Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Blame Game - Wednesday
‘Of course you lot are to blame for prices being all out of kilter.’ Announces the beardy bloke sitting in front of me, with the sort of zealot’s certainty, only someone unable to get on the housing ladder can muster. I’ve made the mistake of sitting at trainee F’s desk while he’s out at lunch. It’s the sort of team building, down with the troops gesture that would escape my bean counter boss as he’s never sold anything other than his soul, but I’m beginning to regret it.
‘You just want more commission so you shove prices higher and higher.’ Continues the failed radical, who if I was a betting man probably has some worthless degree in a touchy-feely social sciences subject, where you don’t actually start work until you’ve done several spurious post-grad postings and passed your thirtieth birthday.
I could tell the man that an extra ten grand on a house sale at 1.5% commission means just £150 to me and is not worth the hassle, but I’d be wasting my breath, plus with remedial maths I can never be sure - even on simple sums - if I’ve got it right. Not without the digital comfort blanket of my metric converter calculator. It does have a solar powered battery though, which might please this polar bear apologist who is really starting to piss me off.
‘Big business milking the little guy, you’re all in it together.’ He rails, sweeping his hand towards our internal property panels where we display the old dogs that have been on the market before this man did his first protest march. ‘I mean look at these,’ he continues speck of spittle in his beard. ‘How can ordinary people expect to buy even a broom cupboard?’
I’m not big business you shaggy-haired wastrel, I think angrily, as I try to keep the neutral expression pasted on my face, something I struggle more an more with as time and tossers wear me down. I’m just trying to keep a roof over my head like anyone else. A roof I’ve bothered to get without whining about it in agents’ offices, or on some self-aggrandising web forum peopled by jobless men in their pyjamas bitching about prices. Men – and it’s usually men - who should just look at some porn instead of pursuing lengthy threads arguing with other bed-sit dwellers all sporting chipped shoulders and erections.
If he’s looking for blame to apportion, I think, as his nasally voice continues like a persistent mosquito, try greedy vendors. Try years off irresponsible lending by banks and building societies led by anal accountants like my boss. Try flawed government housing policies. I could go on, but he’s doing it for me. I start to wonder when F will be back, but he’s probably in some car park with his dippy girlfriend. The headlining on the company motor has some unexplained markings and there’s always an odd smell inside after F’s been for a ride…
‘I need three bedrooms as my girlfriend’s got a daughter and we’re expecting our own child.’ He buzzes. ‘I mean what are we expected to do?’ Try contraception? I ache to say, and an internal rant that would shame a Daily Mail copywriter spools through my brain like radio static.
I’d sympathise with this guy if he weren’t so irritating. In a different life, if I’d learnt to play the guitar, or pursued a destructive desire to be another penniless writer, it could be me the other side of the desk. Homeless, or locked into poor quality rented accommodation feeling alienated by society – only with better dress sense and a decent haircut.
‘Do you know how much my salary will allow me to buy at?’ Asks the man, hint of despair replacing the anger in his voice. I do, which is why I’ve not bothered referring him to fat financial advisor M, who is in his office feeding off something more substantial and far sweeter.
‘And where am I expected to get a £40,000 deposit from?’ Spouts my tormentor. ‘Do you have any cheap homes at all?’
Curiously, not many owners want their homes to be a bargain.
The book to help you buy but you probably can not afford it...