Amazon go

Honestly? Is an Amazon-style check-out free store the answer to Pat’s woes?

I have a little snuffle this week, which is no surprise I suppose. I haven’t been able to afford to feed the gas meter in the flat above the shop for a while, and you’d be surprised how difficult it is to get hold of shilling pieces these days.

Dear Pavlina - I do miss the poor lamb - used to bring me back a supply of Bulgarian coins each time she went home to visit the extraordinary number of ailing cousins she supports (some of them have been on their death beds for at least 15 years). I’m not sure how much a 50 stotinki piece is worth in money, but they kept my stove going for a good little while.

What with no one to help me in the shop I was very encouraged to see that Amazon has opened its first checkout-free store in the north west. Hmm. I went to Blackpool on holiday every summer when I was a nipper, and I don’t remember a place called Seattle. Maybe they’ve rebranded Morecambe.

Anyway, our elected representatives would hardly defraud an old shopkeeper - would they? - so I thought it would be safe to leave an honesty box by the door while I snuggled under my eiderdown with an out of code bottle of Night Nurse (160ml/£8.99).

I must admit I knocked back the lot. When I came to just 48 hours later, I popped downstairs to check the takings. It was a bit of a mixed picture. On the positive side, business must have been brisk, because there was almost nothing left on the shelves. But I must have been running some pretty good promotions this week - my total till-roll was just £3.71.

Still, there were quite a few 50 stotinki pieces in the box, so at least I can feed the meter.