A boy, a bag and some bother

I wanted to share the details of an incident that occurred last bank holiday Saturday at about 8pm. Two young lads came into the shop, a taller one and a shorter one, but neither looked old enough to buy alcohol. They came in and went straight up the stairs into the wines and beers section but were told by the lady serving about our Challenge 21 policy.

They then came back down the stairs to the ground floor and the younger one, who was about 14, asked for a bag of crisps. I then told them they should move their bikes, which they'd left on the pavement outside, to the bike stand, which they did. They came back in, and the boy bought the crisps then asked for a bag to put them in. I told him, "that's going to waste a lot of trees, needing a bag for a bag of crisps". But I gave him the bag, which he then discarded outside the shop.

An hour later, I had the boy's mother on the phone, saying she'd sent him to the shop to buy crisps. She was carrying on dramatically about how I'd behaved, saying I'd upset her son, wouldn't serve him and had refused to give him a bag.

I don't know what sort of story he'd told her. She said she wouldn't come to the shop again, and it would have a knock-on effect because her friends wouldn't come in here either.

If that's the way children's parents react when someone tries to put them on the right, if their reaction is to give me a lot of earache, then I find it quite amazing.

Richard Genders

The Bottle Shop

Cheadle Hulme


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