In the last issue I wondered if any other newsagents had noted extra charges on their invoices for missing tote boxes as Anish Shah, who runs Sonam Enterprise in South-west London, had done. This prompted an email from John Beswick in Old Leake, Lincolnshire who has never had a tote box go missing but was once short a whole parcel of returns and a delivery parcel. When he phoned in the discrepancy he was told that the driver had denied all knowledge. John phoned back to say that he had it all on video tape from an external camera that showed otherwise. The wholesaler was invited to view and count the number of parcels taken and delivered.

“We got all the credits and heard no more,” says John. “Nor have we had a repeat over the several years since this happened. Another plus for CCTV.”

Sam Singh also emailed from Canongate Stores in Edinburgh to complain about The Sun taking back its handling allowance for hefty loose inserts when they become returns. Supermarkets get theirs all polybagged up for them, and it does seem grossly unfair that newsagents get a pittance for doing the work and then have it taken away again. I should point out here that it’s only News International that does this so far as I know. You can just imagine the headline The Sun would write if they got their hands on such a story about someone else can’t you?

But back to tote boxes. Anish has got back in touch. He praises the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) for their powers of intervention: they have persuaded WH Smith (Slough) to credit him for the tote box charges. This is praise that I am happy to pass on because my clout with the newspaper wholesalers is about as good as our Eurovision Song Contest score – close to nil point.