The Lure of the Dark skinned Utility Salesman.
I have done it again. There were clear warning signs more than a week ago. Helvi had a visit from a dark skinned young boy, doe eyed and very friendly. It was a plea for us to save money (again) on our gas and electricity bills. Only last year we did heed a similar request from similarly dark skinned and friendly door to door salesmen with name tags, urging us to save money by changing our gas and electricity supplier. He too took his shoes off before getting past the front door taking out the paperwork for us to sign and save money. Five % reduction in both utilities he enthused then.
Not to be deterred by Helvi’s tactic in saying the boss wasn’t home, he returned yesterday afternoon during a rain squall. He put his AGL umbrella to rest outside and that should have sounded alarm bells. As you get older all those kinds of signals become somewhat a mute point as the afternoon weariness sets in, and the beckoning of a glass of red becomes more urgent. I had deviated from red into a crispy white instead (it was hot) when he knocked on our door. I had just taken that first vital sip. It is not to be interfered with, ever. Besides that, the change from smoke to liquid is so much healthier.
Before the sip and the knock on the door I had peeled the potatoes and sliced the onion. Not just that, but also ‘infused’ the sliced potatoes with olive oil, turmeric, salt, cloves of clove and some chilli. Has anyone noticed that the word ‘infusion’ together with food has taken the culinary world by storm, not unlike the words ‘and stuff like that’? The bouquet of spices filled the room and had certainly reached the front door, which after having opened to the dark skinned utility salesman must have been like a welcoming dream come true. Sri- Lankan heartstrings were being pulled all over again. Only the bonus of a signed customer would make the day even better.
The logic of changing the ‘utility’ once again was made overwhelming, the discount would be a mouth-watering 10% AND the pension discount on electricity would be maintained. ‘Not only that’, he said,” Energy Australia is now an ASIAN company”, hoping for a shift of loyalty to AGL by us, delightfully ironic when considering the background of both us and the Sri-Lankan salesman!
He pronounced Bowral ‘Booral’, indicating he wasn’t a local. Where did he come from? Did he travel all the way from Sydney? He too had not only taken his shoes off but socks as well. He spoke well and with conviction. The only spanner was that perusing our original contract with Energy Australia (Asian Company) was that little item of a penalty if the contract was terminated within 2 years. He glossed over it and calculated that the extra 5% discount on both gas and electricity by AGL (The Australian Company, he re-enforced once again) would be re-couped very quickly.
Anyway, we relented and signed a new contract after a few moments of reflection on Sri Lanka and Tamil Tigers. Was he a refugee? He makes a living going door to door selling Utilities and his bonus would evaporate if we remained sullenly opposed to the extra discount. Besides that, we wanted to continue sipping our clean skin crispy white. Helvi offered him an umbrella on his way not knowing he had his own from AGL, “The Australian Company.”
It had been a good day.