I don't know if Andrew Renham has a motto but if he has it must be along the lines of 'never give up'.
We've had several conversations over the past two months, beginning in September when Andrew learned that the newish Spar store 50 yards from his independent outlet at Chadwell St Mary in Essex would be getting a PayPoint in opposition to the one he has had for the past five years. He protested vigorously to the rep, to the area manager, to head office, all to no avail. I couldn't help either. PayPoint sent me its main reason - the Spar store had previously been selling a competitor's set of services anyway so it didn't recognise any 'exclusivity' commitments in this case.
Then, to Andrew's utter dismay, he spied his Camelot area manager walking into the Spar, collared him and learned that there would soon be a terminal to rival the one that his store has had for the past seven years. Andrew again went into overdrive, phoning, writing, pleading, threatening legal action (he believed the rival store was improving itself in preparation for sale) and he got a surprising result.
Camelot agreed to a meeting 'on neutral ground' at Lakeside near the Dartford Tunnel Thames crossing, which yielded another surprising result - the rival store will not, for the time being, get a lottery terminal.
Camelot confirmed in a letter to Andrew and his partner that it did not think that installation of a second terminal so close to theirs would currently be "commercially viable" or that incremental sales would ensue. It cannot guarantee that this situation will always be the case, but then, that's the future for you where nothing can be set in stone.
I am very impressed with Andrew's outcome as I know that moving Camelot's stance is like moving the Colossus. And for anyone still thinking I can wield any influence with Camelot, please re-read the above sentence.