When Umesh Parmar sent me a few thousand words on email about his saga with Camelot I replied that I have no clout whatsoever in its decision over who gets, or doesn’t get, a National Lottery terminal.
I did get in touch with Camelot and Umesh did get a terminal, but I still maintain it had nothing to do with me and quite a lot to do with a customer - one Clarissa Stevens - who sent a letter to Camelot praising Umesh and his Londis store in Southampton.
As she pointed out, the store previously had a terminal and all that had changed was the ownership.
Umesh took the store over in August 2013 and fully expected all the services to be transferred. Instead, the outgoing owner cancelled everything.
“I had to open accounts with Smiths News, ATM, PayPoint and Camelot quickly,” Umesh said.
He got everything reinstated, with the exception of a lottery terminal and was advised to reapply. “I did and was backed up by Londis. They rejected my application on the grounds that there are too many terminals in the area. I was shocked.”
Umesh set out his arguments - the population, competition, opening hours, footfall, turnover, new introductions such as in-store bakery, coffee machine, and the fact that he had been a National Lottery agent in his other shop.
He was offered Scratchcards and in just two months had impressed Camelot with his takings; however, he was losing sales on the lottery’s draw day. Umesh was getting resentful, believing terminals were being held in reserve for the supers.
So he was surprised when a rep showed up with an application form. Unbeknownst to him Mrs Stevens had sent her ‘fan’ letter to Camelot.
When he contacted me he was waiting to hear and thought my persuasive nature might swing the deal. I know it didn’t but was pleased to hear the good news from my Camelot contact.