Sir; I found the letter from Mace retailer Gloria Williams (June 24) extolling the benefits of symbol groups rather difficult to believe. First, why would customers perceive a Mace fascia as being synonymous with quality? Does the organisation do any PR work whatsoever to promote its image? I certainly haven't seen anything! Second, foreign holidays (using her words) taken by symbol group representatives do not stand as signs of success when they are taken at the expense of the people they are supposed to represent. They are, in fact, a hidden cost which only increases how much members actually pay for the goods they purchase. When you buy from cash and carries you know exactly where you stand. We have three full-time members of staff in our shop so when the person concerned goes to the wholesaler, they know precisely what to buy and in what quantities. They can also cherrypick suitable promotional offerings ­ of which there are far more than are available through any symbol group. This is because they work in the store and actually see what sells ­ day in day out! B Hawkins (independent and proud) Hawkins Community Store Kingsoak Birmingham {{LETTERS }}

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