Take the money, ignore the results

I work for a large off-licence retailer and, while my employment with the company is only temporary, I am very happy in my job. Except for one thing. We have a customer who regularly comes in and buys a large amount of cider . This customer obviously has a problem and it is distinctly uncomfortable to see this customer deteriorate on an almost daily basis.

The general consensus of opinion in your Vox Shop column was that we as alcohol retailers can't or shouldn't get involved . My manager is also of this opinion and, while I can see the point of this argument and don't blame anybody for putting it forth, it doesn't really help my situation.

This is obviously a problem for many people as only one person in the column actually answered the question directly.

I don't feel confident enough to talk to my customer directly but do feel through selling the alcohol to her I am part of the problem and am obviously making it worse.

I cannot think of any way to end this situation and I am getting tired of the guilt and "just take her bloody money" attitude I am so often encountering. I would be greatly appreciative if any other retailers would share their experiences of this (if any) with me through your column.

Name and address supplied

How responsible are we?

I was recently informed by my district manager that I must stock two brands of cheap and well-known extra-strong cider, despite my shop being a safer and more pleasant environment for my staff and my customers since we stopped selling it.

I sympathise with my DM - he is, after all, to eing the company line. Interestingly, he also stated that Thresher head office had recently "gone nuts" with regard to stores which had stopped selling Buckfast on police advice. Apparently, the financial support from the supplier is of significantly greater importance to Roger and chums than the safety and well being of staff and their local communities.

So now I find myself wondering if Thresher Group can continue to call itself a "responsible retailer" if we pick and choose only those responsibilities which suit us and ignore the professional judgement of the constabulary.

Just a thought.

Haddows branch manager

Name and address supplied

Wine's the way in retirement

I was highly amused by Talking Heads with Jonathan Hare - in particular, his advice to train as an accountant rather than open an off-licence.

Financially this is sound advice, but I qualified as a chartered accountant some 30 years ago, worked for other people and took early retirement in 2002. I got bored out of my skull and, having always loved wine and built up quite a knowledge , I bought a small wine business in Cornwall .

I can confirm that no one seeking his/her fortune should open such a shop but if you are financially secure, running a wine shop for fun as a retirement business, can be great . I recommend it!

Alan Beevor

Mounts Bay Wine Co, Penzance

Look who's talking

If you are going to sneer at the nationals, please get it right (Spittoon, Jan 26).

Palettes are NOT picked up by fork-lift trucks. Those are PALLETS.

A palette is a little board with a thumbhole used by artists. An apology is a little word used by editors on rare occasions.

Peter Coulson

Look who's talking, too

There but for the grace of God (Spittoon, Jan 26): If a fork-lift truck is needed to move a "palette", just how much paint did the artist put on it?

John Radford


Our correspondents are revolting! Ed.

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