Monday, 9 February 2009

Oh, Do Please *!$&* Off, Nanny State!

Tesco and Asda were condemned last night for selling a string of books and CDs with the F-word in their titles.

The items were available on their websites, where they were easily accessible to children.
It was an error, of course. Both supermarkets normally filter these things out:
They appeared even if inoffensive words from their titles were entered into the sites' search engines, with the potential to shock and offend shoppers.

Asda quickly apologised when The Mail on Sunday brought the books and CDs to its attention and promptly removed them from its stock list.
So, problem solved, right?

Oh, no:
Tesco explained that its technological filter system, designed to prevent any products with offensive titles from appearing on its main site, had been faulty. It has since been repaired, making the titles more difficult to view.

But MPs and campaigners are now questioning whether a change in the law is necessary to prevent unlimited access to such products.
I’ll save you the trouble – NO!

Not that that will stop the bandwagon jumpers, of course, for whom this represents a chance to get their names in the media:
Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, criticised falling standards of decency among retailers. He said: ‘In terms of magazines, CDs and DVDs, standards seem to be slipping. If the industry can’t collectively sort itself out then we must seriously look into external regulation. If they can’t regulate themselves, we may have to introduce a statutory code.’
They are regulating themselves – this was a simple error, which when brought to their attention, was quickly fixed.

What’s the problem, Don? It’s not like the LibDumbs never make a boo-boo, is it? I don’t see you hollering for valuable Parliamentary time to be wasted then, eh...?

Of course, then there’s the rest of them:
Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, questioned how selling ‘adult’ material fitted in with Tesco’s image as a ‘family supermarket’.

She said: ‘Is this the beginning of Tesco’s drive to dominate the entire retail industry by abandoning all moral boundaries? Is this Tesco’s first step into the adult retail market? ‘
Yup! Pretty soon, the vibrators and butt-plugs will be available next to the saucily-shaped carrots and the sticks of butter...
The two supermarkets are not alone in featuring controversial titles on their websites. Last week WHSmith had 23 titles containing the F-word while Waterstone’s had 38.

This widespread availability reflects the lack of regulation on the display of such goods on the internet. As the products are legal to sell, the stores themselves agree on a code of conduct over their availability.
And what’s wrong with that? Barring computer errors like this one, it works. What legislation can prevent computer error, Nadine? And if you find one, better apply it to the government first...
John Beyer of campaign group Mediawatch-uk said the products were legal to sell. But he described the law as ‘ineffective’ and stressed that retailers had a duty to protect shoppers.

He said: ‘Sellers have a wider responsibility to the community they serve. Having that word in the title on full display is not something you’d expect of a supermarket.’
Oh, give me strength...

Look, the Victorian Age was an age of great discovery and invention, but can we all recall that though they were exceptionally prudish (even beyond the standards shown here) they also had the same number of vices, sex crimes and blue jokes as today.

Let’s not reinvent those times, eh?

13 comments:

Ross said...

What's even worse is that Tesco continue to sell Alphabetti Spaghetti, with which you can spell words like: "Stop moaning you miserable fucking twats, don't you thick as pigshit fuckwits have anything better to do?"

JuliaM said...

ROFL!

Sue said...

You have to laugh or you'd despair.

Pity they don't protect children where it counts. Cranmer has reported that the poor fostered girl in your previous article has been returned to her family and they have not yet been informed that she has converted... I dread to think what's in store for her now!

Mark Wadsworth said...

Why is selling 'adult products' incompatible with being a 'family store'? Aren't adults usually members of a family?

@Ross, crikey, how many tins did you have to buy to get that together?

Oldrightie said...

Yet "Lord of The Flies" documentary passes with the odd Ed Balls comment.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Great article Julia. It really is about time these companies told the righteous to go boil their heads.

AntiCitizenOne said...

Shhh!

Don't tell anyone but women with children have had sex.

The SHAME!

woman on a raft said...

If they are going to sell adult products, can they please not put them on those plastic strips which they then hang in quirky places and congratulate themselves on 'marketing innovation'. Assuming you did want a particular strawberry flavoured product, the place for that is with the other adult thingies, not titteringly next to the Nuttella or bizzarly in with the washing powders. That's just twisted.

JuliaM said...

"Pity they don't protect children where it counts."

Too busy worrying about the little things, and the things they have no business meddling in...

"If they are going to sell adult products, can they please not put them on those plastic strips which they then hang in quirky places and congratulate themselves on 'marketing innovation'."

Ah, yes. Tesco are keen on that, hanging jerky and nuts alongside the wines and spirits...

Anonymous said...

"!$&" is a three letter word my children use all the time.

Deadbeat Dad said...

The Libdems are the groundfeeders amongst our political pondlife. These cunts would sell their children into sex slavery if it bought them a whiff of power.

Re Victoriana, I would recommend Ronald Pearsall's splendid 1976 book Public purity, private shame: Victorian sexual hypocrisy exposed, which explored the British library's extensive (and extremely lurid) holdings of Victorian pornography; a salutary reminder that the more sanctimonious the ruling class, the more grubby little secrets it has to hide. But we all know that by now, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Hate to say this but tesco have been selling kinky stuff for years.Have a look around the condom section.A vibrating cock ring to please her for one.Then theres all the different play lubes...umm so Ive been told......

Von Spreuth. said...

xxx woman on a raft said...

If they are going to sell adult products, can they please not put them on those plastic strips which they then hang in quirky places and congratulate themselves on 'marketing innovation'. Assuming you did want a particular strawberry flavoured product, the place for that is with the other adult thingies, not titteringly next to the Nuttella or bizzarly in with the washing powders. That's just twisted.

09 February 2009 15:38 xxx

It may be because it is late at night, but THAT, for some reason, I found bloody HILARIOUS!! You owe me a new key board by the way, spat a mouth full of beer all over my old one.

Von Brandenburg-Preußen.