No Christmas RT for me – but it’s on sale at nearby Tesco and Sainsbury’s

My copies of Radio Times are delivered with my regular standing order on a Friday, but this week none arrived, and it is the special Christmas edition, which always sells in my store. 

However, the Sainsbury’s Local nearby and larger Tesco in Newport were both selling the Christmas special over the weekend. I had been told by Menzies there were no Christmas Radio Times in stock as it is not due to go on sale until the 13 December, but this is clearly not true. 

This is a small village and many people will now have bought their copy – Sainsbury’s had two full stands of the title with only six left when we checked. I don’t know whether the fault lies with the distributor or the publisher. Everyone always says they value the independent trade, but in practice they are prioritising the multiples.

Paul Bridgewater, The Cabin, Freshwater, Isle of Wight

A Menzies spokesman said: “Most of our customers on the Isle of Wight (including, we presume, the customer in question) receive the Radio Times south-west edition, which had an official on-sale date of 13 December. We have checked our packing logs, and this edition wasn’t even received for packing until Sunday, so it certainly hadn’t been delivered to the island by this weekend. However, after checking our allocations for the other editions, we have discerned that some Isle of Wight customers receive the London/Anglia edition, which on this occasion had an on-sale date of 9 December. We therefore believe this customer did not receive his copies of Radio Times at the same time as other retailers due to a variance in the official on-sale dates of RT’s regional editions.”

Times vouchers by post is a big problem for roundsmen  

We have had nearly half a dozen customers in the last four weeks complaining to us that their subscription vouchers for the Times have been lost in the post, either between the Times and them, or when they send them to us in the post.I have just had a customer cancel his Times delivery because the vouchers got lost twice. Something needs to be done about it. 

The subscription voucher system works well if you have a physical shop where customers can come and hand in their vouchers and pick up the paper in person. 

But I’m a roundsman covering a large area and we don’t have a shop, so all our customers have to send us their vouchers by post, and they seem to be lost very frequently. 

We’re talking vouchers that are worth up to £140, so it is a lot of money.  

Other newspapers have systems that work better: the Financial Times has a digital voucher, and the Telegraph has a system where the vouchers are sent directly to the retailer rather than the customer, which cuts in half the chance of them getting lost in the post. 

The Times needs to update its system so it works for roundsmen like us.

Raj Wadher, Upton News, Slough

News UK did not provide a response to this letter by the time RN went to press