LUCKY IN LOVE – UNLUCKY BEHIND THE WHEEL
Come back forty years with me dear reader and a bushy-tailed eager lad at the second start to his sales career. My first stab at sales on the road was a gem. A successful interview the year before saw me land a plum position with a precious metals company. It was a unique job in those days because I had no monthly targets, only had to do one call a day on average, (based on three days a week), and I had effectively, an open expense account.
My boss was mainly office bound with a few helpers, one of whom was a senior cockney lad, (Adrian), wise in the ways of the world, unlike yours truly. With a brand new Escort under my ass and a flat in Rathmines, I thought I was the bees-knees. The office liked to socialize together and the boss in particular was a great believer in the motto, "If a fellow can't down eight pints of stout at lunchtime and do his job in the afternoon, he's not fit to be on the team. Changed times indeed then.
Anyway, within a few short months, that same boss took me aside quietly to tell me that Adrian was a solid performer and what he wanted me to do was to loan him the car from time to time as a sort of perk for him. I enquired of course about insurance for Adrian but this was dismissed with a warning glare. So I said no more and soon afterwards the aforementioned Adrian dropped around to my place one Wednesday evening to borrow the white Escort for a date he had in North Dublin. At 3.30am the next morning though, he was hammering on my door. To put it succinctly, there was not a single panel on the car that wasn't stoved in some way. How he'd limped across town in the wreck was a mystery. No other car was involved but lampposts and various walls had a say in the damage.
He was balled out of it by the red-faced boss that same morning before I was approached by the man with an insurance accident report form in his hand. All very well now to say I should have told him to fuck off but I was assured that it was all going to be fine. All I had to do was write out Adrian's account of the accident and sign my own name to it as if I had been behind the wheel. It was posted off to head office that afternoon and I was fired a week later with a week's wages in my pocket.
A few difficult months alone and several interviews later I was once again with a new motor under my ass but with a slightly tougher assignment this time. This job was dog-eat-dog sales bringing a new product to an existing market. Returning from down the country one Friday afternoon through Kildare Town, a big Ford was stopped up ahead and facing me, indicating he wished to cross the road in front of me. With the right of way, I proceeded on when at the last minute, he darted sideways and we met almost nose on. We were blocking main street right outside the cop shop and soon the Sergeant himself stepped out to investigate. But the blind bastard in the other car got out in the Sergeant's uniform of the Irish Army. Wouldn't you know it, the two of them knew each other on first name terms. Monday morning back in the office it was time for another accident report. By week's end our Insurers announced that they were paying out on the incident and I was again, out of a job. Obviously on both occasions I felt very aggrieved but it was a lesson for me to understand that outside of family, very little in life is fair.
Last week, my quote for renewing my motor policy fell in the door and when I looked at the bottom line, I presumed it was a practical joke. Today I rang to do a few rounds with the broker. I did get in a few jabs early on naturally enough but I couldn't get in a knockout somehow. The guy had admirable footwork as he dodged my sarcasm, deflected my angst and generally avoided getting cornered on the ropes. I tried some old tried and tested punches and even some newly learned techniques but I was up against a seasoned pro. After the give and take of it and over twenty minutes on the phone, I caved in and paid the practical joke price.
There are two aspects to this though that you should be aware of. The broker went off script at the end to explain to me that there were nasty bits of work patrolling around Dublin in particular looking to play dodgems with you on the M50. The more vile of their kind can feign whiplash after the merest bump. The pompous Judges are paying out big time in the courts to these animals and our premiums are zooming up as a result. The other aspect though, as per my second admitted accident, is that the Insurance Companies are not contesting much. Even though we pay them handsomely and the actual policy belongs to us, they are the ones to decide whether to fight the claim should it arise. Should you be an unfortunate victim of this organized crime, your premium just shoots up. But now, to compensate the insurance companies for not contesting claims against them, all of our premiums have shot up. How wrong is that? But what gets me though is that insurance is legally compulsory. When the big lads cartel, as they always do, it is 'una voce,' and you can't get a competing quote anywhere. The broker even told me I was lucky to get a seventeen car old car covered in the first place.
But today, I'm an ungrateful bastard, it has to said.