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"We're not allowed to discuss the price of tobacco"

(78 Posts)
GarlicBake Sat 06-Feb-16 14:42:14

This will have passed by most of you clean-living, sensible people. It's happened to me several times in the past month or so: staff say it's illegal for them to tell me the price of 20g of this or a packet of that. Neither are they allowed to show me the price list, which doesn't show special offers anyway, nor to open the Doors Of Doom so I can see the prices for myself.

This leads to a bizarre situation where I have to ask for a product and do a lightning scan of the shelf while the door's open, change my mind if I want - or ask the assistant for a variety of tobacco products, watch the prices as they go through the till, then cancel my purchase. And then start a new sale of the product I think is best value.

Apart from being very, very confused and hmm ... doesn't this feel a bit like Orwell, Kafka, and the old USSR? Is speech becoming legally proscribed in other areas too, that I might not know about?

It's not the same as, say, patient confidentiality or corporate details. This is legislation that prohibits a salesperson from giving sales information to a customer. You can't even say it's for the customer's protection, as only addicts smoke these days and we're going to buy the stuff anyway.

AIBU to think this is U and slightly barmy?

abbsismyhero Sat 06-Feb-16 14:46:11

why are they refusing to tell you the prices? im sure ive been to a shop and they have been telling people prices they have even opened the doors to see what they have in stock as they didnt have this guys usual

shop elsewhere?

Candycoco Sat 06-Feb-16 14:47:00

Why are they not allowed to tell you the price? That's crazy. How can you be expected to pay for something without knowing the price first confused

Busybuzzybumblebee Sat 06-Feb-16 14:48:31

My local Sainsbury's has the price list by the counter. Never had a problem with people telling me price if usual fags not in stock. I'd go elsewhere if I were you

GarlicBake Sat 06-Feb-16 14:48:54

I know! No, abbs, it's happened in all my local shops - half a dozen or so. Chains and independents.

gamerchick Sat 06-Feb-16 14:50:48

Well they're not allowed to tell you the price but that's what the book is for, to show customers the price list. They should show you that.

Personally since the price is creeping up every 3 weeks or so they probably don't update the book. That's the real reason for the shutters imo. Ninja pricing.

caroldecker Sat 06-Feb-16 14:50:49

They are wrong, and they can show the products to over 18's who request them to - the law states:

All price lists and labels for tobacco products must be in the format set out in the law. All information displayed must use Helvetica plain font. The only information that can be given is the brand name and price of the product (cigars can include the country of origin, dimension and size, and pipe tobacco can include the cut and type of tobacco used).

Only three types of price display are permitted:

Poster style lists (up to A3 size) can be permanently on show
A list including pictures of products, which must not be on permanent display, can be shown to any customer aged 18 or over who asks for information
Price labels are permitted for each product either on the covered shelf or on the front of the storage unit.

BadDoGooder Sat 06-Feb-16 14:52:37

I never thought I would have an actual excuse to use this word....but I call "jobsworth"!! grin
Where are you buying them from op?
I too am an evil smoker, and I bought fags yesterday, I had to get them to open the doors because I wasn't sure what they had, she happily did this and told me the prices of things!

Might be store policy though I guess, if it is then I am thoroughly confused as to what it would achieve!!

GarlicBake Sat 06-Feb-16 14:58:57

Aha, carol, thank you!

Looks like I live in a town full of jobsworths, BDG. I shall become a militant money-waster, quoting "The only information that can be given is the brand name and price of the product" at all and sundry grin

BadDoGooder Sat 06-Feb-16 15:09:10

Aaaarrgghh a town full of jobsworths!
Just move to somewhere with less judgemental shop staff?
Then you can buy your fags with ease! grin

In all seriousness, just quote chapter and verse at them each time until they get the message!

GarlicBake Sat 06-Feb-16 15:13:51

I bloody will BDG! I've even found a copy of the retail guidance and might print it out grin Think they might be taking this a step too far:
"The Display Ban legislation permits only three types of price lists and labels for tobacco products. The legislation sets out that each of these must only use either black Helvetica plain font or black Arial plain font, with the same size throughout the list, with NO underlining, italics or other distinguishing emphasis. It will be an offence to display prices in any other way. Retailers must still ensure they comply with Price Marking Order regulations which require the price of goods to be clearly displayed in-store."

So I'd better print out a definition of "display", too hmm

Cheers, Mumsnetters, I should've known you'd have the facts!

RealityCheque Sat 06-Feb-16 15:18:12

They are being dicks.

The way around it is to ask for one packet of everything the sell (or at least a good number). Then once they have scanned it, ask them to put back everything but the one thing you choose.

They'll soon back down. Twats.

roachslayer Sat 06-Feb-16 15:23:37

I've had something similar

"what menthol have you got?"
"We're not allowed to say"
"oh...have you got sterling menthol?"
"Have you got vogue menthol?"
"...have you got sterling menthol?"
"Great I'll have 10 please"
"We don't have 10s"


abbsismyhero Sat 06-Feb-16 15:24:41

i haven't smoked for years im glad i quit (never could till i got pregnant and the hormones made it taste vile and make me puke best thing ever!) its so expensive these days i remember when it was 97p for 10 B&H and that was considered expensive by my dad (it was the garage next door)

acasualobserver Sat 06-Feb-16 15:26:23

We seem to have tipped over from discouraging smoking to actually persecuting smokers. I gave up the fags many years ago but stories like this make want to start again to show solidarity with an oppressed minority.

HaveIGotAClue Sat 06-Feb-16 15:41:29

I've come across the same shit!

Can I see what tobacco you have?
No - it's against the law
Well, how am I supposed to know which one to get then?
I don't know, but, we can't display tobacco anymore.
Right then - what's your cheapest?
Eh - I don't know *opens the tabernacle of joy to explore the great wonders therein..
I peep over their not unexpansive arse and find the cheapest.
Job done.


FWIW - Red Pall Mall 20g - 5.99 (comes with papers too).
10g of same costs 3.09 and doesn't come with papers.

I'm a scrooge jobsworth lol.

BorderTerrierControl Sat 06-Feb-16 15:45:40

I pick up cigs for people at work along with their lunches if I'm the first to go to the shop (first to break has to go with a list, saves everyone else having to walk the 30 seconds to Tesco grin) and have been through this sort of shite a couple of times. It's particularly annoying if they don't have what you want, as you can't just scan the shelf for alternatives etc.,

Not to mention a 20 deck now actually only has 17 in it, and costs about 8 quid, the thieving scumbags.

I've vaped the last few years*. Not only will the folks in the local Mirage shop happily show and tell what they have available, they also let you try out new flavours before buying. Far more civilised way of preventing me from becoming a murderous psycho due to nicotine cravings doing things grin

*But can still be tempted occasionally with duals or fresh tastes, because they have that fun little button to make them all minty.

Allbymyselfagain Sat 06-Feb-16 15:53:19

I had a lively "debate" with a man in WHsmiths of all places when he didn't have my brand and wouldn't show me what they did have. It is illegal to have the tobacco products on general display, it is not illegal to show the customer when they ask.

It's almost worth not smoking given what both buying them and listening to people on MN complain when you smoke outside in the summer. Notice we've had none of those threads since it got cold....

theycallmemellojello Sat 06-Feb-16 16:13:34

Eh tbh I can understand that retailers don't want to risk prosecution or a fine over something very small. Doesn't make the staff "jobsworths."

specialsubject Sat 06-Feb-16 16:20:51

it's the rules. Suck it up. And I mean that sincerely - inhale, don't wave it round!

but don't most smokers have a preferred brand anyway?

TheWernethWife Sat 06-Feb-16 16:31:41

My partner bought 100 cigs last week - on getting home found that they were menthol (mistake made by store staff) took them back to be told that once you have left the store there is nothing they can do. I rang and complained that their staff had made the mistake so how are they going to rectify it - customer services kept arguing that it was company policy etc but on this occasion the manager agreed to swop them. On going back to the store I asked to see the policy, it was on the wall behind the cigarette counter, written in extremely small print.

LadyDeadpool Sat 06-Feb-16 16:31:53

Goldleaf is the cheapest £4.17 for a 25g pack with 50 papers. My supermarket lists the prices too if you go to newsagent and tobacciana.

MadameDePompom Sat 06-Feb-16 16:45:19

tabernacle of joy


lazyarse123 Sat 06-Feb-16 16:58:43

I work in a supermarket and we are allowed to show customers what tobacco we have. But the price tickets are so small if i am asked a price i have to scan it, because i can't see it no big deal. It's all bollocks anyway if people want to smoke they will,it's nobody else's business. Wonder what they would do for revenue if everyone did stop.

OnIlkelyMoorBahtat Sat 06-Feb-16 17:48:31

Except it's not 'the rules' - that's the point!

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