I am still on the epos subject as John Middleton, of ShopEase Retail Software, broadens it a little. 

He says: “We have sold news agency software since the early eighties, which will operate on any up-to-date PC and does not require a link to epos. Priced at £295+vat it is neither free nor ‘homespun’, but this price does additionally include a simple bookkeeping application.

“As with all our software the news agency package has evolved over the years, with most suggestions for improvement requested by our users. Like fine wine making, our craft has taken many years to perfect.

“A little more money (£395+vat) buys our point of sale (epos), stock control, back office management, equipment (DVDs etc) hire library, credit sales, trade sales and news agency package. And a little more money still (£595+vat) sees all of the above software, plus the necessary hardware to convert a computer into an all singing and dancing, fully-fledged, epos system.”

John wonders why Budhu is considering a laptop and not a desk top PC: “Whereas I can see the advantage of its portability, this can also be its downfall. 

“When a customer comes into Budhu’s shop to pay his news bill, the computer needs to be conveniently to hand so that Budhu can exchange conversation with his customer while the transaction takes place. Customers would, I feel, consider it bad manners, if the retailer disappears off into a back room to look up the cost of the news bill, etc. Far better, if all is open and the customer can view his account on screen alongside the retailer. 

“Unfortunately, this also exposes a laptop’s vulnerability, if someone fancies a snatch and grab.” 

Finally, he suggests that I remind readers that registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office will be required if they are going to keep electronic data, so even if software can be obtained freely, there is some cost involved.