Archive for December, 2010
I wasn’t supposed to be working today. I was on my Christmas Holidays – which I am pleased to say, I decreed myself.
I do remember, when I worked in the corporate world, that if you wanted all of Christmas off, you had to take your summer holiday in April.
Anyway there I was, pottering in that no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year when a delivery man rang at the door.
We get a lot of deliveries. In fact, the more online shopping we do, the more deliveries we get. I applied my signature to the screen of some sort of electronic brick and accepted in exchange a package that felt like more children’s clothes – and then I asked, as I always do: “Have I given you one of my little pigs?”
I have to ask this because sometimes the same delivery man comes time after time and I’d hate to think I was becoming boring…. but no, I had never given this particular delivery man a little pink pig.
So I did.
The pig – for new readers – is a business card shaped like a pig which shows people how they can have more time, more money or possibly both.
“It’s about money,” I said as I handed it over.
And then, as he looked at it: “Are you interested in money?”
And this is what he said: “I am now. I’m out of work in two days’ time.”
“Ah well,” I replied (unaware that I seemed to have gone back to work) “This might suit you very well. I’ve been doing it nearly six years and for some time now it’s been my major source of income. It’s better than anything I’ve ever done – and believe me, I’ve done them all!”
“I’ve done a few things myself,” he said, ruefully.
“Really – and were you working for yourself or for other people.”
“Always other people,” he admitted.
“So they paid you for the time you spent working…” I observed with a significant pause – and then went on casually: “I used to do that. But now every time I do a bit of work, I get paid over and over again, every month forever – even when I’m not working. It’s fabulous. I wish I’d discovered it sooner.”
So the upshot is that he’s looking and I’m calling him on Friday evening.
Now, I might have been able to brush this bit of work under the carpet and slip straight back into holiday mode – had it not been for the phone ringing as soon as I got back into the house.
The voice had a heavy accent and was calling to ask whether I or any other person in the household had been the victim of an accident over the past year.
Now, normally I listen politely, give all the right answers and then ask them if they’d like what I have to offer. But this time I was on holiday so it went like this: Cutting him off in mid flow, I said: “May I ask a question? Which country are you calling from?”
He said he was calling from the UK.
“Ah, that’s great because I’m always on the lookout for people who work in UK call centres who would like more time, more money or possibly both. Tell me, does that describe you?”
He didn’t seem to understand. There was nothing in his script to cover this. So I said again: “Would you be interested in having more time, more money or possibly both?”
There was a further pause and then he replie: “Well yes, I would… Definitely I would.”
“OK, then, I need to send you an email. What’s your private email address? And your mobile number? Right, I’ll send you an email right now. Meanwhile would you write down my name and number: John Passmore 01394 385174 and my website address www.johnpassmore.co.uk. Now, you have a look at that tonight and I’ll call you tomorrow. What time would be good for you? Morning of afternoon?”
It was only afterwards that I realised I had condemned myself to working tomorrow as well…
But on the other hand, what’s a ten minute phone call out of another day of pottering?
The old bus stands in a field beside the Westbound carriageway of the A12 just before the Foxall roundabout. I’ve driven past it a thousand times. I’ve never stopped.
How differently life might have turned out if I had.
The circumstances which led me there today are too mundane to think about – a door handle, taking something back to the gym: This stuff doesn’t matter – but it did all put me on the A12 going west at lunchtime.
And at that moment the Bus Cafe hove into view.
It’s an unusual experience: You park in a lay-by and go down some steps into the field and then step up into the bus as if you were on a pensioners’ outing. There is a doormat at the top by the driver’s cubicle – and then a concertina door… and a different world.
With tables for two down one side and tables for four down the other, a kitchen at the end and a Calor heater to make the whole place cosy, it was a revelation.
Also, contrary to the impression that might be gained from a name as unprepossessing as “The Bus Cafe” it was all scrupulously clean.
This led to a conversation with the young man plying the spatula – which progressed to me into asking if he wanted to win a Mini or £10,000 and filling in the form.
Next, he looked at the piggy card and picked his “number one priority”.
By the time my lunch was ready, we were half way through a Martini presentation.
When I had finished the half-day breakfast, we carried on where we’d left off and I collected the number for his first distributor.
I’ve just called this guy. He turns out to be a gardener (aka entrepreneur) who liked the sound of what I had to offer. He’s now checking out the website while I ring his three friends. It will be interesting to see how far this string stretches.
And all because of a change of plan…