Amid all the terribly worthy stuff at the ECR Europe jamboree in Turin last week, it was refreshing to see one piece of Efficient Consumer Response in action. Picture the scene: the main hall in the former Fiat car factory was packed with stands full of folk getting off on the minutiae of ECR. And slap bang in the middle of all this earnest enterprise was a small Heineken bar offering free beer. No prizes for guessing which stand was packed in the breaks between sessions ­ which came with snappily entitled speeches such as "creating consumer value for responsible pet owners". Britain's supermarketers were there, of course, although not in massive numbers. No, not at the bar ­ at the conference (although one British ECR guru did boast he was Heineken's first customer). Safeway, it turned out, only sent one manager to the event. The word on ECR Street is that the top brass in Hayes ­ particularly boss Carlos Criado-Perez ­ are less than convinced about the relevance of the psychobabble that surrounds the movement. Not surprising. Safeway sources tell me Carlos is a hands on guy who likes nothing better than coming into the office on a Saturday and terrifying his retail staff by ringing them at random to find out how sales are going. Tesco boss Terry Leahy did turn up. He had agreed to join a gaggle of CEOs in a panel discussion. When a colleague bumped into El Tel at the exhibition he was looking less than happy at the prospect. But a few hours later, on stage with his peers, it was good to see he was back to his usual smiley self. For one, I don't believe it had anything to do with the fact he was sharing the stage with Ahold's Cees van der Hoeven just as merger rumours started swirling around both companies. {{COUNTERPOINT }}