Teaspoon is 'drug paraphernalia', Sainsbury's tells Grocer journo

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When is a teaspoon not a teaspoon? When it’s “drug paraphernalia”, The Grocer discovered this week.

The Grocer’s own senior reporter Elinor Zuke was shocked when an age verification alert was triggered by a £1.19 pack of six Basics teaspoons at a self-scan checkout in The Grocer’s local Sainsbury’s store in West Green, Crawley.

When she asked why the purchase had to be verified, she was told the spoons “could be used as drug paraphernalia”.

“I couldn’t understand what the problem was - when the supervisor said it was because they could be used as drug paraphernalia I was completely shocked,” Zuke said.

“I would imagine the vast majority of spoons sold by Sainsbury’s are used for nothing more nefarious than stirring a cup of tea. Having to prove I was over 18 to buy them seemed total madness.”

Sainsbury’s apologised for the incident. “The self-scan system recognised the spoon’s SKU as one for a knife,” said a spokeswoman. This had now been rectified.

“We’re very sorry for any confusion caused,” she added. “Our Think 25 policy is designed to ensure age-related products are sold safely.”

Readers' comments (7)

  • *Sainsbury’s apologized for the incident. “The self-scan system recognized the spoon’s SKU as one for a knife,” said a spokeswoman. This had now been rectified. *

    So knives are drug paraphernalia? I thought the age limit was to prevent Brits from knifing each other, as they are culturally conditioned to do.

    So where then did the drug excuse come from? This whole incident reeks of half-baked rationalizations and people allowing automated policy barriers to overwhelm their common sense.

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  • Seriously, Alger is correct. Did anyone ask why they said it was "drug gear" and then later changed their tune, saying it was improperly labeled as a knife?

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  • Seems like the UK and US(where I am) are in a race to see who can officially become the most moronic country in the world.

    Goes right along with things like someone claiming their hybrid is 100% green and protects the environment.

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  • Those are plastic spoons from the look (and price) of the package.....
    That makes them *completely* useless for drug paraphernalia, as the spoon, when heated would melt - not a choice for your local resident heroin addict :)

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  • Reminds me of the bloke who got clocked in Singapore, roughly a bit over a decade ago, allegedly having done in excess of 250 mph in an old Datsun Cherry, which hadn't even had any engine modifications.
    The rozzers were adamant that there was nothing wrong with their radar equipment.

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  • I think it's a bit unfair to say "Sainsbury's says spoon is drug gear", that seems needlessly sensationalist.

    My guess is that it was wrongly flagged as a knife but when asked a staff member turned up to sort it out (probably as confused as to why it got flagged) hazarded a guess that it could be because it might be used for drugs.

    One rushed off their feet self service check out attendant does not count as the voice of Sainsbury's.

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  • Anonymous

    Teaspoon? I always use a soup ladle!

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