You'll lose your customers with snobbery like that ...

A response to Howard Jones of Momentum Wines, Oswestry, Shropshire (Talking Heads, OLN, Oct 3).

Dear Mr Jones,

The Oxford English Dictionary defines irritating as "vexatious, bothersome and trying", a leap away from your definition of the word as seen in Off Licence News, which appears to be "not good/wealthy or sophisticated enough to shop in my retail outlet (or is that merchant s?)". Either way you and your apparent middle-class attitude (snobbery?) is a huge contributing factor to why supermarkets have such a monopoly on wine sales.

Do you have an entrance exam for customers? Or do they have to convince you of their level of sophistication before you deign to impart your knowledge and passion for wine to them?

Myself, I've a passion for customer service, no matter who or what their needs are. They are the lifeblood of my business and yours too, unless merchants operate to a whole set of economic models and rules which I am not privy to. I do hope your customer base is strong enough to withstand your apparent selection criteria as, in any trading climate, customers are the channel for putting money in your till. Without them, you'll no longer have a shop (that's right, it's a shop. No matter how you dress it

up, it's a shop) just a place with items you've paid for and no one else is willing to.

As a proud Thresher Group store manager, I was buoyed by the story elsewhere in OLN about the Reading Local being petitioned to stay open by its customers. Think hard Mr Jones, would yours do the same?

I've no doubt you'll ignore this and continue to impress your loyal customers with an expensive array of talking points which they can use to play one-upmanship with their friends over their dinner parties/soirées/luncheons/intimate candlelit suppers. I'll continue to work hard making sure my customers get a great bottle that they'll enjoy, whatever the occasion

and, hopefully, they'll return because we've made the world of wine simple, accessible and easy

to enjoy.

So please, Mr Jones, keep sending your irritating customers to us . Every one means money in our tills and one more sale you don't have

- another sale you won't get back. That's a fine philosophy for retail in a nutshell,

don't you think?

Rory Thorp

A proud Wine Rack manager