Market Trader's Metric Misgivings

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 130 months ago
Market Trader's Metric Misgivings
Fruit and vegetables at market

Janet Devers, who runs a fruit and veg stall in Dalston's Ridley Road market, is one tough courgette. She is carrying the fight to sell her wares in imperial units all the way to crown court.

The pensioner appeared at Thames Magistrates Court last week, charged with some fifteen counts under the (deep breath) Price Marking and Weights and Measurements Act, 1963. Her fearsome rap sheet includes vending imperial measures of fresh fruit to Hackney residents. More seriously - time perhaps to shield the children's' eyes - Ms. Devers allegedly made use of "illegal scales" for no doubt nefarious purposes. She pleaded "not guilty" to all charges, and accused Hackney Council of wasting taxpayer's money on a pointless case.

The long snout of the EU is no longer interested in petty debates around weights and measures in Britain: last year they gave up on us, ruling that we can carry on measuring out pints, pounds and miles. Though it may appear that Hackney Council's vendetta is borne purely of a snivelling sense of persnickety righteousness, the law states that metric must still appear alongside imperial. No dice, says Ms. Devers, who, displaying an admirable if potentially ruinous stubborn streak, refuses to countenance any mention of metric.

We think market forces should sort this one out. Punters who want a pound of papayas can buy from Ms. Devers; those who fancy a kilo of kumquats can shop elsewhere, as there's plenty of traders happy to offer metric measurements. Problem solved.

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Last Updated 12 March 2008