Thursday, 10 December 2009

Trading up on standards

I'm not usually a great fan of common sense. That sounds wrong, but what I mean is that what's often labelled 'common sense' is more an example of letting feelings push facts out of the way. However, I do wonder if it's sensible when I hear of officials sticking with the letter of the law and not applying... yes, well, common sense.

I gather in the recent furore over Mclaren buggies trapping children's fingers, the Trading Standards line is that they comply with European regulations, so there's nothing that Trading Standards can do. When it's a product where the manfacturer has been forced to provide a fix to all customers in the US, when it's quite clear that there is a risk that can easily be overcome, why should Trading Standards hide behind European regulations? Surely they should be able to say 'Yes, there's a problem. Fix it.'

My only brush with Trading Standards was not particularly helpful. I called into an unfamiliar petrol station. There was no indication on the pump of pricing for the different options (I later discovered this was illegal, but that isn't my point). With no price to guide me, I had to choose between two versions of unleaded fuel, one labelled 'Super' the other 'Premium'. Now to my mind, 'Super' means very good, 'Premium' means of a special quality, commanding a greater price. So I went for Super. And got charged quite a lot more than the unleaded price on the big sign by the entrance.

So I moaned to Trading Standards, only to be told that this is the convention. Premium is cheaper than Super. Apparently it doesn't matter than this doesn't make any sense. Sigh.

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