Let's talk money, and bear with me because there is a point at the end. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are a retailer, which means you are also pretty good with numbers.

Nonetheless, here is a lesson in figures - which I know is rich coming from innumerate old me, but one has to deal with the plethora of alarming statistics being lobbed at us at the moment - jobs lost, bonuses paid/withheld to banking spivs, national debt...

Do any of you understand trillions? (I know very few customers spend that much with you, although they might soon be descending on you with wheelbarrows full of the stuff if we follow the Zimbabwe example.)

Anyway, I heard a brilliant explanation on Radio 4 programme From Our Own Correspondent. Kevin Connolly, reporting from America, said think of it in these terms: if a million seconds is 11 days, then a billion seconds is about 32 years and a trillion seconds

is 32,000 years.

It gets worse. I looked up trillion in my dictionary. It doesn't mean the same here as in the USA. In Britain it gets 18 zeros (I haven't a clue how many seconds that is), in the States it gets only 12 (and is a million million). Next up, if you haven't lost the will to live yet, is the quadrillion (see, not the zillion).

And people moan when petrol goes up a few pence.

I said I wanted to talk money and the whole point of this piece is: how much would you pay a relief freelance manager to look after your shop?

I have been contacted by an experienced retailer who had to quit her shop to look after an ailing mother. She and her husband are hoping to embark on national relief management, but really don't know what to charge.

This needs a proper discussion so lots of feedback, please.