Nine months later, during preparation for re-opening, Jenny contacted Camelot to ask if it was possible to have a terminal. They had previously sold scratchcards and had been told that they had one of the highest sales for that size of post office. Her request, however, was refused, she thinks on the basis that the area was sufficiently covered. She says: "Imagine my surprise, anger and disgust when I passed a store, which is around nine-tenths of a mile from my store and only two-tenths of a mile from a store already with lottery, and had now been given a terminal. I think I have been discriminated against."
She set out her points in a letter to Camelot and has sent me the company's reply. It says it has reviewed her enquiry carefully in order to respond properly. But in the end it reverts to its party line that "each selection is made using a wide-ranging list of criteria including: geographical demographic; density of population; footfall; and sales, among others".
It cannot be that her shop is not good enough. She is short-listed as one of nine regional winners in the Blakemore/Landmark/Lifestyle National Retailer of the year competition.
Jenny says: "We did have to rebuild the store, so we took the opportunity to knock walls down and modernise the store/post office. Prior to the flood we were receiving deliveries from Blakemore, but not as a member of the symbol group Lifestyle Express. As part of our plans to reopen 'bigger, brighter, better', we thought the business needed the professional image of a symbol group. Lifestyle Express came top as far as we were concerned. Landmark/Lifestyle did help a lot in preparation for the opening. They advised on shop layout, merchandised stock, fitted window vinyls and signage. They also supported and helped with our grand re-opening day, in providing raffle prizes, samples and tastings."
I wonder if she'll have any luck if Richard Branson winds up as major Camelot shareholder (as rumoured)? There is an 80% stake up for sale.