Ali Seedat did not have a good one, newspaper-supply-wise, at his store, Fountain St News in Leeds. “Menzies’ system crashed for the second consecutive bank holiday,” he tells me. “I feel sorry for those without access to the website – at least I could print out the paperwork. They cut us back on the Mail on Sunday and we were sold out by 8am. That’s not good when you have another four or five hours to trade. On the bank holiday Monday The Telegraph was both in short supply and late.”
He feels fobbed off. A few days earlier he had received a text message from Menzies to say The Sun was running late and they would do a double running. By 8am he had done the rounds and subsequently spoke to both the wholesaler and News International. The latter admitted to a delay but said his copies had gone out in enough time for him to have had 40 of them delivered by 8.30am.
“The sub-contractor probably sent them to the wrong place,” adds Ali. “Once upon a time Menzies would give you restitution. They would knock £10 or so off the bill. Now it’s gone up by 8% and you can’t even get to speak to an operations manager. They say if you’ve got issues, put it in writing.
“After you’ve worked 12 or 13 hours a day you don’t feel like writing letters. You want to put your feet up for a bit.”
Ali makes another good point that, during the summer holidays with the kids away, more newsagents are having to plan carefully for home deliveries. “We’re providing the home deliveries service but I’ve been reading Dave Newman in Convenience Store (August 22) and I, too, wonder whether home delivery is worth it. Is it viable? But if they would just give us the tools, we would do the job.”