This exercised quite a few retailers' minds a couple of issues back. I carried several views, ranging from the retailer who couldn't use her system to scan C&C invoices in, and therefore had to do it all by hand, to John Middleton, an ex-retailer who ran a chain of shops and has 25 years' experience, who has developed a software program called ShopEase that will save you both time and money.

Following two columns of feedback, John got in touch again to chide me for what he thought was a negative view.  I had said the major skill I had developed in computers was a fluency in Anglo Saxon. It didn't help, of course, that the day I wrote the column I had had a big punch up with the sulky sod in the corner (as I sometimes refer, very quietly of course, to my computer). Fortunately, it didn't hear me and the column made it through.

It's worse for those people who run a store who face a queue and a system that doesn't do the biz.

John explained that there are basically two types of epos systems available - or two methods by which retailers can introduce scanning into their stores. First, there are the cash register-based systems which he describes as an evolution of Arkwright's till. Then there are those that have developed around computer technology.

"It is a shame that both types have ended up under the general banner of epos since they are very, very different," John says.

"The unfortunate retailer who has purchased a poor tool for the job may well have to re-input purchases from the cash and carry back into the system manually, simply because there is no software to lighten the load and maybe no software at all."

He has a lot of advice and a solution. Epos takes time, effort and money. But his system is a fraction of the usual price and he can explain it to you as I have no more space. Phone 01538 388125 for more details.