Proof of Age Required to Buy Microwave Pudding Because “You Might Burn Yourself”

Readers — Here’s a fun little weekend story. Yes, I realize it’s from The Daily Mail, but it does seem like it actually happened: A young man buying some microwave pudding in an English supermarket set off some sort of alarm at the checkout station. What happened next, according to the fellow, was:

‘The woman who was monitoring the self-service checkouts came over and asked me for identification showing I was 18. I asked her why and was stunned when she told me: “It gets hot when you cook it – and you may burn yourself”. Surely the same can be said of many of the products they sell in any supermarket? Health and safety has gone crazy if you now have to prove you can be trusted with a chocolate pudding.’ 

He added: ‘I explained that I didn’t have any ID. Thankfully she agreed that I looked over 18 and she scanned her staff pass to approve the sale.’

Here’s the whole story, including lots of pix of the shopper, who looks like a minor the way I look like a baby koala.

That’s it — just a little wackiness on the nothing-is-safe-enough front. Doesn’t prove the world is going to hell. Just fun. Now back to your Saturday night! – L.


32 Responses to Proof of Age Required to Buy Microwave Pudding Because “You Might Burn Yourself”

  1. Emily December 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    I learned how to make Jell-o pudding when I was probably about 7 or 8 years old. Yes, my mom was there watching when I stirred it in a pot on the stove, but that’s just the point–I learned how to cook simple things (PBJ’s, toast, pudding, scrambled eggs, canned pasta, Kraft Dinner, etc.), when I was a kid, which gradually built me up to “real” cooking. So, the way I see it, this story is a symptom of a bigger problem–that is, the “all or nothing” problem. Society seems to want to treat everyone under 18 like infants (and, in legal-speak, anyone under 18 actually IS referred to as an “infant”), and then expect them to magically become responsible adults when they reach that age. Also, just for the record, there is a variety of Jell-o pudding that doesn’t require any heating–you just add milk to the powder, and whisk it until it becomes pudding-y.

  2. Roberta December 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    A few months ago in Germany, I set off the “over-18” detector and the cashier had to give me the once-over. Luckily my abundant grey hair convinced her that I should be allowed to purchase my Rum-Raisin-Nut Rittersport chocolate bar despite its “alcohol” content. And this in a country with public drinking laws that North Americans find incredibly lax.

  3. Donna December 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    On a similar note, I am killing time before we leave for a movie and I just read an article about Kate Gosselin and all her children in which she mentioned that her sextuplets, now 8, want ipods for Christmas. Someone actually commented that the ipod shuffle was inappropriate for these 8 year olds because the shuffle is only about an inch big and could be swallowed. SWALLOWED!! Regardless of what you think about ipods for 8 year olds, fear of swallowing should not come up in the decision process.

  4. Chihiro December 1, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    One of my friends, an exchange student from Peru, told me an interesting story during his first snowfall. His friend, who also participated in the exchange program, had never seen snow before her trip. When it snowed for the first time, she ran outside and jumped into it barefoot. She didn’t know snow was cold.
    I feel like this is how some kids are going to grow up around hot things. Yes, they’ll KNOW that the pan on the stove is hot, and that it’ll burn, but they’ve never ACTUALLY been burnt before. So when they’re distracted by something else, they’ll reach over and touch the hot pan…
    And we got a burn.

  5. krumpir December 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    When I bake a potato, it gets hot, too. (Oh! And I suppose I could turn it into alcohol, if I tried hard enough…) Maybe we need to age restrict vegetables, too!

  6. Mary December 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    I wouldn’t take this article seriously. If you read the end of the article it says:

    “Tesco said: ‘The self service machines can be temperamental. The pudding should not be an age-restricted product. It’s a mystery why the machine prompted staff to ask for ID.’”

    So it looks like a machine glitch. As for the cashier, I wouldn’t doubt they were just being sarcastic/joking when he asked them why the machine was asking for ID. They had no idea, either, since this isn’t normally a product that prompts an ID response.

  7. CrazyCatLady December 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Donna, you made me laugh. And my almost 8 year old assured me that he knows better than to put it in his mouth too!

  8. CrazyCatLady December 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    Some people I know would say this is all a conspiracy to get kids to only eat junk food as that is all that are able to buy. (Pudding has milk in it, and is healthy, according to Bill Cosby.)

  9. mollie December 2, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    I think I’d be happier if my 11-year-old swallowed his f$%#ing iPod Touch than using the damned thing as it’s intended. And I’d be freaking delighted if he’d make some pudding for us.

    (And no, it was not on my watch that he was allowed to purchase an iPod, but at least he did it with money he’d earned himself.)

  10. Lollipoplover December 2, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    First, Cadbury Hot Chocolate Pudding? Where have you been all my life? Then I saw the horrible pictures at the bottom of this article on the butt enhancement gone wrong and lost my appetite for pudding.

    I think it’s funny he got carded for pudding. Speaking of microwaves and kids, Has anyone ever microwaved the marshmallow Peeps? My kids love to nuke them (but not eat them). The chicks morph into giant versions before they melt into goo.

  11. Emily December 2, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    About the Gosselin sextuplets wanting iPods, and the one commenter’s warning that iPod shuffles could be a choking hazard, I think that that individual might have remembered seeing the sextuplets on the older episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8, during which time they were much younger (like, toddler and preschool years), and the “choking hazard” issue would have been more relevant. As for an eight-year-old having an iPod in general, well, every eight-year-old is different, and some actually are responsible enough to be able to take care of nice things. If my (hypothetical, future) child didn’t have a problem losing or breaking things, then yes, I would allow an iPod. I wouldn’t allow unrestricted access to my money for the iTunes store, but if my child wanted to independently buy music with allowance money, or with iTunes cards received as gifts or whatever, then I wouldn’t hover and vet every choice. A lot of the music that kids that age like can be incredibly stupid, but not necessarily harmful. As for free downloads, that’s a minefield of computer viruses that I’d rather avoid, but that’s not a “helicopter” thing, it’s a “property damage” thing. But, back to my main point, I really don’t see any problem with an eight-year-old having an iPod. It might even help foster an interest in music, which is always a good thing.

  12. Puzzled December 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    It appears that pudding is not actually supposed to be age-restricted. This does, indirectly, highlight another major problem we have – turning our minds over to machines (and, by extension, corporations.) What I mean is – a reasonable human being ought to know that pudding isn’t restricted, hit the button, and move on with their life. But, well, “the machine said so” and so they’ll, in fact, make up a reason – it gets hot when you cook it. (Quick – name one item that does not get hot when you cook it – unless the point really is that minors shouldn’t be allowed to shop…)

    One step further, the person might know full well that they are smarter than a machine, but they can’t override it, either by policy or by actuality – have to scan a drivers license or the like. This just means we’ve subjugated our minds to corporate uniformity, which might be worse than handing them to computers.

    On the other hand, maybe minors shouldn’t be allowed to shop. It seems to me that this kind of thing might be all or nothing – if we restrict everything else, but let them buy things, we’re making them into easy marks.

  13. olympia December 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Wonder if any of you saw this article?

    Interesting stuff. What impresses me about the parents is that they let their 13-year-old daughter, who is incapable of feeling pain, cook her own meals- on the stove! Despite the mishaps this has inevitably led to. I mean, I’ve known plenty of capable of feeling pain 13-year-olds who aren’t allowed to cook as much as she is!

  14. Donna December 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    @Emily – I think you giving the guy way too much credit. The article says the kids are 8 and has a picture of all the kids clearly many years beyond toddlers. Even the premise – 6 kids asking for ipods for Christmas – requires kids too old to eat said ipods. There is no doubt in my mind that he understood that this not about buying ipods for toddlers.

  15. Erics December 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Lol! Dumb people. Or people who are very fearful of getting sued. I was 8 by the time My parents stopped watching over me when I cooked. By then I was boiling eggs, frying eggs, making toast, cutting onions, making jello and rice krispies squares. I cut myself far more time playing than cooking, burned my fingers a couple of times before learning to not touch a hot pot. And I think many of us still do that every now and then. And voila, I’m still alive and well, as are the many other kids who’s parents trusted them, and thier own parenting.

  16. Emily December 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    @Donna–Okay, I posted that comment before reading the article, so I guess I stand corrected. In any case, I wouldn’t buy a child an iPod Shuffle as a gift, but not because it’s a choking hazard, but rather, because I’d want my (hypothetical, future) child to view listening to music as a mindful activity. So, instead, I’d buy them a “real” iPod, that allows them to select songs, etc., so they don’t grow up thinking that Bach sounds the same as Beethoven, for example. This may mean waiting until said child is older than what may be considered the minimum age for an iPod Shuffle, but I think eight is old enough for an iPod Nano. I have one, and they’re pretty sturdy.

  17. Brianna S December 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    @mollie-Swallowing an iPod touch would probably seriously injure or kill someone, especially a prepubescent tween. So you would rather your son, at the very least, have his esophagus damaged than use an -gasp- electronic?

  18. Emily December 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    @Brianna S.–I think Mollie was using hyperbole. Of course she doesn’t want her son to swallow his iPod Touch; she just thinks he spends too much time with it, and would rather he play outside instead.

  19. linvo December 3, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    I had the same thing happen to me at the self check-out when I bought plastic cutlery. You know, the one you use for picnics and kids parties. The staff-member had to verify that I was over 18 because I bought knives. Plastic knives that barely cut through a cooked potato!

  20. hineata December 3, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    Oh, gosh, I wouldn’t have worried about heat and cooking, but this afternoon, while I was outside doing the gardening – hurrah for lovely weather – my delightful, supposedly bright preteen managed to set the oven on fire. Turns out she didn’t think the fat left on the oven tray from her equally bright (?) slightly older sister would burn under the grill…!

    On the bright side, they all had the sense to turn the oven off, leave the door shut and wait for it to finish burning before they bothered to tattle to me, so I suppose no harm done :-)….maybe I’ll let them loose on pudding after all!

    On another note, it’s a beaut summer evening here, and on a long walk I passed several children out having fun, one under a tree alone digging a hole – his aloneness being shattered when my kids went out to play soccer and stiltwalking – several out in the streets, and one even biking around with his pajamas and dressing gown on.No parents evident anywhere. Hurrah for sunshine and freedom…..

  21. Suzanne Lucas December 3, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    A computer at Target told the cashier to ask for ID when I was buying a bra. Poor cashier was around 16 and male and thoroughly embarrassed, but smart enough to realize that it was an error.

    Computer errors happen.

  22. Kay December 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    This is actually amusing for me to read because at this moment my 7 year old boy just got done making him and his brother each a packet of Ramen Noodles on the stovetop without any help from me at all. Yeah, I know, it’s junk food but it’s not their supper either.

  23. Donna December 4, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    How do you all get your children to cook? My 7 year old would rather not eat than cook her own dinner. She’ll grab things out of the fringe or make a peanut butter sandwich but that is the extent of her solo culinary interests. I tried to convince her to learn to cook her “favorite noodles” (ramen) and you’d have thought I asked her to swim back to the mainland for all the fuss she put up.

  24. catspaw73 December 4, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    @Donna, either you get them young, or wait till they are interested. Get her to help with some basic stuff and involve her, sooner or later she’ll get interested. That or be like my sister K, who cannot cook and thought that different shaped pasta tasted different when she went flatting at Uni lol.

  25. Andy December 4, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    @Donna I started to cook when my father started to cook. I was 15 or something like that then.

    Some kids are interested and others are not. I know people that learned to cook as adults and their food tastes good. I’m not trying to claim that first attempts tasted good of course.

    You can always make it a chore if you want to force the issue. But I think that as long as she is able to use internet and has general common sense, she is going to be able to learn it when she will have to.

  26. Donna December 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    @catspaw – I know some middle aged adults who still insist that different shaped pasta tastes different. But they also insist that food died red and green with food coloring for Christmas tastes different – red v green v plain – so not the best authorities.

  27. catspaw73 December 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    @Donna, lol. Though people do expect different coloured things to taste different, and I can often taste the food colourings, so something that is red will taste different, even though I know what I’m tasting is the food colouring, and I’m about to bounce off the walls from it (allergy, diagnosed by dr) :-)

  28. Emily December 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    @Donna–Remember when Heinz made ketchup in purple, green, and (I think) blue? What a disaster that was–my mom bought a bottle of purple ketchup that languished in the fridge for AGES, because my brother and I insisted that it “tasted weird,” even though it was just normal ketchup dyed purple.

  29. pentamom December 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    If “mouth feel” counts as an aspect of taste, and I think you could fairly csll it thst, then different pastas do taste different. But it’s not like they’re actually different flavors.

  30. hineata December 5, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    @Donna – naughty and boastful, but have just got home ridiculously late from a silly meeting and the kids left me dinner. 11 year old made the roast potatoes with onions and rosemary, yummy, 13 year old made the chicken parmigiana, rolling the meat in flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs, which I didn’t even know you were supposed to do in that order. Not sure if it was hubby or school who taught her to do that.

    However, just to show all is far from perfect foodwise in our household, the 16 year old brother sat on his butt the whole time, evidently, playing Xbox with his mate!

    Just give your daughter time. And if you get really desperate, there’s always threats :-). Works in our household – it’s amazing how motivational discussions on premature death can be!

  31. vjhreeves December 5, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    “Doesn’t prove the world is going to hell. Just fun.” I respectfully disagree. It is not just fun or funny, it is very disturbing on so many levels.

  32. Jessica December 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Just had to point out (not that it has any bearing on the story), but the article is referring to a pudding, as in the English form of the word, not the American-English…in other words, more of a cake than some Jell-O brand pudding like the picture in the article shows…that being said, my 10 year old has been cooking for YEARS now. She cooks dinner for she and I, and my husband and son quite often; and she also loves to bake!