Mike Moulder, manager of Hambleden Village Stores & PO (owned by a Swiss financier) tells me that the store's makeover included new hardware to run the epos system, but the accompanying software is "junk".
"All the tills work backwards and upside down," he adds. "On the back-up there are no dates and the customer statements are unintelligible." (Given that a couple of the store's two dozen accounts are persons with titles, you really don't want downmarket spelling errors.)
Mike feels that the store is being used as a guinea pig as the software is labelled 'version 1' and the date 2010.
The newly spruced-up store has two checkouts and a modest turnover of £5K a week, and it stocks all the usual convenience items which come from about 15 different suppliers, the biggest of which is Booker. There is no home delivered news.
He rang me hoping for a recommendation which isn't something I like to do very often. I rang the Association of Convenience Stores to see if they had anyone up their sleeve who specialised in software packages for independents, but they hadn't. It strikes me that it's no wonder a lot of independents aren't fully computerised. A user-friendly bit of kit would go a long way. Trouble is, although readers are quite quick to ring if they are having problems with their epos, they seldom ring to tell me how smooth the sailing is when the weather is fair.
So I'm throwing this out to you, dear readers. Can anyone recommend some decent, reliable software with good back-up?