the forum

08 February, 2008

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



Should I leave the dust on my bottles of fine claret and Burgundy to add to the mystique of these wines?

A Dust means two things: stock that people don't want to buy

and a manager who doesn't care enough about the stock to keep it clean. It adds up to a shop I wouldn't want to visit.

Mandy, Bucks

AWe leave our fine wines to gather dust because I don't want to keep picking them up and disturbing sediment and generally fiddling about with them. It does absolutely no harm to the wine in the bottle either .

James, North Yorks

AI used to work for a shop where the slightly loopy owner used to add fake dust to bottles on display to make them look older than they were. I wouldn't call it "mystique" though.

Barry, North Wales

Q Would a realistic-looking panic button on my counter deter ­potential robbers?

A It may well do, but panic buttons are not the panacea you may think they are. When I worked at Unwins in the late 1990s our security chief was opposed to panic buttons, real or fake, because they had the potential to panic robbers into a sudden act of violence. We were told that people had actually been hurt when armed raiders had seen them press these buttons.

MA, Kent

A Conspicuous CCTV cameras would be a better investment. There is absolutely no point in resorting to gimmicks or skimping on costs when it comes to protecting your business, your staff and yourself.

Ash, Leicester

Q I occasionally receive ­promotional merchandise from suppliers and cash and carries. Is it acceptable to use this stuff as incentives for staff if they hit certain targets?

A, south London

Q If I offer baskets to customers as they enter my shop, will my average transaction value increase?

Sol, Bucks

Bookmark this

Site Search


Faith in fakes

One of the most fascinating stories in wine, fit to stand alongside the Judgement of Paris, is that of Rudy Kurniawan, a man who managed to fool friends, auction houses and experts into believing they were drinking some of the world’s most expensive wines.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know