Here’s a bit of a masterclass on telephone codes. In the last issue I recounted Mary Birchall’s complaint after Menzies switched from an 0845 number (which Mary can call free) to an 0844 number.

This prompted Iain Lyall to write from Glan Conwy General Stores, explaining to me that you cannot just switch your telephone package to include free 0844 numbers. They are specifically excluded. He had to explain it to Menzies, too.

“I suggested that there is always a geographic number behind the 0844 and if they wanted to make a difference to our business (and not an increase in costs) that they also publish this number which would be within all our call packages.”

Both he and Shane Dove, a Costcutter manager in St Leonards in East Sussex, pointed out that Menzies’ new number cannot yet be found on the website, which Shane also kindly explained to me. “The website is a great alternative to the dreaded ‘08’ numbers.”

As he uses his mobile phone to make calls when away from the shop he can type them into the website and get the 01 alternative. “I use this method so that I can use my free network minutes.”

As this is being written Menzies’ 01 number has not been added. “Not to say that someone won’t find it out and list it on there soon,” Shane points out.

But will that solve it? Jay Heer who runs a Nisa in North London’s Chingford Hatch, says the original 0208 number must still be in place. “In order to run an 0845 or 0844 line, you have to have a landline ‘beneath’ them. But the 0208 number has blocked incoming calls.”

He doesn’t rate the online alternative. “Going online to change orders is far too slow. A standard landline is the answer.”