Newspaper wholesalers have 'absolute territorial protection', and it sounds like the OFT will be preserving this monopolistic stance for the foreseeable future. All this for a perishable product that's practically past its sell-by as it rolls off the presses. Even more reason for it to get to its market on time.

Why is it so difficult? And why can't retailers get what they ask for in the numbers they ask for? Even I can see that, although there are certain logistical challenges, it's pretty straightforward. Retailers put in their orders. The presses roll. Papers get bundled out the door onto lorries early enough to miss main traffic and bob's your uncle. That's the deal.

Yet, in the past fortnight I've had Ashobhna Patel ringing from Broadway News in North London's Mill Hill to say that The Times, Telegraph and Sun are now regularly arriving after 8.30am. "Business is already slow and we are losing customers," Ashobhna told me.

Her wholesaler, though, doesn't even seem to be aware that she has a problem. No complaints have been logged, despite the fact that she has rung dozens of times.

Ali Seedat, who runs Fountain St. News in Morley, Leeds, has fared a little better with his wholesaler in that he has managed to get compensation. But first there was the palaver of 40 missing Suns, eight Times, four Independents and so on, several times.

He supplies a local hotel that has asked for 20 Independents every day and he is chasing all over creation to get them since all the wholesaler sends him is 10 copies. Everyone is trying to find out which hotel so they can go direct. Doh! They can go directly to hell as far as Ali is concerned. "When I complained to the wholesaler about missing titles I have been called a liar by all three staff I have talked to. Isn't that a nice way for a monopolistic supplier to behave?"