I wandered into Local Shop over the weekend.
There was a new girl behind the counter who cheerfully asked what she could get me. I asked for a couple of packs of Silk Cut Purple fags.
In common with most shops I have been in over the last years, Local Shop has a cigarette dispensing machine. There’s a wee keypad, and when they press a button the correct pack drops down to a trough. Local Shop quite often don’t bother with keypads and usually just open the doors, subjecting all those in the shop to the full glare of advertising from the packets within, and causing all children within a hundred yards to immediately become hooked on Nicotine.
New Girl though just decided to use the keypad. She pressed the button a couple of times but only one pack dropped out. She muttered something uncomplimentary and hesitantly opened the machine’s doors. She looked in blank bewilderment at the multiple columns of packets. I told her that the Purple was in the right hand door. She looked where I pointed but the rack was empty. She called the shop owner.
He came over, looked at the empty rack and then said the manufacturer had discontinued them. What the fuck? No, says he, they have stopped making them. He asked if I wanted the replacement – Silk Cut Purple in a 23 pack, which apparently has something to do with the new regulations that are coming in. We pondered the logic of this move while a crowd of pre-pubescent children formed behind me all clamoring for glamorous packs of Marlboro and Benson & Hedges. Why had they decided on 23, and not 20 or 25? It didn’t make sense. The only logical conclusion was that the law wanted us to smoke more.
Anyhows he then had to look for where the new supply was stocked in the machine which meant double checking each pack to make sure it was a Purple and not a Blue. I cheerfully remarked that they would have great fun and games when all the packs were identical regardless of manufacturer or brand.
“That shower and their fucking senseless laws are a curse” he replied.
I couldn’t have agreed more.