Oh my dearie dear. Hardly a day goes by without some new horror story about job cuts at one large supermarket or other. If it isn’t the avuncular Mr Lewis with profound sorrow and regret butchering 1,200 head office roles, it’s the urbane and empathetic Mr Coupe taking a deeply reluctant flamethrower to Holborn Circus. Metaphorically, I mean.


As a fierce competitor to the retail oligarchs you might have thought that the chairman, chief executive and board of Pat’s Mart would be smiling a mischievous smile at the misfortunes of my peers. But since your Pat is the sole occupier of all those roles I can say with sincerity that it breaks my heart. Not least because I find myself forced to follow suit and wield the axe.

Beloved readers, there is no need for you to fear for the delightful Pavlina, my sole full-time employee. For one thing she’s taking a lovely enforced and unpaid sabbatical in Sofia - what with Parliament in recess and the entire country up Brexit Creek with no means of propulsion, I can’t afford to pay her over the summer and she is exploring the full potential of the minimum wage and zero-hours clauses in what we shall for the sake of argument call her ‘contract’.

No, I am taking my lead from my fellow retail executives who, desperate to free up capital for investment in, say, board-level incentive programmes, are inviting the next tier down for an unexpected meeting in that special HR office right next to the back lift. This is a little more difficult in my case, since the back room is partly my private convenience and partly stock room (fresh and ambient). There is also, on reflection, a lack of senior roles to chop. Maybe a tearful text to Pavlina is called for, after all.