Please keep your wind to yourself

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In a surprisingly bold move, the Ministry for Commerce has responded to urgent calls by owner-operated retailers for a binding Code of Conduct governing customers and slack-jawed time-killers who enter their premises. The Code, currently in draft form, aims to curtail behaviours that have driven retailers to chemical distraction since commerce was invented. Here’s an exclusive peek at some of its pointier clauses. Wording is verbatim.

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Section 4, Sub-section 7B: Attire

Bare feet are for the beach, bathroom, bedroom and, on Funky Friday here at the Ministry, the Boardroom. Unless you’re a professional foot model, no-one wishes to observe your unshod hooves and the colourful crop of corns and fungi they sustain. No-one.

We get it. Tee shirts with obscene slogans symbolise your radical individualism and affirm that you won’t be tamed by anyone, anyhow, ever. We’re all impressed and intimidated. Now !%*@ off.

Section 6, Sub-section 2C: Children

Children, indeed small humans of any age, are generally welcomed in store. However, undisciplined small individuals who run wild, play with products, pull products out of packaging and clamber on displays and fixtures shall be treated mercilessly.

Currently, the Law deems store manager vs unruly child as common assault. However, statutory modifications are under way that shall permit managers to keep tigers and other predatory creatures for punitive purposes. Parents who confuse their own ineptness with “freedom of spirit” on the part of their child shall be thrown first into the cage.

Section 14, Sub-section 5F: The Change of Mind

Customers who purchase goods and then return declaring a change of mind and desire for a full refund shall be treated with the same abrupt efficiency as a customer returning to a fish and chip shop for a refund after taking a bite or two and then deciding they really want Maccas instead. No. There is no difference. Think about it.

Section 14, Sub-section 12A: General Behaviours

Wind passage

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The passing of intestinal gas by a stranger, be it involuntary or intended, is generally a cause for wide celebration and admiration. However, in retail establishments, limitations must necessarily apply to protect the sensibilities of others and the integrity of products displayed or stored in the open air.

Gas evacuation by a customer shall take place only:

  • With the prior consent of the store manager. Retailers are encouraged to equip their website with a simple application form, enabling candidates to state the intended date and time of the event, outline its likely auditory and olfactory effects, and draft an emergency evacuation plan.

  • With the verbal consent of all others in store at the time. A single, clearly vocalised warning shall be considered due notice.

If control is an ongoing concern, customers are encouraged to shop online at home.

Food and beverage

Food and beverage in store is unacceptable and shall immediately be confiscated with or without the assistance of an incendiary device. Customers who consume foodstuffs then handle products they don’t intend to purchase shall be required to assume a prostrate position at the store entrance while employees and customers wipe their feet upon their clothing.

Prolonged and voluminous phone conversations

If a customer enters the store midway through a phone conversation, which after a reasonable period fails to divulge incriminating or scurrilous information about anyone of interest, the store manager shall discharge an air horn in the customer’s free ear, repeatedly, until he or she exits the premises.

Section 22, Sub-section 1B: Pets in Store

If a customer brings a dog or similarly salivating fur-clad creature into the store without permission, the manager shall immediately commence the collection of small detachable items from his or her person, including but not limited to nasal hairs, toenails and earwax, and sprinkle these items liberally upon the customer. The manager shall then, at his or her discretion, utter an abrupt and alarming noise and empty his bladder at the customer’s feet.  

Section 25, Sub-section 5C: Topics of Conversation

There is widespread appreciation at the Ministry that verbal engagements between customer and store manager require tight control. Among the guidelines currently agreed are:

  • If a customer asks how much the store makes, the store manager shall immediately request a breakdown of the salary and non-pecuniary assets of the customer.

  • If a customer ventures unsolicited advice about stock lines, prices or any aspect of the retailing environment, the store manager shall immediately volunteer a critique of the customer’s appearance, including an assessment of hairstyle, attire and physique.

  • If any conversation with a customer sustains for more than 90 seconds without direct reference to items of store merchandise, the manager shall significantly increase the volume of the store music system and indicate by way of apologetic gesture that his or her hearing is not what it used to be.

This Code of Conduct is currently entering Select Committee review and is expected to be tabled and passed into Statute within the next 67 years.