Poundland has announced that it will be pulling knives from the shelves of its many, many (755) shops, after it criticism over its Halloween stock including fake blades and glow-in-the-dark meat cleavers.
The change is set to be implemented by the end of next month, and comes as a result of criticism claiming stocking the plastic blades. Critics claim stocking them could normalise the idea of carrying knives amongst children. So the discount shopping chain is going to extreme lengths to become the first retailer to stop selling all knives. Almost as if the person making the decision is going " There! Are you happy now?"
A spokesman for the company said:
"We share their concern on knife crime. That's why no one is doing more than Poundland. By the end of this month we'll be the only high street retailer to completely remove kitchen knives from all of our stores nationwide.
This, however, is just a glow-in-the-dark yellow plastic toy for Halloween."
While making sure would-be criminals don't have easy access to cheap blades is probably a good thing, especially given the rising rates of knife crime in the UK, this seems to be a bit of an overreaction. The criticisms against fake knives are one thing, and make sense if the products in question are aimed at children, but it's hardly unusual at this time of year. A costume shop near me even sells a fake combat knife with its own holster, alongside bloody kitchen knives, axes, and a fake machete.
While they're clearly not aimed at kids, I have to wonder whether these anti-fake-knife criticisms are restricted to Poundland. They probably shouldn't be, right? At the very least big supermarkets who may stock similar products should get some flak for it as well.
Austin Cooke, Poundland's retail director said:
"The decision to stop selling kitchen knives nationwide is a commitment that we know means a lot to both our colleagues and our customers. For a long time they've expressed their concern around the associated risk of having knives available and the unfortunate truth is that in the wrong hands, knives can be used for the wrong purpose.
The safety of our colleagues and customers is crucial and we hope our fellow retailers will follow our lead in playing a responsible role in preventing knife-related incidents."
Well it sounds like the knife thing has been mulled over a fair bit in the past, and this is just the tipping point. Now we just have to see if anyone else follows Poundland's example. [Sky News]