Upon reading that Palmer & Harvey has ceased operation immediately, my reaction was to stride over to my crisp bay and see which items I won’t be receiving from them on what was their usual Thursday visit.

I saw that I had only five packs remaining of my bestseller – Walkers Cheese and Onion. A slight feeling of dread came over me at the thought that this bare-looking compartment would very soon become empty.

I thought of the embarrassment I would endure when having to explain to regular buyers that I have run out of Walkers’ finest. My pitiful attempt at saving face was: “But I will have some in on Friday.”

That was simply not a satisfactory response for a disappointed customer.

Then I paused for thought about what else I had read from that dreadful headline: “2,500 jobs lost”. I remembered some wise words often offered to me whenever I didn’t get what I wished for as a child: “No matter how disappointed you might feel at the moment, there is someone else in the world suffering far more than you are.”

My attention diverted from the potential disaster that would be out-of-stock cheese and onion crisps and towards the three former Palmer & Harvey salesmen who would visit me weekly to deliver crisps, sweets and alcohol.

The three and a half years that I had done business with Nigel, Kevin and Eamon were a pleasure. They were hard working, reliable, honest and helpful.

Those three former Palmer & Harvey employees possessed a relatable quality that many shopkeepers are renowned for; a boundless work-ethic. They worked with a purposeful pace, but at the same time never too hurried so as not to engage in a little conversation to build a solid rapport with me over the years.

So, it is terribly sad and a great shame to learn that they, along with others have been made jobless. Especially at a time so close to Christmas where many of us cap off a year of graft by treating ourselves and loved ones with gifts and indulgences.

It’s not entirely clear to me exactly how Palmer & Harvey got themselves into such dire straits that the only option was to enter administration. However, I can say with confidence that it was not due to a lack of effort or aptitude from Nigel, Kevin and Eamon.

Thank you and good luck, gentlemen.