There is no doubt you all face a challenging year. I’ve had more food for thought from ex-CID investigator-turned- c-store operator Steve Edwards on the subject. First, he points to the derisory profits for tobacco. “There is increasing temptation to go to the dark side; I never will, but it is prevalent in our area.”

Then part-works come under fire. “The companies use us to advertise and display their magazines, but as soon as we get customers for them then they are tempted away by offers that we cannot access so we lose that customer.”

And phone top-ups: “The commission rates have fallen so much that they are now more of a problem as they hold up the queues for very little return.”

Bill payments commissions “are not worth the trouble” and even lottery commission is “pretty poor considering the amount of sales we generate”. “Living wage is going to be a massive problem and the impact on small businesses is yet to be assessed properly.” Business rates are also too high.

And back to his favourite subject: “My latest theft was two youths walked into the shop, took items and walked out. Video was clear and the crime was reported… result: police would not attend, would not collect CCTV as the crime was not in the public interest, value was about £2.50. So a green light has been given for people to walk into their local shops and it appears now that the police have given them an option whether or not to pay for low-value goods.”