the forum

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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