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25 August 2006

World gone nuts

The scene: A person on vacation walks into a late night store to buy some nuts.
Present: The person, a shop assistant and a selection of tasty nutty snacks placed out of reach.


The story goes something like this

Shopper: I fancy a bag of salted peanuts, do you have any?

Assistant: You look under 21, can I see some ID?

Shopper: What the? Well, all I've got is my driving licence

The shopper shows his driving licence to the assistant, who checks it

Assistant: Thank you John <funny middle name john would rather not use> Doe, I see you're old enough to buy nuts, but unfortunately due to strict local laws we are outwith the permitted nut selling hours and there are severe penalties for serving nuts late at night, or early in the morning and especially on Sundays.

Shopper: What a ridiculous local law, why can't an adult buy nuts on a Sunday morning - what if I was having a picnic or barbeque?

Assistant: Well you might think so sir, but believe me nuts are a real problem for a minority of the population. First off, we've got small children pinging them and choking on them so it's an offence to give nuts to any young children. Then we've got teenagers congregating in public places eating them and making a general nuisance of themselves so we've banned outdoor nut eating in many places. Not to mention the health risks - did you know that you can be ill if you eat several large bags of nuts a day - see the healthwarning notice on the bag! Besides that there's the obvious allergy problem so even though it says "this is a bag of nuts" on the front, we still need a notice in small print on the side saying "may contain nuts". There's also people who can be addicted to certain foods, let me show you the local notices detailing meetings of nuts anonymous and al-a-nut for friends and relatives. We've also banned nuts in all the local schools because obviously if one child might be allergic then all the children must be banned from taking nuts in.

Shopper: That's mad. Surely the health benefits for the many shouldn't be affected by an allergy affecting a few. What if one child was allergic to bees, would you ban the children from taking in fruit incase it attracted bees to the playground? Surely it makes no sense to ban nuts because you've got all these other nut contaminated products that are just as deadly. Statistically, more children are hurt by dogs but you let the dogs run free in a park where children are playing.

Assistant: That's the rules Sir, we have dedicated nut free areas.

Shopper: I'd better watch out then when I'm walking back to my holiday cottage that I don't enter a nut free zone.

Assistant: Yes, and if you had a car you'd need to drive with the bag of nuts in your boot - people have been known to eat nuts when driving and a loose nut falling between your legs is such a distraction that we've made driving with an open bag of nuts in the car an offence. We've also found that nuts are a major cause of teenage pregnancy, once they get under the influence.

Shopper: How can nuts lead to pregnancy?

Assistant: Well it started harmlessly enough at a party. Everyone was enjoying themselves normally, drinking alcohol and behaving themselves when some troublemakers snuck in with some peanut butter paste in a squeezy bottle. All of a sudden they were eating it, someone got some on themselves and before long they were covered in the stuff. One thing just led to another and the situation got completely out of control. Especially when they started spinning the empty bottle. We had to put a bar on the use of nuts at underage parties.

Shopper: Thanks for telling me, it sounds like there's a lot of red tape around a product that for most people is healthy when taken in moderation. I can't even buy nuts on my way to work as their sale before 10am is prohibited.

Assistant: Yes, because of the health risks and the powerful anti-nut lobby the nut industry is heavily regulated. You can only buy nuts at certain times of day, consume them in certain indoor places and you have to be of legal age to buy them. Exceptions are granted for religion, where you can take nut loaves and fish into communion. The religious minority are keen to ensure that the only nut eaters on a Sunday morning are those in church.

Shopper: Oh, that's perverse. It's obviously far too complicated. All I wanted was a snack, I'll take a packet of crisps instead.

Assistant: Certainly sir, and are you wanting something to drink with it? They are a bit salty.

Shopper: Oh, OK then. I'll take a litre of whisky.

Assistant: Fine then, here you go. Clearly as you are not unduly the influence I see no reason why I shouldn't be serving you alchohol regardless of the time of day or day of the week. You might be surprised but in other places they actually have the same sort of laws for alchohol that we do for nuts, it's completely bonkers.

Shopper: I completely agree, it's totally nutty.

Why not see what the policicians said.
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