Thursday, June 05, 2014
Accompanied Viewing - Thursday
‘You’re never going to believe the latest.’ Says Assistant manager T as I return to the office.
The choices are endless, so in the end I drop my briefcase, sit at the spare desk and spread my arms.
‘This is classic.’ Begins T as the office falls silent and I notice everyone has stopped to listen, even bloated mortgage man M has waddled out to hear the story. This must be good.
T grins in anticipation and I can see he’s relishing an audience. At the end of the day all good estate agents are just frustrated thespians - with an income that fluctuates just as wildly. T begins by naming the local estate agent with the poorest reputation out of a bad bunch, quite an achievement with the sort of publicity the profession garners.
‘No hang on, let me get to the best bit.’ Presses T as the pantomime boos echo around the office.
‘He’s behind you!’ Shouts M to his own booming guffaw. Everyone looks disdainfully at the fat figure-fiddler as negotiator S says flatly. ‘He’s not.’ And given how the tail unfolds you wouldn’t want him to be.
T embellishes the story in a manner that makes me rather proud I’ve trained him. The intakes of breath and the hands clasped to mouths show he can carry an audience, it’s just a shame he’s not so good at maintaining his average fee and getting a board up. He finishes with a flourish and the office falls silent again
‘That can’t be true.’ Ventures S hesitantly.
‘True as I’m standing here.’ Counters T with a grin.
‘In their flat?’ Asks trainee F incredulously.
‘In their double bed.’ Answers T with a prurient chuckle.
‘Doesn’t surprise me.’ Says loose lettings lush B with a shrug. No it wouldn’t I think, not if the rumours are true.
‘Let me get this straight…’ Begins S.
‘That’s what he said.’ Interjects T to riotous laughter. I hold a hand up to restore some decorum. There’s a couple looking in the window and seeing a group of estate agents all rocking with laughter isn’t going to restore their confidence in the profession - particularly if they think we’re chortling about the asking prices they’re perusing.
‘So he shagged the office secretary in a client's apartment?’ Questions S, shaking her head in disgust.
‘While they were away on holiday.’
‘My God that shouldn’t happen.’ Sates S grimacing.
‘Wouldn’t be the first time.’ Says B scornfully. So the rumours are true, I think grimly, But she’s right. Clearly - and thankfully as it happens - none of my team have read my book. They’re in good company…
‘That sort of story has been a regular over my years in the business.’ I tell S. ‘It’s just the owners don’t usually have motion sensor cameras set up.’
‘Imagine how they felt when they say that on the hard drive.’ Says T with a laugh.
‘Don’t even go there.’ I caution F swiftly, as he lifts a hand to say something inappropriate.
‘They were sacked of course.’ States S rhetorically. ‘For gross misconduct and inappropriate behaviour?’
‘More for being caught, I think.’ Replies T.
‘What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t grieve over.’ Offers M.
‘True,’ concedes T. ‘But you can’t ignore the evidence.’
‘The video footage?’ Says F.
‘That and the sheets.’ Answers T, to a communal groan of distaste.
‘It’s no wonder the public hate us.’ Muses S as the phone rings and the office tempo picks up.
‘We’re not all the same.’ I tell her in a dignified response. Yep, thank God she hasn’t downloaded the book. Some things need to stay secret - or at least anonymous.
‘They should be banned and never allowed to be estate agents again.’ Continues S censoriously as another unlikely fantasy withers and shrinks.
‘That’s not going to happen.’ I reply, killing two birds with one stone. ‘He’ll be back flogging homes and cutting corners within the month.’
‘He shouldn’t be.’ Says S pouting distractingly.
She’s right, but all the time there’s still no licensing for estate agents in the UK and no minimum standard of entry - well, people are going to get shafted.