the forum

19 October, 2007

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


Q Is it immoral to sell kids' sweets in an off-licence? I don't sell any convenience products, by the way.

A Not immoral, but is it worth the shrinkage, the tiny margins and the aggravation? I know that our local constabulary would raise a few eyebrows if they thought we were going out of our way to attract pre-teens. So we don't do it. End of.

Michael, Surrey

A We sell plenty of pink shrimps, white mice, blackjacks etc. The biggest problem is stopping the staff from munching them while they're in between customers. Somehow they always "forget" to put their pennies in the till.

June, Staffs

Q I want to do an Armagnac tasting in store. Am I likely to have trouble convincing customers they only need to nose the product, not gulp it back? Note: I currently possess just one mop and one bucket.

A Aren't you being just a little po-faced about this? Of course you can tell virtually everything you need to know about the flavour of a spirit from its nose, but if people are coming along to an Armagnac tasting they don't want to pass around a single glass and sniff it. Let them knock some of it back. In my experience, customers don't want to go mad and I would be extremely surprised if anybody at your event gets carried away.

KR, Mitcham

A Who nose?

Gavin, Swindon

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?

Tom, Manchester

Q I'm considering lighting my store by candlelight for Halloween. Is this a stupid idea or inspired genius?

Matt, Kent

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

ME, York

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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