A retailer who is at the planning stage of upgrading his business from CTN to full-blooded convenience, says that his first step will be to change traditional coolers to open-deck type cabinets. (He has also requested anonymity, saying that he knows of at least two other retailers within striking distance who also read this magazine. I guess he wants to keep his plans close to his chest.)

His main concern is whether customers will be more prone to pinch from the open-plan style chillers? And he wants me to ask you, so feedback please.

All I can add to this is a vague memory, from long, long ago, when I first came into grocery journalism. To research my new subject I read some of the archive material available at William Reed. This was in the late 1970s so I had to go back another 20 years to read about the new trend that was called ‘self-service’ and the concerns that came with it about shoplifting.

Incidentally, my reason for research was not because I wasn’t old enough to remember the phenomenon actually happening in this country but I had not been here to actually witness it. My family had emigrated to Canada just before this major retail revolution, taking me with them, and in Canada self-service was already the norm. As it’s the norm here, now, I can only presume that theft wasn’t as much of a worry as those pioneers anticipated.