It’s an old rep’s trick, the agreement-seeking question: ‘You DO want to buy this, don’t you?’

Mike Cheskin was on the receiving end of a variation on this theme recently at his forecourt, Chatfield Service Centre in Gloucestershire. Merchant Retail Suppliers (of York and Canada apparently) rang up and cheerfully informed staff that the re-ordering of till rolls was now due. When it arrived it comprised two boxes of till rolls with four detection pens and a couple of swipe card cleaners. “It was worth £40 at a push,” says Mike. “But I got a bill for £170 and when you ring up to complain, it goes through to Canada!”

He sent it back to York, from whence it had came, costing him seven quid. “They are just playing on people’s gullibility,” he observes. Yes, and on a familiarity with the sort of fodder required by businesses. So staff thinks, oh yeah, till rolls, must be right. So they agree on the phone, they sign when it arrives and you are stuck. Show this to your staff.