There are times when I really seriously don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Now, I don’t like shops, and as far as I am aware, they don’t like me, so to avoid this mutual conflict, I do all my shopping on line. The one shop I detest above all others is the supermarket, with its wobbly trolley, screaming kids, blocked aisles, piped ‘music’ and its queues, so for as long as I can remember I have done the weekly grocery shop on line as well. I put in an order last night, and the delivery van has just come and gone.
The delivery chap was very helpful and efficient. He brought all the stuff into the kitchen table, as always, but unlike all previous deliveries, he then stood looking very ill at ease. I actually thought he was going to cry.
“I am very very sorry,” says he, “but I have to ask you something.”
“Ask away,” I said as I started putting stuff in cupboards.
“I have to ask you for identification if there is drink or tobacco in the order.”
That is where I didn’t know whether to laugh or join him in his distress and misery.
“Are you worried I might be under eighteen?” I asked.
He coughed and shifted onto the other foot. “Twenty one, actually” I don’t think I have ever seen anyone look so uncomfortable before.
Now, I suppose if you met me in a pitch black room, you could be excused for mistaking my age, but in broad daylight, I think the grey hair and beard, along with a few wrinkles here and there might give the game away. I showed him a photograph of myself. He was so relieved to be shown anything that he accepted proof that I was who I said I was.
He then went on to apologise some more, and to explain that he was just obeying orders [where have I heard that before?] and that he would have to ask me for identification every single time I get a delivery in future. He said that he is not allowed to use his own discretion and always has to see identity. Apparently the fact that he knows me doesn’t count.
I presume this is because of that damned programme on RTE the other night where they bribed some kids to order drink on line from supermarket and off licences. In the programme, the orders were delivered without question. Now we all have to fucking suffer. I really am getting pissed of with all of this fucking nannying. I have to produce papers now if I want to order groceries. I have to undergo a fucking grilling from a pharmacist if I want to buy anything with codeine in it. What the fuck are they going to dream up next?
Am I going to have to weigh myself in front of the delivery man if I order anything with calories in it?
Am I going to have to produce a driving licence, tax and insurance certificates and proof of ownership before I can buy petrol?
This is the first time the Nanny State has actually entered my property.
I doubt it will be the last.