tesco staff rooms up and down the country, or else Tesco really has lost its corporate marbles.

It’s not just Tesco that has got itself into a public relations mess with this sort of nonsense. Recently, Tina MacNaughton-Jones, 47, was told she could not by a bottle of wine from her local Waitrose supermarket without ID. Tina asked her 22-year-old daughter to use her driving licence as proof she was over 18 but the shop assistant wouldn’t budge. The impeccable logic for the refusal was that Tina’s daughter might pass the wine on to her mother… who couldn’t prove that she was over 18!

Perhaps one reason why supermarkets are perhaps getting themselves in a real panic over things like this is the tendency of the government to introduce nannying restrictions on so many items that used to be bought quite freely. Local trading standards departments frequently set out on entrapment and fishing exercises using very mature-looking 17-year-olds to buy alcohol in order to hit their quota of prosecutions.

Has our society become so infantilised that individuals are unable to muster an ounce of common sense? Have we become so disabled and feeble? On second thoughts, don’t answer that!


  1. As I sit and eat my pice of ham quiche....You got me thinking if my missus was asked for her ID....but no Sainsburys haven't thought about that one yet.... I thought it was me getting old.. but no you have noticed it as well..the country's been taken over by idiots.

  2. The wine incident also happened to myself and my daughter before christmas, apparently "you cant be too careful" it would have been funny except the lad serving me was my sons mate. Got to love "Jobsworths"

  3. The thing that gets me is its "think 21" THINK 21. Not are you 21. I have to wonder where all this 21 limit is coming from, it's not 21 and never has been.

    But how "dangerous" is quiche, unless its a very thick crust and you plan on throwing it at someone.

    But at the same time maybe a raw one is "bad"

  4. The buying booze thing is unfortunate but actually quite sensible when you think about it.

    If a cashier is caught selling booze to someone that can't prove they're of the legal age it's a 2 or 3 thousand pound fine for that person. Not Tesco, not Morrisons, Miss Jane Bloggs on checkout 7 working for minimum wage. As has been mentioned, the entrapment patrol could be anybody, anywhere.

    However, the quiche thing is ludicrus and, I imagine, the person who perpetrated it was probably new and had the "check for ID" talk rammed down their throat.

  5. It's sensible to check people's ID for alcohol but when they're clearly over the age of 25 or more, then it's really rather silly. Why can't we have just a bit of common sense... or is it really not that common?

  6. What is so dangerous in a piece of quiche? What about cheese pie, would that be possible? And Welsh Rarebit? I do not get the 21 years' limit either - people become of age at 18, and they may vote at 16. But they may not buy a piece of quiche? How strange! Greetings from Styria! Barbara

  7. Wait a minute UK - what are you putting in these quiche? Here in the good ole USA we put eggs, cheese, cream and assorted meats and vegetables... have vegetables been put on the restricted lists in the "homeland"? What in your quiches is restricted to the "over 21"? The only item that "might" be restricted is vanilla extract and I've never put that in quiche, maybe in puddings and cakes - dear Lord is that next? An ID to buy a cupcake...

  8. After reading your blog this morning I checked some local news sources and am glad to report the media here in Canada has picked up on your quiche story. Last year, at a music festival here, everyone who lined up for a beer was "carded". It didn't matter if you were 18 or 80.Apparently, the year before, a couple of teenagers managed to buy beer, and so, to make sure it didn't happen again, everybody at next years event was inconvenienced. All this to say that there is no shortage of stupidity in the service industry here in Canada as well.

  9. Having seen what the hospital "kitchens" are capable of producing, I suspect the issue is that Tesco knows that some of its suppliers' kitchens aren't much better. They have legitimate concerns that their pastry products will be used as lethal weapons rather than be consumed by some ill-informed gourmand. Imagine, Tesco could be unwittingly selling the epicurian equivalent of the Flying Guillotine! And nobody wants that in the hands of teenagers. Please, won't somebody think of the children?

  10. I wonder if the same stupidity would apply to someone at the till with all the ingredients of a quiche..?

  11. from my experience, most people who buy quiche are over 18 anyway!!!

  12. Agent of Australia4 February 2010 at 00:24

    I worked checkouts here in Oz for years, selling alcohol, cigarettes and scratchies, all of which you must be over 18 to purchase. Here the fines are up to $10,000 for the individual caught selling the goods to a minor, and up to $200,000 for the business. As a rule of thumb, if you looked under 25 I asked for ID, because there are kids out there you would never pick as under 18.

    But I do think that they are taking it to extremes over there. I have to ask though - do they have restrictions on the sale of methylated spirits? vanilla essence? or spray paint? In various parts of Oz, these items are restricted, and can only be purchased if over 18, and are often stored in locked cupboards. But I did once had someone yell at me because they could only get the purple dyed metho and had to buy a loaf of bread to strain it through before they could drink it (effectively doubling the price of their booze).... so maybe its not so silly......