WARD’S WORLD: By madcap inventor John Ward
I know it’s possibly me not getting out much these days and I blame the wind damage for that with Hurricane Elsie blowing in from wherever or anything else blameworthy that is all in the media recently plus the ‘furniture sale’ must end on Tuesday as the window signs have just arrived stating there is a sale starting on, well, Thursday.
Coming from an era or at least a time when you wanted something that there was a price stamped on an article you wanted, craved or felt would fill that hole up between the fireplace and that big window, then you saw an assistant and handed over the green folding stuff as in money and if possible you either took it away in the back of your vehicle or strapped to the roof but another option was ‘home delivery’.
It seems that most things, usually large inanimate objects, are constantly subject to ‘sale’ prices and it makes you wonder has anybody ever brought something at the supposed full retail price and if so, what possessed them to do so?
I remember the first bed I brought when getting married and the super duper salesman, as in that silver tongued devil, said that because there was an ‘R’ or whatever in that month, we also got a ‘free’ alarm clock but not just any old alarm clock but it was available in two exciting (?) colours, was planet-friendly as you wound it up with a little key arrangement on the back and therefore did not require any fossil fuel or like-wise non-sustainable forest being chopped down to do this act and so knowing this, we could sleep easy in our bed, until the alarm clock went off of course...
Delivery of said bed was an event as it did arrive on the day and time requested unlike today where you set your calendar and clutch a ‘lucky rabbit’s foot’ and hoped for the best but if you ring ‘customer services’ to find out where your delivery has got to nowadays, you then begin to wonder if this earth, planet thing we live on could be flat after all as it must be claiming assorted delivery drivers as they are driving off the edge of it, leaving no forwarding address.
Ah yes – the delivery of the above bed plus alarm clock ‘available in two colours’, not that it matters as it worked in the dark part of the day mostly when nobody’s about to scrutinise the colour scheme too much and before you wonder, I ‘selected’ one in colour cream and so I got a blue one sent – close, quite close but as I pointed out, we would only be using it during the dark bit of the night, so no real problem.
The multi-tasking deliverance executive-consultant or the van driver as he was then, rang the door bell and I answered it by opening the front door to him.
He was, shall we say ‘getting on a bit’, and looked as if he fought at the battle of Hasting in 1066 but only survived this long as he had been complaining about the potholes in the roads and when would they be fixed sort of thing.
He stood there clutching a sheet of paper and he asked “Was I number 20?” and I said no, Ward and spelt the traditional way as in a W at the front end and a D on the other end.
Once this minor intellectual hurdle was passed, he than asked where did I want it?
I replied that in the house would be a delightful idea as opposed to it going ‘al fresco’ and he then asked my name again and then looked at the name on his paperwork and he said it was to be delivered to a Mr Ward and no mention of a Mr Al Fresco.
Apart from being a tax payer, I asked him if he had ever worked for the government at anytime, possibly in administration, and his reply was a classic as he replied: “Nar – I only do 40 hours for this firm, mate – no overtime you know, and so I don’t really have the time to do ‘anything on the side’ for anybody else and to be honest I am fair ‘cream-crackered’ after moving all this furniture abart all day.”
Well, that told me then.
He then asked ‘If it would have to come through the door?’ and I said I preferred it through the door frame, based on other furniture deliveries we had already received.
He sighed, folded the delivery paperwork and put it in his overall pocket then walked back to the van, banged the side and a bedraggled youth strode round, whom I assume was in the front of the van during this recent cultural interchange, and asked: “Is this it den?”.
I replied if he meant was this the place to deliver the bed, with non-matching alarm clock in a close shade of cream called blue. “Yes”.
I asked Den if they would like a cup of tea and he said his name was Stan not Den and the bedraggled one was Del as in Derek, so quite close.
He said they wouldn’t at this time and Stan then undid the roller shutter and it rattled all the way up and there was our bed, but not just any bed but one with special offer de-luxe alarm clock slung in.
Together then, Stan and Del, the saviours of the furniture removal business, manoeuvred the bed from the back of the van, and into the front hallway from through the door frame as was my request. Del the ‘assistant’ said it was easy-peasy although Stan said: “It has nearly done my back in, mate.”
He then went to Stage Two.
He explained that they were only allowed to deliver items into the address and not a part of it as in, say perhaps, as I cut in and said “upstairs maybe?” and he said yes, with Del breaking into a smile and then explained that at ‘some addresses’ it had been known for ‘well meaning customers’ to offer a five pound note as a form of possible inducement to move heavy, awkward items of furniture up the stairs of said homes and I replied that he need not worry on that score as we were out of fresh five pound notes anyway until the next delivery.
Faced with this response, there was a bit of synchronised jaw dropping in the Freestyle Deflated Doubles section (as yet not an Olympic recognized sport) and followed by:
“Ha well! – we have got this far, we might as well take it upstairs for yer, mate”.
They did their ‘shift n squeeze’ routine up the stairs and I put the kettle on and made a pot of tea. Once back down, they drunk it down with barely a splash heard and as they were going, I asked if they wanted anything signing and was this everything?
Stan then disappeared and came back with a small cardboard box –my free alarm clock, in blue.