Yet Anand Patel (West Street News, Farnham, Surrey) has had a devil of a job getting supplies on time. He opens at 5.30am, but his supplies have been arriving after Waitrose’s, which opens at 8am, and after Sainsbury’s, which opens at 7am.
It seems that the company contracted to deliver finds it a better route to drop off at the supermarkets and deliver later to Anand’s. There are 14 stores on the round and he is, he believes, number 12.
He reasons: “If it is a 20-mile round trip it doesn’t matter which way you go, it is still 20 miles.”
But despite pleading with the driver (who is just following orders) and with Menzies Distribution, and despite it getting better for a few days, he is now back to square one with the news coming half-an-hour to an hour late.
I put him in touch with Dorothy King, Press Distribution Forum administrator, and she has been guiding him through the complaints process. He is now keeping a month’s log of missed deadlines.
He believes that the contract company thinks it is saving diesel by dropping off bundles to the supermarkets first. The company even asked him if he could meet them halfway round to collect his supplies – leaving no one to run the shop.
“And on top of this I just got a letter from Menzies saying the delivery charges are going up… adding insult to injury.”
When Anand first complained about this months ago he told me that it was affecting his home deliveries and he was losing regulars. “And it’s my bread and butter. They are looking after the big boys all right.”
So far it seems a case of he who opens earliest is supplied last. It can’t be right, and Menzies must owe a duty of care to its newsagents.
Anand cannot be the only one with this grievance.