Just remembered a funny thing that happened a few years ago. My old mum fell down a couple of steps and received a spiral fracture of here femur. Nasty break. She was laid up in a lovely cottage hospital in Edenbridge. Poor old darling was in a bit of a state with scaffolding protruding from her thigh.
But she came out the other end fairly well. Though she now tended to shuffle around rather walk. Though mobile on the flat, stairs were a problem.
After much discussion a stair lift was agreed upon. Not too many of stair lift companies around when you begin to search. Nonetheless I whittled the number down to three all of whom I met with to look at their products, prices and maintenance offers.
We ended up plumping for a particular company who in time came along took various measurements of the staircase and a few of my mum. Weeks later and my mum chugging her way up and down the stairs on a state of the art chairlift.
Good deed done, I thought that would be that. No. Over the next couple of years I continued to receive emails and unsolicited telephone calls to my mobile from the two unsuccessful stair lift companies wondering if I’d come to a decision about a lift; and would I like to view a catalogue of their new improved range.
Politely, to begin with, I’d thank them saying ‘no thanks’ and can you take me off your contact list. One of the companies did this, but the other one continued trying to sell me a bloody stairlift. After possibly the umpteenth time of ‘hello sir, we have you on record as being interested…’ I gave in. It was a total capitulation; they had won; and I’d invited one of their sales reps over to my flat to discuss the advantages and merits of owning a stairlift that defined the cutting edge of mechanical stair elevation.
On the appointed day said rep turned up to chez Seán and was admitted by my PA. Being of a hospitable disposition I invited the salesman to take a seat and to share in a cafetiere of freshly made Arabica. Chewing the fat for a few minutes I discovered it was quite chilly out; but not yet chilly enough for a heavy coat; and that the word amongst aficionados of things climatic we were in for a parky winter.
“OK Mr McGovern. May I take a look around?” queried the rep. Who by now wanted to get down to the business of the visit, namely flogging me a stairlift.
“Fine, where would you like to start?” I responded eager to get the business out of the way and this geezer out of my drum.
“How about the stair case. Always a good place to look at especially in my line of work,” chortled the wag.
“Stair case? What stair case?” said I, with enough puzzlement in my voice to force him to say, rather brusquely, “Yes, staircase!” You made an appointment for me to come around today with a view to you purchasing one of our products!” he spat out.
“May I?” he asked walking into the hallway. On opening all five doors in the passage (three of which were cupboards) the realisation that I lived in a single-floor flat hit him in the kisser.
“Are you taking the piss?” he wondered. “Why did you invite me to a flat without a stair case? Me a bloody staircase salesman?”
“Well mush” I replied. “Your company has phoned me 27 timers over the past year pestering me to buy one of their machines. I’ve told them. I don’t want one. I’ve explained I don’t need one. I’ve even confessed to not owning a fucking staircase. And finally I’ve asked them politely on twenty occasions to take me off their hit list. But no. They totally blanked my requests and so I thought. Fuck it. If they want to send a rep around that badly who the fuck am I to deny them this simple desire. So, there’s your fucking light autumn coat; now get the fuck out of my flat and tell your company to stop fucking hounding me!”
He left. I never did see him again. Not even to tell him his forecast was way off target as we ended up having one of the mildest winters on record. Sadly I still get the odd call from the stairlift company. I still say I don’t need one. That I don’t have a staircase, this despite moving home. So as I’m taken up an interest in climatic affairs myself in recent years I may make another appointment t chat with a stairlift rep and swap weather forecast anecdotes.