Friday, April 10, 2009

Let There Be More Light

The salesman from npower came round again to the doorstep, promising to save us money again. What does he think he's doing?

1. He can't possibly know that he can save us money unless he knows things he shouldn't. So he's a liar or he's invaded our privacy. He hasn't done any research, he doesn't know who's not got gas and he doesn't know who owns their house and who doesn't. He doesn't know anything.

2. All the companies say that. Therefore at least all but one are lying or deluded. Or their salespeople are which is just as bad.

3. He expects you to take his word for it! If you ask for a leaflet or something with information to work it out, he hasn't GOT any, let alone any to give out.

4. Who buys off the doorstep like that? You need time to think about it.

5. He's on commission. OK some people on commission really do have a good product, but you still have to have an element of caution. He doesn't care whether you get the right product or if the price will go up as soon as they've locked you into a contract. His money's made.

6. He's got a rotten job. That's no excuse to go around making stuff up. And what confidence do you have in someone if that's his best shot? He's not interested in providing a service (like putting in a gas pipe).

7. Why isn't the pricing simple so you can understand it? Because then you'd see if you had a good deal or not. The power companies aren't competing on price like supermarkets. They couldn't reliably promise to if they wanted to, because of the speculators and the international situation. The point of privatisation was stated to be that competition would drive prices down and thereby be better for consumers. Balderdash and piffle exposed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Who Do You Think You Are

I'd never seen him like that.

We'd spent a fair bit of time together one way and another up to that point, shared some good times, some bad times, some trying times, but I'd never seen him like that.

He was mostly good with people, patient (too patient), kind, caring (of course, you know that), he made time for people, he listened, he explained - and he forgave of course.

Yes, he got exasperated and he could be forceful, sharp, when he needed to be and he even got a bit cunning on occasion. And he could make his point. I remember after the mountain thing he tore Peter off a right strip - I was never sure exactly why, I think I missed something - but even then he was in complete control of himself.

And sometimes when you thought he'd be right angry he was only a bit sad and disappointed. He was sad sometimes, and tired and frustrated and maybe a bit short but we'd had some laughs too along the way, specially when he told his funny stories. (Some of them weren't so funny when you thought about them, mind.)

And he'd coped with the confrontations and the accusations and the put-downs and the plain lies.

Anyway, this time -

He lost it.

I mean, he really lost it. Completely and utterly. I'd never seen him like that.

It was only a few minutes, but it's stayed with me.

It was near the end and he went into the temple and he saw what was going on and he went berserk.

He was like a wild beast. He went for the nearest table and gave one heave and upended it just like that and all the money went all over the floor and out the door and they were all scrabbling about for it. Someone came up to remonstrate with him and I thought he was going to flatten him but he just pushed him over and carried on, smashing the place up.

We were even going to say something but he turned round and looked at us, just for an instant, that's all, and we froze.

His look stopped us dead. That, and his words - he was roaring, barely coherent - but something about we were all thieves and could we not keep one place holy, just one, and I felt like I was guilty along with all the rest - but I wasn't was I? I'd never seen him like that. And I don't want to see it again, ever, but I can't forget it.

And in a moment the energy went out of him, not surprising, suddenly he realised where he was, I suppose, and he just walked out and we followed him. We gave him a couple of minutes, just in case.

And then we tried to understand.

I got it, I think, eventually.

He could cope, more or less, with the day-to-day stupidity and ignorance and the pettiness and selfishness of us all, yes me too, but the thing that sent him over the top was the deliberateness, the knowingness of it. It was like a defiance.

I think something happened to him from it - it seemed to give him the last bit of determination that maybe he needed that week.

But anyway from that few minutes, I think I learned something I hadn't really worked out before. I understood now about floods and plagues and fires and exiles. I understood that God could get angry.

And I never want to see that again.