Thursday, October 24, 2013

Market Forces - Thursday

‘So is the message clear?’ I conclude after what I feel has been a dynamic and uplifting morning meeting. Short of tumbleweed blowing across the office, the silence could not be more vastly all encompassing – unless you include the workdays between Christmas and New Year.

‘Anybody?’ I plead, looking at negotiator S for some sort of solace, one that doesn’t risk inappropriate workplace behaviour.
The verbal void hangs unpleasantly, like a turd from a shaggy sheepdog’s arse.
‘Someone say something.’ I rasp in anguish.

‘Well the punters are as confused as we are.’ Ventures assistant manager T timidly.
‘Here we go.’ Mutters lettings lush B to a scowl from me.
‘What’s confusing you?’ I ask, mind already racing through plausible answers. This is worse than bluffing you know the right price on a valuation, which turns out to be nothing like you’ve expected – or researched.

‘Everything is confusing me.’ Answers trainee F, to an ill-suppressed giggle from B. I scowl at her and she pouts back. That look might work in a wine bar when a bloke is a pissed and hasn’t had a shag for months, but I’m sober and…..well I’m sober.

‘You have to admit the media are giving out conflicting signals.’ Continues T, looking around the table for support. S nods vigorously and I can see her support working vigorously. Not helpful.
‘They have always done that.’ I tell T with a sigh. ‘They just need something to print, blog or tweet.’
‘If the public need advice wheel them in to me.’ Suggests fat financial man M. Hmm, we did that for endowments, payment protection insurance and interest only mortgages, I think glumly, and look how that turned out. Seems I’ll be working until I’m seventy-five, as it is.

‘What?’ Challenges M, to looks of communal distain. ‘I need to eat.’
‘Everyone is aware of their personal target for financial services leads.’ I tell M, toeing the company line reluctantly. I still wish those banks; building societies and insurance companies had left the industry alone in the nineties.

‘Mad woman peering in the window.’ Warns S through pursed lips.
‘Could you narrow it down a bit.’ Quips T to giggles. I turn my head slightly to se the grey-haired, whisker-chinned drunk lady again. She is still pushing the saggy-springed pram full of plastic bags, but devoid of a baby.
‘Don’t catch her eye.’ I hiss.
‘She might want a draw-down mortgage.’ Says T, on a roll.
‘Piss off.’ Responds M, clearly needing a roll.

The nutty lady tries the door handle, but luckily I haven’t unlocked yet, with five minutes to go before opening time. After a couple of feeble bangs on the glass, the old girl moves on. She’ll be back. I drag myself back on topic. Something that becomes harder and harder - as everything else goes softer and softer – with the passing years.

‘We’ve got five minutes.’ I say, scanning the group and feeling like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible - only without the happy ending and shoe lifts.
‘You have to admit there’s a lot of conflicting signals.’ Proclaims T.
‘Yes, people are confused as to what is happening.’ Adds S.
‘I haven’t got a clue.’ Contributes F.
B begins to file her nails, the rasping like a bass version of the scraping down a blackboard thing.

‘Bring them in to me, like I told you.’ Says M doggedly. ‘I’ll show them a few pie charts.’
From Greggs the baker probably, I think sourly. The problem is you can produce a survey, vox pop or market prediction to suit all needs.

Buyers look at the doom-monger predictions and refer to sites like House Price Crash, where men of a certain age spend daytimes in chatrooms talking to other like-minded forty-something’s still in “full-time education” - and still living in their parents’ homes. While the sellers, latch on to the latest asking price data disingenuously published by some right of centre tabloid with lazy copywriters. You make your choices…

‘So is the local market going up or down?’ Pleads F as the phones start to jangle and S unlocks the door.

Good question.

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