This got quite an airing in the May 19 issue as retailers debated whether it was worth forking out considerable sums for all-singing, all-dancing epos when you still had to scan in every cash and carry purchase item by item as the suppliers' invoices do not come with scannable barcodes.

John Harrington has added his two-cents' worth to the discussion. Those with a long memory will recall that John wrote the A to Z of management series in 1988/89 and the Management Options columns from 1989/93 for this very magazine.

At the time, he was training manager for the One Stop chain and recently has been elected to the Board of the Southern Co-operative, an independent regional with 100 c-stores.

He tells me that a recent annual report of the Chelmsford Star Co-operative, which runs 27 c-stores among other things, says: "Your board is particularly disappointed that the substantial investment made in a new epos system has failed to deliver the benefits claimed; this has had an adverse effect on the division's profits.
"Your directors are seeking financial compensation but more importantly, the delivery of a system that is robust, fully functioning and doing what it is supposed to do. The directors hope the matter can be resolved by amicable discussion but if not, legal action will be taken."

As I pointed out to John, sometimes I think the best skill I've managed to hone on computers is the ability to speak fluent Anglo Saxon.