Old folk at lunch

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers' day and swimming pools

I usually go over to Jenny's place on Mothers' day for lunch but today was a bit different. Jenny put on a BBQ using her new BBQ area. And the food was good of course. The twins were there plus Paul and his Suzy and Von had her Simon. Russell was off sick, which some of us attributed to swine flu! Joe, I and Nanna made up the party. I am sure Jenny was pleased to have all 4 of her children present.

Twinny Suzy's pregnancy was much discussed. Dec. 16 is the due date but she already has scans. Fortunately she is not having twins. Being herself a twin, descended from a long line of twins, it was a peril. She is quite a small person so it would have been hard for her if she had twins. I already notice a change in her. She seems more level-headed or something.

Paul expressed great enjoyment of the computer shop memoirs that I put up recently (April 27 below) so I promised him that I would also put up a small account I wrote at the time time when I tried to buy an above-ground swimming pool for my house at Faversham St. -- a pool that Paul remembers favourably and which is where Joe fell in twice when he was a toddler. On both occasions I had my eye glued on Joe so I fished him out within seconds and he came to no harm.

My purchasing expedition:

Most pool shops at the time were located not far from one-another -- on the Southside where a lot of new housing construction was taking place. And being long experienced with shopping in Australia (and hence VERY cynical), I took my Yellow Pages (business directory) with me on my expedition.

I was not bargain-hunting and I was not looking for anything unusual: An ideal customer, one would think. What I wanted was an 18' circular pool (pools still seem to be sized in feet) but the first shop I walked into said that they only stocked the 15' size. I left them to it.

The second pool shop I walked into was staffed by a woman who said her husband was away that day and she could not give me any prices. I left her to it as well.

The third pool shop I walked into had one salesperson there and a queue of about eight people lined up to buy chlorine etc. I figured that it would take around half an hour before I even got to state what I wanted so I left that lot to it as well.

The fourth shop I walked into did sell the size I wanted, served me promptly, had one installed out the back to show me what it looked like and could arrange installation next week. I therefore presented my Bankcard and they were promptly $2,000 richer. $2,000 in those days (about 20 years ago) would be equivalent to around $4,000 now.

But what about those other three shops that had seen the same $2,000 walk in the door and promptly walk out again? When businesses spend millions on advertising to get a customer through the door, what can they possibly have been thinking of to be (apparently) completely unconcerned about a "big ticket" buyer walking in and then promptly walking out again? Why was only one out of four firms able to show basic competence at what they were doing?

I am sorry to say it but I think it's just Australia -- as my computer shop memoirs also tend to show

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