Monday, March 10, 2014
No Waiting Zone - Monday
‘Thank God you’re back.’ says negotiator S as I return to the office. She knows how to make a man feel welcome - at least I imagine she does.
‘What is it?’ I question warily, knowing without needing the harsh reality of the shaving mirror, that she doesn’t want me for anything more physical than a human shield.
‘I’ve had the buyers of number eleven on the phone three times already this morning wanting to know when they can collect their keys.’
I glance up at the office clock, not good. Late morning, lunchtime lurking and if their solicitor hasn’t wired funds to the sellers by now there’s a real danger of the virtual black hole between 12.00 noon and about 2.30pm . Experience tells me the chances of the lawyers in the chain aligning, in office, at the same time to send completion funds along the digital highway, are slim to zero. Someone is always out to lunch.
‘Have you asked them to chase their solicitor?’ I ask S to the sort of derisory look I might imagine receiving if I did actually offer her more tactile assistance.
‘They’ve tried but she was…’
‘Out of the office?’ I say swiftly.
‘No.’ Says S sharply. ‘At a school meeting for her daughter.’
Someone needs a word with the legal lady’s secretary. You can give out too much information.
‘Do you think having children affects you’re career prospects?’ Asks S pointedly.
Jesus, I can’t be giving an opinion on that, I think warily. I may have been around a long time but even I’ve learnt what is way off limits in today’s workplace. I’d be in less trouble if I did actually encroach into S’s personal space - probably…
Politically correct fudge given, I return to the matter in hand.
‘Have you tried the vendor’s solicitor?’ I ask. ‘See if they are ready to go.’
‘Of course.’ Replies S tartly. I sometimes forget she’s one of the good estate agents. It’s one of the reasons she’s on display in the window.
‘The buyers are getting really stressed.’ Continues S.
‘I’m not surprised.’ I reply. ‘Hire a cheap solicitor and you get what you deserve. Next you’ll be telling me they’re doing the removals themselves.’
S looks at me and grimaces. ‘They are on their way to the office in the rent-a-van. Had it loaded by 9.30pm.’
You can’t tell people.
‘Why can’t you just give us our keys?’ Demands the weary-looking man, one hand clutched to the small of his back, wife slumped in a chair while their two pre-school toddlers run amok. Because they’re not your keys yet, I think grimly, glancing at the clock and seeing it’s still not 2.00pm. The last phone call to their solicitors office got the answer phone - a piece of kit that should have gone the way of William Caxton’s first printing press, by now.
’It’s more than my job’s worth.’ I tell the agitated man as his wife looks daggers at me and her offspring try to prise apart the office window display. £7,000 for a few low-voltage bulbs some acrylic panels and a reel of piano wire. I’m in the wrong business.
‘I know they’re just out the back there.’ Says the wife acidly. ‘Surely you can let us start to unpack. What could possibly go wrong?’
Lady, I could write a book. In fact I have, but that’s another story.
‘Well don’t expect us to give you any more business when we move.’ States the husband, wincing as he moves.
Probably not the best time to point out they haven’t paid us a penny. The vendor picks up my tab and this couple and their ill-mannered kids aren’t picking up my clients keys until they’ve paid for them.
‘Anyone’s hired van bumped up on the pavement across the road?’ Enquires assistant manager T as he returns from a viewing. It’s nearly 2.45pm.
‘It’s mine why?’ Demands the fractious not quite buyer,
’Traffic warden is eyeing it up.’ Replies T nonchalantly.
‘Oh for f***s sake .’ Snaps the man viciously. ‘Can it get any worse?’
His pre-school offspring parroting his expletive apparently.