Myth Busters

Case 322 – A furniture store said customers could not collect any furniture

A local furniture store told the enquirers wife that she could not collect any furniture (a foot stool in this case) due to Health and Safety, even though the item will fit perfectly well in her car, they stated that it had to be delivered costing around £30.

Panel decision

There are no health and safety regulations which prohibit members of the public from collecting items from retail stores and taking them home themselves. It seems clear from the evidence provided that this particular store is seeking to hide a commercial practice of insisting on home delivery at a cost of £30 behind the excuse of ‘health and safety’. One only has to look at the very large number of stores who offer in store collection to see that this is a very poor excuse.


Case 321 – Scouts not allowed to have an allotment


The enquirer has been advised by the chair of their local allotment community gardens site that a group of scouts are keen to grow their own veg, and an allotment would be ideal for a small group to get started with.

Panel decision

Although there are some minor risks associated with cultivating an allotment (use of tools, possible use of chemicals) these are all easily manageable with proper supervision which one could reasonably expect the Scout movement to provide.

The panel strongly believes that this is an excellent opportunity for Scouts to become involved in growing food and getting physical exercise and it is a great pity that “health and safety” has been offered up as a poor excuse for not allowing them to do it. The allotment committee should own up to their true reasons for refusing this worthwhile project.


Case 312 – Chips cannot be served in a paper cone


When ordering chips from a chip shop to take away, enquirer’s wife asked for her chips to be just put in paper and wrapped in a cone rather than have them served in the normal plastic type tray so they would be easier to eat and carry as they walked round the shops.


However, she was told by the lady serving behind the counter… “We can’t do that, it’s against health and safety, in case you burn yourself on the chips”. She was then advised that once they served them to her, she is more than welcome to remove the tray and wrap them up herself.


Panel decision


The customer made a perfectly sensible request and there is no health and safety reason which would prevent the shop proprietor doing as requested. Cases of poor customer service like this need to be wrapped up and thrown in the bin.