the forum

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

Q I've discovered that one of my team knowingly allowed an old lady to use a £5 note instead of a £10 because he felt sorry for her. Do I discipline him and, if so, how? And do I ask the customer to cough up the rest of the money?

A I once caught one of my team giving cheap deals to a friend. I explained to him that what he was doing was essentially an act of theft and said I expected the difference to be made up when he cashed up. You can't blame the customer.

Derek, Haslemere

A I authorise my staff to give discounts of 5 % to customers we value and who regularly spend their money with us, and I have occasionally taken pity on an elderly customer who I think might be in dire straits. But that's my decision to make, as the store owner, not a member of staff.

CH, Staffs

Q Can anyone recommend a way of relieving in-store stress without resorting to drink, locking the door, or punching someone?

A You seem to have ruled out all the good ones. What about slinging the till at the wall? I've seen it done and let me tell you - it's spectacular. But very stressful while you're waiting for a new one.

Mark, Cheshire

A Gentle classical music, a comfortable chair, the Times crossword and a good stock of Earl Grey tea keep

me on the straight and narrow.

Pauline, Cornwall

A Leave the door open for a while, even in cold weather. Some brisk, cool, fresh air can really make all the difference.

Janet, Derby

Q Are there any biodynamic principles that could assist me in the running of my shop?

Charles, East Sussex

Q Is it unprofessional for someone who works in a wine shop to wear perfume?

Grace, London