Most people like freebies but equally, most will ask, where's the catch?

After spotting the Point 4 half-page ad in this magazine offering 'free epos with in-store TV', a few retailers rang up asking about what that aforementioned catch might be in this case.

Sunil Patel, who runs St Mary's Bay Superstore in St Mary's Bay, Kent, wondered whether I had heard of the company.

Indeed I have. When Convenience Store was launched 21 years ago, Patrick Boden and his Point 4 system was one of the first epos suppliers that reporters on the fledging journal became aware of - and yes, in part that was because in the early days, there were some teething troubles (and that probably went for both of us).
Back to the present. Nicholas Dixon, of Dixon's Food & Wine in Lancashire, wondered how £21K-worth of epos could be free?

Paula Boden, daughter of Patrick and head of sales and marketing of this Northern Ireland-based company, tells me that the new free system will pay for itself from the sale of ads (to the likes of Messrs. Heinz, Kellogg's, Unilever et al) that will be showing soon on a TV screen near you. Revenue from the ads will offset the £70 a week maintenance contract cost.

She expects great guns. Point 4 has doubled its staff since Christmas and goes live with the new system in October. You will have to buy/provide a couple of things. You will have to buy the back office printer and provide a single 240V mains outlet per screen and have a suitable broadband connection.

Can I guarantee it? Hell, no. I can't guarantee anything-whatsoever in this life. But hey, Point 4 does.

"Retailers will get a written guarantee that comes with the five-year contract," says Paula. "And we have signed up all the big wholesalers to the scheme including Booker, Bestway, Landmark, Londis, Lekkerland and Nisa."