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Teenager prevented from
buying shoe polish
by Sarah Shaffi
A teenager who could be heading to a war zone to fight for his
country was not allowed to buy his own shoe polish.
Supermarket staff refused to serve 18-year-old Daniel
Crittenden at the Co-operative, in Walderslade.
Daniel, who is applying to join the Royal Marines band, was told
he would not be sold a tin of black shoe polish for his combat
boots due to his age.
His dad Gary, 46, said: “Daniel could go out to a war zone and
face bullets and bombs, but it’s too dangerous for him to buy shoe
“I was absolutely amazed. I was that gobsmacked I had to just
walk out of the shop. It’s ludicrous.”
Anyone aged 18 or over is allowed to buy shoe polish – but the
Walderslade Road store’s policy is to ask for the ID of anyone who
looks under 25.
Daniel, a Chatham Grammar School for Boys pupil, has already
passed his medical examination for the Royal Marines.
If he is accepted, he will be could serve in Afghanistan as a
combat soldier from as early as next year.
Daniel, the eldest of four boys, of Mountbatten Avenue, Chatham,
said: “I could have signed up to join the Armed Forces when I was
16, yet I’m not old enough to buy shoe polish.
“The situation was ridiculous.”
Daniel’s dad Gary bought him new combat boots on Tuesday so he
could get used to walking, running and marching in them.
The pair drove to the Co-op and Daniel, who plays in the North
Kent Jazz Orchestra, went into the shop while his dad stayed in the
After staff refused to serve Daniel, Gary bought the polish on
A Co-operative spokesman said: “As with any age-restricted product,
such as alcohol or cigarettes, we have a policy in our stores where
anyone who appears under 25 will be asked for proof of
“Shoe polish falls into the age-restricted category due to its
flammable and solvent properties.”