I don’t get called ‘brilliant’ very often. Last time I can remember was a decade or so ago when I rushed to rescue a burning dinner and dropped it all over the floor. “Oh, brill,” said the kids. “Almost as brill as the time you put the electric cocktail swizz in the dishwasher.”
But Stephen Beard not only enjoyed the feedback to his rant about PayPoint’s c**p commission, but he loved my suggestion that retailers should buy shares in the company, thereby giving them a voice that has, so far, gone unheeded.
Stephen himself responded: “A very good idea. In fact, brilliant idea if a couple of hundred retailers buy shares and attend the AGM.”
(You can buy online from the comfort of your own computer, or no doubt your bank can sort shares out for you. I’m thinking of cashing in my ISA and converting it to PP shares.)
There was feedback, too, to Anita Sharma’s response to Stephen (self-perpetuating this column). Anita likened PP retailers to slaves and was irked not only by swipe cards not working, but with the frequency that nearby retailers’ terminals also weren’t ‘working’ (ie deliberately so).
Regular correspondent Hitendra Patel, Costcutter, Romford, Essex, says: “Anita is spot on. When cards don’t swipe, you have to key in a number and sometimes the print is so small that I have to go and find my glasses. And these numbers are 16-18 digits long.”
He adds that Anita was also right when she claimed that a suspicious number of nearby retailers with PP seemed to have ‘out of order’ terminals when it suited them.
“Paypoint doesn’t ‘go wrong’, and if it does they fix it within four working hours, so shopkeepers make it up when they say that their system isn’t working.”
He adds that he will always do a transaction for a regular, but he might tell strangers, “No, sorry, not working”, if the store is busy and they are not buying anything else there.
He also has some home truths about footfall (always one of PP’s positives on the reason for offering the service). “It used to be worth it, but not any more. Another shop in this parade used to have PP, but he lost it. Then he had Payzone and lost that. He is still trading and sometimes people buy from him first and then come to me just to make a PayPoint transaction.”