Shots in the Dark

Americk Sidhu regales us with his experience in selling his house and draws attention to the similarity in quality and direction of the services provided with that of the local tourism industry in his usual inimitable style. This unfortunately shall be his last piece for us in a while because Americk will be retiring to Australia where he intends to work with the aboriginals and look for further inspiration for his masterful pen.

All the best Americk, you will definitely be missed both at the Bar and in person, and we shall be looking out for your writing!

Imagine a school of hungry pelagic fish swimming around a reef looking for the only ikan bilis available for dinner. Yes, be prepared for the fight for… the Commission. Now that your property has been placed on the bargain hunters’ tourist map of “places to see with no entrance charges”, produced by those estate agents who unfortunately have your details, be prepared to spend the next few months as an unsuspecting in house tourist guide.

Bus loads of weekend window shoppers and their groupies will descend on you incessantly. These people are professionals. They know all about free entertainment and relish the thought of an outing with their families to your humble abode with a free ride being provided by a chauffeur in the guise of an estate agent. This is the only way they will ever be able to gain access into your gated community or to your up market, security enhanced, penthouse.

You will greet this motley crew at your front door with a permanent but not so genuine smile painted across your lower jaw and you will dutifully welcome them into your little Disneyworld. They will all, including the gaggle of kids in tow, habitually remove their shoes at your front door, creating an obstacle course for any late arrivals or premature departures. They will then proceed to wander around your perfectly presented home, of which you are proud, with looks of serious appraisal on their faces. The kids will delight in running around the rooms playing hide and seek or they will make themselves at home in front of the TV, or both, and will inevitably need to use the washroom.

You will then be inundated with unsolicited suggestions as to how your little fiefdom could be improved. These pearls of wisdom range from the removal of high tension cables situated 5 kilometers away in the distance to the way the sun rises and sets over it. After politely explaining to the leader of and spokesman for, the group, that you are really in no position to rectify these ‘defects’ because you are neither the Chairman of the Electricity Board nor God, these tourists and their entourages will then depart with smug looks on their faces thinking they have you at their mercy.

Whilst all this is going on, the porter, I mean the estate agent, will be slinking around in the background being extremely reticent and looking out of place. This is because he, or she, would never have seen your property before, either, and therefore would not know anything about it. The only contribution you are to expect from this self appointed agent of yours is an observation, at the end of the visitation, that your piece of paradise is very nice.

Your estate agent will then promptly escort this critical mass (mass of critics), to the next site in pursuance of their weekend agenda. This is when you begin to have serious doubts as to whether your duly self appointed estate agent really has your best interests at heart because he is now taking your potential customer to the opposition. There is this nagging feeling at the back of your mind and you can’t quite pinpoint it. A dark cloud of potential realization hovers around your inner senses. You know something is not quite right but you can’t put your finger on it. It takes time, and many more similar weekend visits, for the penny to drop, and when it finally does, you will no doubt feel like a nincompoop.

The phrase ‘a shot in the dark’ will begin to take on a new meaning. You will now fully comprehend the workings of the industry involved in selling and renting property. It is nothing more than badly camouflaged retail tourism designed for weekend window shoppers, involving tour guides and lots of shops. And if a tourist just happens to spot something nice and makes a purchase, bingo, everyone benefits, except of course the proprietors of all those retail outlets which were visited but from which no purchases were made.

The question here is really this. Would that tourist have made that purchase in the absence of the tourist guide? If the answer is in the affirmative, then the existence of that tourist guide in the overall equation becomes questionable.

So my interpretation of the entire situation is that an estate agent basically does the reading of the classifieds and translates all relevant data into a free travel guide for use by anyone so inclined and pockets an eventual and inevitable commission without having to sell or do anything except provide an escort service.

This has led me to believe that the professions of an express bus driver and an estate agent are mutually associated in their basic concepts. They are both compelled to spend their existences ushering commissionable fodder from one destination to another. The only difference is that the express driver is a sniper who hits his target every time whilst the estate agent is a machine gunner who fires continuously until something is eventually hit.

But what the heck, they are both making honest livings I guess. It could have been much worse. They could have opted to become politicians.


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Posted on 4 June 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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