One of my customers who was very memorable was the formidable Mrs Cherry (Not her real name). She ran a hair salon on the outskirts of the town centre. She was a small, smartly dressed rather rotund woman, With vivid make up and orange permed hair. She had much the mannerism of the wonderful Mrs Richards from Fawlty towers, apart from the fact that she wasn’t deaf.
I had dealt with Mrs Cherry on a few occasions so when I saw her car pull up outside the shop I was ready. I calmly trotted up the stairs in the workshop needing to visit the loo, “just watch the shop for a mo boys, call of nature”. I sat on the loo and waited until the shop bell had rang. I sloped back to the workshop to watch the fun on the monitor. Andy, who had gone to serve came back into the workshop carrying her set, a Thorn 8500 which was an old set by then. He looked a bit exhausted, ” Mrs Cherry wants an estimate on this set now!”.
He had at great length and with much deliberation persuaded her to call back later that afternoon. “She couldn’t understand why we couldn’t drop everything and do it now” Andy said. Apparently “Mr Cotton in town would”. Which begs the question why didn’t she go to him? I asked. “Ah he is too expensive since he bought that new van” said Andy.She told you that? Oh yes! Anyway should I have a look at the set? I can’t remember what was wrong but it wasn’t much so we prepared a fairly low estimate and called Mrs Cherry.
One of the hairdressers answered the phone and told me Mrs Cherry was out for the day and wasn’t expected back before closing. I put the set to one side and awaited the return of it’s owner. Later that day she arrived with Mr Cherry, a small thin man with male pattern baldness and small round glasses, he looked at his feet a lot. This time there was no escape for me. She thrust the repair ticket at me. “Is it ready?” “it should be, the young man said you would give my set priority”
I got the card and told Mrs Cherry the price. ” Disgraceful” Opening her purse ” Put it in the car, it’s parked up the road, My husband will show you.” “You don’t want it repaired then, Mrs Cherry?” I enquired. “Yes of course! Why?! Haven’t you done it?” “No, you wanted an estimate first. I did ring the salon..” She whirled round on her husband ” They haven’t done it Charles!” He started to reply “Well you did want an esti..” “Shut up! I’m dealing with this”. She rounded on me, “Right repair it, you will have to deliver it back. I want it back by tonight”
We did as instructed.
A year or two later Mr Cherry called to see us, he wanted a nice new set. He was very smartly (if a little brightly) dressed and he had gained some hair! Not his own, I suspected. The young woman on his arm wasn’t his daughter as I had first assumed, but one of the “girls” who had come to help him choose the new TV. At this point Andy swept through the shop and being mischievous, called out “Hello Mr Cherry! I must say, you are looking very dapper today! How’s Mrs Cherry?” Charles turned around “Thank you ” “Mrs Cherry? ( With a small twitch as if trying to hide a smile) ” I’m afraid she died.”