Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Help The Aged - Tuesday
‘Is that Mr and Mrs Lattimer looking in the window?’ Asks negotiator S softly.
I look up from the jammed again colour printer - having narrowly resisted thrashing the wretched machine, like Basil Fawlty, primarily due to the lack of convenient shrubbery.
I spot the elderly couple, I recognise the elderly couple, only without S’s wonderful memory - and mammaries now I come to mention it - I’d never have recalled the name.
‘Yep, it’s them,’ I whisper like a poor-quality ventriloquist, all the while grinning inanely towards the ancient pair. ‘Only what the hell do they want this time?’
‘Perhaps they just want to pop in for a chat?’ Suggests S, half-heatedly. She knows it’s unlikely. If people want camaraderie and a sympathetic ear it’s the pub before the property man, or failing that a phone call to the Samaritans.
Now sales trainers - the folk who can tell but not sell - will have you mining that invisible seam of repeat business everyone searches for. It can work in lettings, where relationships build, develop and might prosper, but according to recent research the average British homeowner only moves every 21 years. Looking at the Lattimers they haven’t got that long.
They were good clients when they sold with me - please don’t call vendors customers, any more than my office is a shop - but if there is another move in them it will be straight out the door on the undertakers gurney, or a squeeze into a sheltered retirement home. Not much difference square footage-wise, except for the brass handles on the box.
The Lattimers are all smiles as they greet me, so they obviously want something for free. They also remember my name and use it. I’d tell you, but it would mean the end of a beautiful friendship and a contract that would definitely complete.
‘We wanted your advice.’ Gushes Mrs Lattimer with a lipstick-smeared-teeth smile. She looks like a wrinkly velociraptor in drag and compounds my distaste by keeping hold of my outstretched hand and leaning in to plant a slippery smacker on my cheek. Yuck. Not even close family get a kiss on the cheek unless I’ve been drinking heavily, and don’t even start me on those vapid city types who think they are part-Parisian and need to air-kiss on both bloody sides.
With the elderly pair ensconced in my office, somewhere I prefer more and more to avoid, particularly after the intranet server blocked the more entertaining websites, I ask how I can help?
Before they can answer there’s a tap at the door and S appears with a tray and three steaming mugs of something hot and tasty. Take away the decrepit Lattimers and lose the drinks and I’d be happy to accommodate S, but that’s another story…
‘Well we’re in a bit of a dilemma.’ Begins Mr Lattimer, as I think welcome to the club, while still silently cursing S for bringing in unrequested drinks. If this pair are wasting my time I’ll need an asbestos-lined gullet to drink the tea as quickly as I’d like and even then they’d still be sipping and pontificating. The retired have no real concept of time when they’re stealing it from you, yet never stop moaning how quickly it hastens them to the grave. I’ll be different, of course.
‘We’re thinking of an equity release scheme on our house.’ Reveals Mr Lattimer, after unsolicited news of their offspring and an imminent grandchild.
Don’t do it. I yearn to say abruptly, while mentally holding the door for them. But it’s complicated. It’s always complicated.
They explain, as if I’ve never heard it, how they are worried how long they’ll live and if their funds will last and how long they can stay in their home without help and a stairlift. Then they reveal their children are tapping them up for a bank of Mum and Dad handout.
With UK house prices often defying gravity it’s a relatively new way of kids getting cash without waiting for their parents to croak.
What was my advice?
Well you can book a free, no obligation, consultation - if you can find me.
The UK Blog awards nominations are open - link here http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/enter-ukba16 - just saying....