The empire strikes back

It’s hard to be a metric person in the UK.

Metric measures became legal in the British Empire in 1873 but it appears that your typical Brit will never accept them. There are several societies who appear to have the sole purpose of opposing metrification in the UK, and those who have been convicted of illegally selling items priced only in imperial measures are referred to as Metric Martyrs. Meanwhile, distances are given in feet, yards and miles; weights are given in ounces, pounds and stones (14 pounds, if you care!); volumes are given in fluid-ounces and pints; and temperatures are given in both Celcius and Fahrenheit. Even older measures are still in use too: allotments are still defined in rods, poles and perches – and I’m not even going to try and explain what they are….

It seems that those who oppose metrification are winning at the moment. It is legal to price and sell things in pints, pounds and ounces – just as long as you have an equivalent metric measure displayed as well. The only exceptions are beer and cider on draught, which can be sold in pints, and only in pints.

Our local Co-Op (supermarket) has just switched their packaging from whole numbers of litres of milk to whole numbers of pints.
Before
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
After
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Of course, the price has gone up, the containers are heavier and more awkward to use, and frankly, it just looks all wrong.

Then people wonder why you end up with a situation like this where the wrong units were used, and NASAs Mars Climate Orbiter crashed and burned.

And before anyone jumps down my throat, yes I know that the Imperial System is different to the American system, despite both including pounds, ounces, fluid-ounces, miles etc. One more cause of confusion.

Meanwhile: more sheep for Franklin
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “The empire strikes back

  1. All the Way With Knitting

    Oh Lordie I had some of that in stew yesterday..it’s enough to go veggie.

  2. Tedhttp://knitterguy.typepad.com

    We in Canada deal with similar confusions about metric vs Imperial vs American.

    Sometimes it’s nearly as bad as the sizing systems used for knitting needles. At least with packaging/measuring food and following recipes, the measuring system is stated; unlike in knitting patterns where one will see the instruction “use a size 4 needle”. (Yes, still.) Can you imagine if we were reading recipes that said “4 whole milk, 5 flour, 3 sugar, 1/2 soda”?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s