Some­thing needs to change, say In­ver­aray re­tail­ers

Argyllshire Advertiser - - NEWS - Colin Cameron ed­i­tor@ar­gyll­shiread­ver­tiser.co.uk

SHOP own­ers in In­ver­aray en­dure a daily test of their cus­tomer ser­vice skills as frus­trated tourists ask them for change – dozens of times ev­ery day.

And re­tail­ers warn that vis­i­tors will move else­where over prob­lems with change for park­ing me­ters and the town’s toi­lets.

Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s park­ing me­ters, which will not ac­cept the new £1 coins, is a well doc­u­mented is­sue.

But shop staff are be­ing left to deal with ir­ri­tated vis­i­tors with many, it is claimed, be­ing less than po­lite in their de­mands for coins to fill the me­ters.

‘I’ve been forced to stock up on old pound coins at a time when we’re sup­posed to be tak­ing them out of cir­cu­la­tion,’ said In­ver­aray florist Kenny MacLach­lan.

‘I can get a dozen peo­ple a day ask­ing to ex­change coins.

‘The point is that tourists come here maybe af­ter driv­ing for hours. They might have chil­dren with them and they want to park.

‘If they can’t, they’ll go some­where else. Vis­i­tors are our lifeblood in In­ver­aray, so it's not good enough.’

Near the In­ver­aray pier area the prob­lem is even greater, ac­cord­ing to one shop pro­pri­etor.

‘We can get up to 50 peo­ple a day look­ing for change for the me­ters and the toi­lets,’ said Ian Lind­say of the Pier Shop.

‘What bugs us is that it costs us money at the bank for change – so we’re do­ing a ser­vice for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil, get­ting all the has­sle and it’s cost­ing us money as well.’

‘Folk will come in, de­mand change, then walk out with­out buy­ing a thing.

‘And we can’t put all these no sales through the till ev­ery day or the ac­coun­tant won­ders what’s go­ing on.’

The Ad­ver­tiser spoke to one such vis­i­tor as he tried – with­out suc­cess – to feed the park­ing me­ter be­side the Pier Shop.

Joe Cachia and his wife were on hol­i­day from Valetta in Malta, here for their first trip to these shores.

Less than im­pressed with the me­ter, he said: ‘The ma­chine has al­ready taken 20p and won’t give it back, and I see it doesn’t take the pound coins I have in my pocket.’

He added: ‘If a lo­cal man hadn’t pointed out the time to me, and said that we didn’t need a ticket at that point in the day, we would have jumped in our car and moved on.’

The old pound coins will cease to be le­gal ten­der from Oc­to­ber 15.

A spokesper­son for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said: ‘All me­ters will be com­pat­i­ble with the new £1 coins by the time the old coins are phased out in Oc­to­ber. It should be noted that all ma­chines ac­cept all other coins, in­clud­ing £2, 50p, 20p, 10p and 5p.

‘We apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience caused in the mean­time.’

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Mal­tese vis­i­tor Joe Cachia was on the point of leav­ing In­ver­aray af­ter me­ter frus­tra­tion.

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Kenny MacLach­lan has been forced to get ‘old’ pound coins from the bank to help vis­i­tors.

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