Here's another bit of retail detail for you, prompted by an email from Paul Lai who runs Westway PO Stores in Baldock, Hertfordshire. "I wonder if anyone out there checks the number of ice creams when they open a new box? I find that roughly one in eight or nine boxes are one short and very occasionally two short. Cones are the worst culprits. Last year, Magnums were problematic; one year it was Twister; and another year it was Calippo Shots."

He adds that, at the moment, Cadbury Flake Cone boxes are frequently one short. Paul reckoned that, in Cadbury's case, it was quality control, whereas with Wall's products it was lack of glue. The boxes were sealed with tape and he believed they could be tampered with.

A prompt answer came from Cadbury's via Frederick Dairies, which packs for the company. The ops director told Paul that Flake Cones are hand-counted, hand-packed and weighed and the boxes not within acceptable limits are rejected. So there can be human error, although Cadbury's likes to think it is rare as it makes 350 million pieces of hand-held ice creams a year and gets few complaints.

In Wall's case no one has got back on the sticky subject of tape versus glue yet.

Topics