Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Beat It - Wednesday
I’m in the main office, covering for snatched lunches and outside appointments. I like to show I can still do the front line chores. It’s the reason I get chased by dogs on leaflet drops and still make a mess of the tea and coffee orders when I show I’m a milk, no sugar, man of the people.
‘Tossers looking in the window.’ Hisses loose lettings’ lush B. She’s my only companion and a less than alluring - rescue the human race - procreation choice, should the world end like that guy standing outside the newsagents has been predicting for the last six months. Just my luck, help save the planet and be stuck with a nasty STI, a drunk pregnant woman and no antibiotics….
‘They look fairly normal.’ I whisper back, trying to banish the unwelcome thought of raising more than a smile, in B’s direction.
‘Time-wasters.’ predicts B, as the late middle-aged couple move hesitantly towards the office door.
‘Buying or renting?’ I ask softly.
‘Well the buy-to-let lot have dried up since the chancellor screwed around with stamp duty,’ answers B. ‘ So I’m thinking you’re the lucky one.’
True to form, B ducks behind her monitor and I am left with no choice but to stand and welcome the couple. I insist we greet people in the old school fashion. I hope it’s a point of difference to all the other new kids on the block, in polo shirts and chinos. We don’t do free coffee dispensing, but I do see everyone to the door. Not least to make sure they are safely off the premises.
‘How may I help you?’ I begin, as I show the pair to S’s vacant desk. The seat is vaguely warm as I sit down. Probably just the unaccustomed sunshine streaming through the window. Probably.
I wait as the wife responds to my question. She’s clearly the decision maker, first qualifying item obtained, now I just need to establish their needs and motivation. The basic contact information, names, addresses, email and phone details could be taken by a performing parrot. I want to know how these people can generate income for me. Do they have a home to sell? Can they proceed promptly? Would they like fat mortgage man M, to sell them some inappropriate insurance product? One that will doubtless be a future miss-selling scandal, but for the moment will satisfy head office’s increasingly demanding sales targets.
I takes a few minutes to get the dreary but necessary data. The pair probably think I’m putting them on our mailing list - something of a misnomer now most people communicate electronically - but I’ll decide whether we’ll be wasting any more time on them. You need quality control in this business, or like a prostitute with an absent-minded pimp, you’d spend all your time servicing f***ers who never pay you.
And then the woman utters a familiar, but still intensely irritating, line.
‘We’ve been looking for the last five years.’ She says earnestly, as the husband nods wearily. I catch B’s smirk across the office, as she theatrically mimes: time-wasters.
‘There’s never anything as nice as our house.’ Continues the wife, as I detect a frown of transient disagreement from the long-suffering husband. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
Of course I’ve had plenty of properties that would suit this picky pair, over the last half decade. But with the supply and demand imbalance still out of kilter, why would I make the transaction any harder than it is, by involving unmotivated messers? If I’m going to do sado-masochism I’ll do it in my own time, with appropriate sheets and privacy. There’s no safe word with these types. They'll just keep hurting you time after time.
‘Oh no, we won’t put our house on the market until we’ve found something.’ Replies the wife, to my half-hearted attempt to get a valuation for a sister office half way across the county, where this pair live - and will doubtless die.
‘Told you they were time-wasters.’ Crows B after I’ve seen the couple out.
Feel my pain.