waitrose shelf edge video ticketing

There is nothing new under the Sun, as they say, just as there is nothing true in it. Obviously the absence of any concrete evidence didn’t prove any obstacle to all the stories about surge pricing this week, and neither did the argument that it would make no sense. We can probably put it down to the phenomenon of ‘surge journalism’, where the volume of rubbish expands to fill the lack of demand for it.

Anyway, what they’ve all missed is that your Pat has been operating a far more sophisticated form of surge pricing for years. It’s a well-known phenomenon that when the House adjourns at night there is a surge of thirsty parliamentarians looking to pick up a medicinal half-litre of Smirnoff (£14.95) on the way home to their modest expense-funded penthouses in Mayfair.

You’d be surprised just how quickly price elasticity kicks in - as a convenience store owner I’ve become quite a judge of human desperation over the years and I never determine the final price until I’ve stared deeply into the whites of their eyes. Or in the case of some of my late-night clientele, the reds of their eyes.

By the time that same half-litre of voddy (£39.95) changes hands, I’ve sometimes been able to make up almost all of the cost of the front-door shrink that having a customer base consisting of upstanding representatives of the people also entails. So it’s swings and roundabouts, really.

In the meantime it looks like I can keep Mrs May’s weekly order of The Lady, custard creams and Brasso on the books thanks to a helping hand from that delightful, personable Mrs Foster. A billion quid is I think the least we taxpayers can sacrifice to keep the Tories in power. It’s cheaper than having to join the party, anyway.

Pat Smart

exploits of a Westminster 
c-store owner