…it is ‘do as I f%^*&ing tell you’. As offered as a piece of advice by my father on many occasions. As regular blog readers will confirm, my patience has been frequently tested over the years, as a cast list-on a par with that of Ben Hur-of vendors, landlords and purchasers has sought my professional opinion, discarded it in it entirety because they/their mate down the pub/pet hamster knows better and then blamed me for the subsequent cock up.
On Thursday, I received a substantial dose of my own medicine. Having dragged myself to the doctor’s, as I could not walk, let alone do my usual 10k morning jaunt followed by swimming 4 times around the boating lake-naked-ladies 0630, but no flash photography please, it frightens the ducks…I was diagnosed with gout-possibly the worst case ever seen in South Wales. I was given 12 tablets by the doctor and was told to follow the instructions that included going home and very specifically lying down and elevating my foot for the following 48 hours. Fast forward to Saturday where in the intervening time I had blatantly ignored medical advice and was now considering amputation as a viable option to dull the pain. Having dialed the out of hours helpline and told the very attentive person at the other end of my tale of perilous privation and agony, I was politely asked whether I had followed the doctor’s advised treatment programme and had kept my foot elevated. Er…. that would be a no. I was then not quite so politely asked what I had expected to happen if I chose not to follow the professional’s-whose opinion I had sought-advice. You got me there. For those of my fan club rearranging their plans to man a mercy mission rota at Cheshire Towers, you may stand down, as having done what I was originally supposed to do, the pain has eased and I may make it through the weekend.
The relevance to estate agency? Well not just to estate agency, but to any profession where the advice and guidance is sought of those who have chosen to be an adherent of the said profession. And then, as I did with the professional recommendation of the doctor, discarded and ignored. Prior to my own personal installment of Emergency Ward 10 (Question for the pub bores amongst you: What was the name of the fictional hospital where the series was set? Correct answers get the prize of toweling me down after my morning aquatics), I had the novel experience of a vendor telling me that she wanted, “accurate and subjective feedback from viewings”. Okey dokey I thought, there’s going to be trouble at t’mill. And there was. The viewers thought that, ‘the kitchen was very dated’, ‘the separate bathroom and loo were very 1950’s’ (the period in which the house was built and such design features were in fashion), ‘plenty of potential’, ‘great rear garden’ and finally, ‘not worth the money’. As requested, I dutifully reported these back verbatim. Two days later I received a rather emotionally wrought email from the vendor, accusing me of many things, including being disrespectful to the memory of her late mother who had been very happy in the property since she moved there in 1958 (see earlier points referring to the kitchen decor and bathroom arrangements). The real zinger was that I needed to change my attitude…. Having read and reread the email whilst taking deep breaths and thinking happy thoughts (Svetlana and a friend in a jacuzzi with a bottle of Dom Perignon usually does the trick), I manfully picked up the telephone to call the lady with the intention of having a suitably frank discussion along the theme of WTF? Dear Readers, Svetlana and Tatiana did their thing and GC didn’t make a complete idiot of himself; as one would hope of someone who has been a professional in the property world since the time when there were only 4 TV channels. I acquiesced to the vendor that she was right and could we start again? The customer is always right, even if they are spectacularly and breathtakingly wrong. They aren’t. The vendor then offered her apologies and said that when she first had the house valued, her mother had only recently passed away and that maybe she was not in the best place emotionally to hear some seemingly harsh truths and was not ready to accept professional advice and opinion. Myself, on the other hand had no such excuse when treating the doctor and his advice and opinion with a disregard befitting a teenager; because teenagers know everything don’t they? A life lesson for us all this week and let me tell you, gout is more painful than having your nether regions waxed. Bet you didn’t think that I would be able to make the comparison did you? Budgie smugglers are unforgiving, particularly if a bit of pond weed ends up where it wasn’t intended….