Forecourt Trader - 30 years at the heart of the fuel retailing community

Shop Talk: Tracy West

I hope you've had a good summer and your fair share of the gorgeous weather.

I was down on the Kent coast the other evening and popped into a convenience store for a cold drink.

The drinks were cold so that was good but what caught my eye was a free-standing display unit of Christmas confectionery. Yes, Christmas confectionery in August on one of the hottest days of the year.

I mentioned it to the staff and they laughed, saying they had Christmas stuff in but no Halloween items, so were a bit confused.

Now I know the grocery mults like to get ahead and often start putting out Christmas lines in September but I'd have thought a small convenience store would find better use for its space. But what do I know?

This got me thinking generally about seasons and the weather. Someone told me they'd tried to buy a pair of shorts during the August heatwave but all they could find was autumn and winter clothes in the shops. They said wouldn't it have been sensible to have just one rack of summer clothes for sale?

Another anecdote about the summer comes from me and a recent visit to McDonald's. I queued at the drive-thru on a really hot day and ordered a McFlurry only to be told that the machines had over-heated because customers had been ordering too many. Although I was disappointed not to get the ice cream, I had to smile at this member of staff's belief that it was the customers' fault that there were no ice creams. What a strange attitude but I'm not really surprised.

This summer I've also visited a fair few forecourt stores. I dropped into one to pick up some lunch with my two nieces and was really spoilt for choice. You might think, so what? But where I live the forecourt stores are still pretty basic; for example, one does hot food but always just seems to have one curled up sausage roll on display. Mr West actually bought a sausage roll from there one day and said it tasted even worse than it looked I wasn't sure that could be possible.

I was so impressed with the forecourt store I previously mentioned (on the Thanet Way) that when I was passing again I stopped to pick up a few bits because I was confident they'd have what I wanted. My only grumble is that it's not that local to me, but at least I know where to stop when I'm over that way.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 11 December 2017
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East123.7065.90130.36121.00
East Midlands123.22132.06120.72
London123.2858.90131.75120.77
North East122.41132.57120.03
North West123.0453.80129.56120.69
Northern Ireland121.86125.50120.15
Scotland123.43130.00120.43
South East123.79130.52121.33
South West123.5451.70130.13120.95
Wales122.8952.90129.42120.12
West Midlands122.72130.53120.53
Yorkshire & Humber122.96133.33120.61

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