Sir; I have read with some dismay recently in your Letters pages the gross deriding of the independent and symbol sector by certain account managers' and their attacks on our vital conferences. It's not an easy life running a c-store! We're up checking in the bread at 6am when the average account manager hasn't even got up yet, let alone visited his or her first call (probably the Little Chef). Then when we're cashing up at 10pm, he/she will have been home for four or five hours (after a quick 18 holes in the afternoon no doubt). Our "laughable" conferences, as they are so unpleasantly being referred to, give us the valuable opportunity to swap ideas and become more aware of the market as a whole. If this is done in a convivial/pleasant setting, why should there be a problem? We deserve some fun as well, you know! In fact, the only downside of our conferences is when we have to be bored senseless by another one of those dull presentations by Mr Fmcg', informing us how good his forthcoming product launch will be and how much his market share has grown by in the last period. Lay off Nisa and get some proper work done, I say! Phil Jones Healds Day & Nite manager {{LETTERS }}