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A choice to make...




It would appear or rather it seems we have ‘choices’ to consider these days whereupon in the not too distant past, we basically had just the one as there were no alternatives available, as in what you saw you got, so to speak.

Recently, I inquired about a specific item I was going/trying to buy but the following situation came about as I was silly enough to ask or dig further into the ‘deal’ as it’s now referred to as opposed to just handing over the loot and then receiving the item.

The object of my desire, okay, the bit of kit I was trying to buy if it makes you rest easier, was x number of pounds plus shrapnel coinage (when will they start minting a 99p coin?) but was in a fitted case as that was how it was advertised and the makers deemed to sell it but sadly this mere viewpoint was lost slightly (conveniently?) on the budding contender for the Salesperson of the Year Award who informed me that the said fitted, designated case was an ‘extra’ as the item came ‘on its own’.

However, my pointing out that the brochure/catalogue that it was featured in said it came complete - note the word ‘complete’ - in a fitted case as an all-in deal, but according to ‘Marvin the Magnificent’ this was not the case, or rather the fitted case being the crux of the matter, but I could buy ‘a’ case in order to put the item in and to which I inquired if he was into crystal ball gazing and if so, what did the future hold for me being silly enough to go along with this/his sales ploy?

The response was stalemate, so I took my wallet and its contents plus loose coinage in the pocket elsewhere but, as I left the shop, he mumbled that he had offered a very good choice and I replied that I had made my choice also hence my departure and they wonder why the on-line shopping ‘experience’ is gathering pace?

Another sort of ‘choice’, if you like, is the number of people these days that use the word ‘journey’ to describe anything from going to the library (assuming you can find one open, etc), running a country, running an errand, a session of bingo or going to the toilet as nowadays it seems everything is labelled as a ‘journey’ - also those who fall over perhaps call this a ‘trip’, which is sort of a cost-cutting ‘journey’ or, then again, they just fell over because they were not looking where they were going.

Combining both ideas of choice and a ‘journey’ brings to mind my mum (of the people for the people), years ago, when the insurance man who used to drop round once every so many weeks to pick her few pounds up for her assorted polices had sent his area manager to see her - okay, to try to sell her even more policies in real terms.

So the scene was set: in the Blue Corner, the defender, who was keen to hang on to her bag of readies, and in the Red Corner, the aggressor, who was keen to relieve her of the same said bag of readies, the area manager for the Deluded Insurance Company - or D I C for short.

It started off by Mr Spencer (whom had been nicknamed Frank based on the Michael Crawford character in the BBC TV sit-com ‘Some Mothers Do Have ’Em) the area insurance manager, telling her that her life insurance policy was ‘okay but there was a new product now out that was better for her but at a small minor cost involvement’ (read as in more money being required, her’s natch) to which mum sort of went into her looking at the ceiling and yes, it was still there on top of the four walls supporting it, and then she did spoke.

She said this was all very nice but pointed out she would only be dying the once, so assorted ‘top-up’ policies were not really her scene or, more to the point, when the inevitable happened, she would be beyond caring anyway.

Ding, ding - end of Round One.

There was an ‘inducement’ on offer - if she did sign up for the latest, new fangled ‘product’, she would get a bedside radio clock alarm (this preceded the Sir Michael Parkinson funeral club of a ‘free pen for just inquiring’ idea) to which mum said she preferred her old wind-up Westclox model she had for years and was easier to throw at the wall if it went off early as opposed to having to get out of bed, unplug the electric model being offered and then throwing it at the wall.

Frank, sorry, Mr Spencer, was quite stunned to hear that, if the look on his face was anything to go by, but pointed out there were other options of course but above all else the company prided itself on offering choices.

It was during this interactive performance that Frank a.k.a Mr Spencer asked if it was possible to use the toilet, to which mum came into her element as she said he could, but did he want to go the easy way or the scenic route? Or these were the ‘choices’ as she put it to him and to say he looked slightly mystified was putting it mildly although from my point of view and hearing he was not alone there on that one either.

She explained that there was a standard, no frills direct route or the ‘scenic route’ being the two options available or rather, choices.

Being curious, he asked how they differed, as she explained that the direct route as in Option One was just that - you went through the door, turn left then up the stairs to the ‘little room’, while Option Two was a matter of going through the kitchen to the back door, open it and through it into the garden to admire the flowers and keep turning right and come eventually to her front door.

On getting to the front door, knock and she would open it and then, once in, turn right and up the stairs to the ‘little room’ and to say we both, Frank and I, sat there looking slightly bewildered would be an understatement, but in my case I should have known better.

Frank a.k.a Mr Spencer then asked if many took the scenic route - as you would - and mum was unsure about the totals to date but then he asked what would happen if she did not answer the door, to which she said she would be expecting him, so not a problem but if he should go too far, Maureen across the road would send him back anyway.

Frank opted for Option One and straight up the stairs he went.

At this point, Dad arrived home just to hear the toilet flushing but as he saw us asked who it was. Mum told him it was ‘just the insurance man’ to which he replied that it had never been considered a risk before to go up there, although he didn’t - either the direct or the scenic route options.

He mumbled he ‘only went for a newspaper’ and the loo becomes a risk. In the meanwhile, just what is happening in the world?

‘Choices’, Mum replied.



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