Thousands of Northern Rock customers got a shock today when an invoice arrived in their post for all the Liquorice Allsorts they were given by Northern Rock staff over the weekend. Staff had handed out the sweets to customers in queues, supposedly to pacify them but in fact to make some extra money.
One customer, who looked a bit odd, said:
"£10 for a few sweets is ridiculous. In any event, I thought they were free. I'm going to ask the Government to bail me out of this. Not to mention what eating these Liquorice Allsorts has done to my face."
He was referring to the medical condition of going Bertie, whereby eating too many Liquorice Allsorts causes the consumer to end up looking like Bertie Bassett, the company mascot, who is made entirely from Liquorice Allsorts.
An American couple, the Simpsons, who aren't even Northern Rock customers, arrived in long overcoats with many pockets, which they stuffed with Liquorice Allsorts. They have received a bill for £2,000.
A Northern Rock director said:
"We never told customers that the sweets were free. It would be extraordinary if a bank in financial difficulties should start handing out gifts. We don't live in Cloud Cuckoo Land. We have duties to shareholders."
Asked about the amount of the charges for the Allsorts, he said:
"We've had to mark them up, obviously. We had to pay staff to dress up like stewardesses and walk up and down the queues, taking abuse. Plus we're entitled to make a small profit."
Meanwhile, shares in all banks went crazy after news broke about the charges for the Liquorice Allsorts. A Treasury spokesman said that the Government was thinking of wasting more taxpayers' money bailing out shareholders, too.