"Why won't it go through?" asked the gawky, badly-haired assistant.
The seen-it-all manager took a look. "Because you've got to hit 'enter' first. To confirm the customer's over eighteen."
At this point, we looked down at my problematic purchase. Yup, it seems you've now got to have your age checked in order to buy a rotary paper cutter. You know, those rolling things with the hidden circular blades smaller than a penny, which have about a half a millimetre of cheap blade sticking out, safely concealed underneath the roller, that they use to cut paper.
This one was a particularly cheap and flimsy-looking example, on special offer, and as we stood looking at it, I think we all imagined the various ways in which this could be turned into a lethal and intimidating weapon.
It didn't take long. If you were planning on suicide, you'd probably be better off with a razor blade. Or even a beard trimmer. Or some Veet®.
If you wanted to mug someone, well, you'd better invest in something else, otherwise your intimidation factor may not be that high. "Gimme all your money, or I'll neatly trim half an inch off your business card! I mean it, mate. I've got a 'wavy decorative cut' setting and I'm not afraid to use it."
Discussing this with seen-it-all manager, it transpires that the rules don't apply to certain other stock items in the store. You know, like the industrial scissors with the foot-long razor-sharp pointed Sheffield steel blades. Any six year old could wander in off the street and buy a pair of those. But God help him if he wants a safe method of cutting his Christmas cards.