the forum

23 August, 2007

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e-mail:

oln.editorial@william-reed.co.u

k

Q Can I exist without EPoS? My father did very well for 52 years.

A You can exist, but it depends on what sort of existence you want. If you want to do manual stocktakes for the rest of your working life, constantly fret about ordering and out-of-stocks and forfeit the facility to produce useful sales graphs, then EPoS is expendable. Personally I find it an invaluable business tool that repays the time you invest in getting the system up and running.

Paul, Cambs

A The world is full of people trying to sell you gizmos that will invariably break down, need servicing and eventually be superseded by something even more complex and expensive. I don't think you need worry, especially if you work in a shop which has functioned without EPoS for many years.

Craig, Glasgow

Q My new assistant uses his staff discount to buy a can of Heineken every lunchtime which he then proceeds to drink in the store. Is he portraying a good or bad impression to customers?

A With all due respect to Heineken, it's not great to have staff drinking on duty, especially in front of the customers. It just looks slovenly and unprofessional. It's one thing to take the odd gulp during a tasting, but as a lunchtime routine? Not in my shop.

Mary, East Midlands

A Surely this goes against the terms of your licence? If someone buys alcohol in your store, presumably they are bound to consume it off the premises - unless you are one of the few retailers with a licence which says otherwise.

Kelly, Norwich

Q When I'm single-manning the shop and I need a toilet break, is it OK to ask a trusted customer to guard the till in my absence or does this transgress licensing law? I would not expect the customer to deal with any sales.

Jim, Watford

Q

One of my customers tends to lurk in the shop for ages. We have started timing him and the longest "visit" to our premises we have recorded is 36 minutes and eight seconds. Can anyone beat that?

Dave and Mike, south London




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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