the forum

02 November, 2007

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


Q I have a customer who clearly knows very little about wine but loves to stop and talk nonsense about the subject. Should I pick him up on his errors or just tolerate his factual inaccuracies?

A We all have favourite regulars who insist they prefer Chablis to Chardonnay. I just smile and nod. Why embarrass them and lose their trade?

Russell, Cumbria

A If I stopped to correct every customer who asked for "Ryesling" wine, "Base" or "Bombardy-ay" ale or "Moway" Champagne, I'd never get any work done. Plus one of them would punch me in the mouth. Does that answer your question?

Rob, Devon

Q I'm considering lighting my shop with candles for Halloween. Is this a stupid idea or inspired genius?

A Depends how much you care about shoplifters. In my experience, they just love shadowy corners.

Rob, Devon

Q Is it in poor taste to keep my grandfather's ashes on the shelf behind the till?

A My friend's stuffed terrier is on display at his antiques shop in Yorkshire, and is well loved by his customers, so I doubt anybody is going to find your idea offensive - with the possible exception of your granddad. I know mine wouldn't want his final resting place to be wedged between Glen's Vodka and Drum tobacco.

Phil, Middx

Q I have had the same bottle of Scotch in my window since 2002. It's become an in-joke and now we intend to leave it there . Can anyone beat our five-year achievement?

Carol, Kent

Q The Trading Standards officer who conducted a sting operation which caught out one of our assistants has started coming into the shop as a customer. Should I feel ashamed that I can't say more than a grudging "thanks" to him?

BL, Wales

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I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know