Secretary of State for health Andrew Lansley has publicly thanked the UK’s major supermarkets for their part in keeping Britain’s suicide rate down by refusing to sell more than two packets of paracetamol to any one customer at a time. This may have saved as many as 100,000 lives in 2010 alone, reports suggest.
With the extended recession, the ongoing wait for a British Wimbledon champion and the continued existence of Simon Cowell, Brits would normally be expected to be dropping like flies. But thanks to the vigilance of Tesco and Asda the UK has just the 49th highest suicide rate in the world, just above Azerbaijan, which is contemplating hosting next year's Eurovision Song Contest.
'I’d lost my job and my house, my wife had left me and been granted full custody of our kids, I was in a downward spiral of self-destruction, drinking heavily and taking drugs and I just decided to end it all,' said John Carter of Halifax.
'I popped to my local Tesco and picked up five packs of paracetamol to take at home but the checkout girl, who had smashing tits, told me I could only buy two. It felt too much like hard work going around two more times and the other checkout girls weren't much cop, so I decided to put my life back together instead.’
Tesco has now introduced a staff reward scheme, where every member that intercepts a customer recklessly trying to purchase multiple packs of paracetamol will be able to wear a sash saying 'I saved a life today'. Those that reach a target of three per month will also have first refusal on any dented tins that can't be sold.
However there is currently no policy in place instructing staff to stop moody teens from buying two bottles of bleach, three litres of vodka and a pack of razor blades. As long as they only have 2 or less packs of paracetamol they're in the clear.
'I’m committed to seeing Britain drop out of the top 50 'top-yourself spots' by the end of 2012,' said Lansley. 'According to the latest figures available on Wikipedia the Maldives have a suicide rate of zero. I am personally going to lead a 3 month fact-finding mission to see what we can learn from them.’