It was late 2002 and I was still working unhappily at WHSmith’s in Windsor, working on customer services and taking care of all the CDs and DVDs and such like. It was half-term and a dark and miserable day and I was trying to do all my entertainment stuff whilst helping to look after the counter, as per usual there wasn’t enough of us to all the things that needing doing.
I drop what I’m doing to jump onto the counter as queue’s are forming with the intention of quickly clearing the queue so I can get on with what I need to be doing. I’m quickly getting through them, and filling their empty CD and DVD cases with the discs locked safely behind me.
Finally the queue clears and I try to get back on with what I’m doing. But then a lady approaches me.
“Excuse me; I’m from the Trading Standards Authority.”
She’s holding a Polaroid of a girl with a Blade 2 DVD.
“You just sold this DVD to this girl. She’s 14”
Blade 2 is an 18 certificate.
I went to fetch the manager. The three of us go up to the office. The lady is actually very polite, and apologetic. I tell her I honestly don’t remember selling it to her, I was just trying to clear the queue. It’s half-term, a perfect time to stage a sting.
Feeling a bit shell shocked I returned to work, without the bollocking I was expecting (a rare bit of decent management) but had to come in specially to see a lawyer the following week, where it was explained that I could get a warning, be given a three year caution, where, if I re-offended, I would be in serious trouble, or get taken to court. The second two I’m told almost never happen, and certainly wouldn’t happen to me, more likely that they might go after the company. The lawyer seemed to remember a case of an old lady working at Tesco who had let an underage girl have a DVD even thought she was underage but this was the only time a caution had been issued.
Besides, there’s supposed to be a warning on the till when you sell an 18 DVD, we tested Blade 2 and the warning was absent. So if anyone was going to be f***** it was the company and not me.
About six months later I was let off. I’ve never watched any of the Blade films but I gather I’m not missing much.
The Phobia of the day is couloraophobia: The fear of clowns