Ah, newspaper wholesalers and their geographical monopolies. If you don't get the level of service you require, you cannot go elsewhere. Lately I've been getting emails copied to me from Bhavin Patel at the rate of about three per week. They are directed at news wholesaler Dawson's, expressing Bhavin's "disappointment and frustration at the appalling service I seem to receive from your Harlow branch".
The catalogue of complaints is quite impressive. Over the course of three days, for example, he says that on Easter Sunday he received two copies of the Sunday Times when he has five copies for shop save alone. Out of four other shops he rang none were able to spare a copy. He writes: "On the one day of the year when independents like myself have an opportunity to sell extra newspapers, our supplies are cut to appalling levels, hence we lose out yet again."
At the same time Bhavin received 40 extra Mail on Sunday copies when he had only asked for 10 extra.
A couple of days before that he had had no Guardian newspapers whatsoever and he had sent back two clearly-marked tote boxes with returns, but did not receive the credit note (apparently a common occurrence judging from the number of emails).
He further writes: "In future I expect my returns to be processed on the day they are returned and credits to appear on the following day's unsold note. After all, your company is very prompt to charge its customers for titles in advance and do I not settle my weekly newsbill on time?"
The point about this is, I think, that newspaper wholesalers have been at their game for a long time and they set the rules. With monopoly should come responsibility. Bhavin isn't making this up. He isn't trying to get out of a contract, because he knows he has no choice: he can't go elsewhere for a better deal.