When a supermarket was opened in Grimsby back in the 1960s, he told his father that any retailer which based its name on the initials of the company ­ Associated Dairies ­ had got no chance. Good job Wal-Mart didn't agree! Tuesday saw our sister paper Convenience Store's St George's Day bash at Whitbread's little eaterie The Brewery. Pity the table plan wasn't arranged more discreetly. We had the sorry sight of a West Ham supporter sandwiched between two ardent Arsenal fans. Not a clever thing to do, since the teams were due to meet in a crucial Premier League set-to. But it explains why there was much gnashing of teeth during rugby ace Gareth Chilcott's speech. But then you meet strange people at lunches of this sort. Like the guy who recalled working for Whitbread, a tobacco company and then the National Lottery. He rejoices in having worked in booze, cigarettes and gambling but adds: "All that's now left is prostitution." Meanwhile, although the sun was shining in Barcelona, the great and the good of Europe's grocery world were indoors at the ECR Europe conference. As the acronyms started to flow and eyes began to glaze over, Superquinn purchasing director Damien Carolan strode on stage with a large plastic saw - an essential tool for any company wanting to get to grips with ECR, he said. Its purpose? "To cut through all the bullshit." {{COUNTERPOINT }}