It’s very nearly Christmas, so let’s do some mythology. (Also nice to be able to put what turns out to be a cheerful story into this slot, given it’s the season of goodwill.)

Mind you, Peter Hancock’s new customer at his store, Hancock’s near Redditch, wasn’t all that cheering but she wasn’t right either, proving that the customer ain’t always. I always find that quite cheering as I am aware of how often you get it pushed down your throats that the customer is always right.

The retired lady, who had just moved to the area, told staff that she had previously worked in a licensing department and further informed staff that they needed a licence to sell cigarettes and tobacco. Staff asked Peter whether there were new rules and had he perhaps missed something?

Now Peter’s been in the store since he was three and the store has been selling cigs for 53 years to his knowledge, without a licence. Since he doesn’t sell alcohol, he therefore has no licence of any description. He wondered if there was any truth in her claim?

Nope. As we all know, there are many rules about tobacco and a lot of interference from government these days but, in England at least, licensing isn’t one of them (and maybe we should whisper this, in case they hear and decide it’s a good idea).

Retailers are required to display a statutory notice near the till about age limits and Peter has this, so he is quite up to scratch.

On that note, happy holidays! Well, you won’t get any so may there be ‘much spending in the store’ in both senses.