The deal that's a steal

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The Independent Online
The wretched tedium which is life in the snug bar of the Fount of All Knowledge has been transformed by a new customer. He has only been with us a couple of weeks so has not yet earned the title "regular" but we have high hopes for Milos Slipalotodosh who comes from somewhere called Hernia. It was apparently once part of the country formerly known as Prinz which none of us had heard of. Given that none of us had heard of anywhere not listed in the Club 18-30 atlas this is perhaps not surprising.

Milos announced himself as a "home security consultant" which gained him automatic entry into our charmed circle of property enthusiasts.

"What is a home security consultant?" asked Emma, Pedro's partner.

"My life is to make the people's life safe," Milos replied enigmatically.

"You sell burglar alarms then," I stated somewhat cynically.

"I sell the people the peace of mind," Milos responded.

"And burglar alarms," I said.

"Well yes and of course the windows," Milos added.

"You double as a double glazing salesman?" Pedro interjected incredulously.

"What is this double glazing? I deal only in reinforced visual satisfaction," Milos protested.

Our suspicions were rapidly eased by the sight of Milos' bulging wallet. We bear no grudge and show no prejudice to anyone who is prepared to settle the bar bill.

After a few strong lagers Milos began to loosen up a little and shared with us some of the secrets of his work. It transpires that he is eminently qualified to be a home security consultant since in Hernia he was a fully qualified burglar. By rights he should now be in the local chokey the van taking him to prison was hijacked by tobacco smugglers who transported him via Belgium to Britain.

"I give thanks to St Michael and vow to go direct," Milos explained.

"You mean go straight," Pedro corrected.

"No, I go direct to my cousin in Kentish Town."

His cousin is founder and owner of Acne Alarms. It should have been Acme but good signwriters do not come cheap.

Anyway, Milos is now regional director (London and the Southeast) for said company. He is also the entire workforce but that is of no concern to those using Milos's services.

And a jolly popular service too it transpires. Milos has an uncanny habit of presenting his credentials at the exact moment the householders are reviewing their security arrangements.

This is no coincidence. Just before he makes a visit Milos dons the old stripey sweater and black mask and reverts to type. A judicious forced entry here and a little breaking and entering there and Milos has grabbed his customer's attention.

Nothing is ever stolen mind you and the lucky homeowners are too busy counting their blessings to count the cost of the agreement they sign with Milos.

We are all enthralled by Milos's tales but have sunk too many halves of best bitter to have anything but admiration for his enterprise.

The only complaint, naturally, comes from Emma who certainly earns her "grumpy spice" nickname.

"Why is it?" she asks, "that everyone associated with property has a job title that bears no relation to what they do."

It is a good point. Estate agents are actually property sellers. The only estates they come across are those of the exclusive executive home variety. Building societies are money lenders. Chartered surveyors are ... well no one knows what they are and solicitors are people licensed to print money.

In comparison, Milos's description as a home security consultant is unnervingly appropriate. I wish the same could be said about his burglar alarms.

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