No two days are ever the same when you stand behind the counter of a bike shop . Some day’s are filled with tales of the previous weekends epic feats whilst customers admire the latest offering from BMC , Pinarello or Kuota , other days are more general with kids picking out their Santa bikes and pensioners getting punctures repaired . Last Thursday was no exception to the rule .
It began at 9.30 am just like any other morning . The first customer into the shop was in search of a box of powerbar energy gels . These are a huge seller at present with many runners coming in to get stocked up for the marathon .
Next up was the sales rep. from Centro . Declan is nice and laid back and none too pushy , unlike some who seem to have special duracell sell sell batteries inserted somewhere on their person , and are always trying to get you to buy everything they have before it’s all gone by 4 pm this evening . Declan’s type of pitch works much better with us .
Then the door chime went again and a pensioner with a sprightly step in her feet made her way up to the counter . We exchanged pleasantries about the weather etc. and she handed me the top of a cigarette packet with 26 x 1 3/8 written thereon and said that she was told to get two of them . Then came the usual Columbo part ;
ME : ‘ Is it tubes or tyres that you need ? ‘
CUSTOMER : ‘ Oh sure I dunno , he just told me to get two of ’em ! ‘
M : ‘Tis probably just tubes so , because you could get the tubes without needing new tyres but on a 26 x 1 3/8 bike which is probably a few ( at least 30 ) years old you would more than likely need new tubes as well if you were fitting new tyres . Sure if they aren’t what he wants you can drop them back in and we’ll take them back of off you ‘
C : ‘ That’s grand so , we’ll do that ‘
Now this is where the transaction went off on a tangent partly caused by my efforts to be help full . The following part of the story has all of the names changed for reasons which will become obvious .
C : ‘ Tell me this now , do you know many of the meter men around the town ? ‘
M : ‘ Aahh I can’t say that I do , off the top of my head ‘
C : ‘ Do you reckon they’d talk ? ‘
M : ‘ Talk , in what kind of way ? ‘
C : ‘ Well you know like , If you told them something , do you reckon they’d go around telling everyone they meet ? ‘
M : ‘ Ahm , I wouldn’t say they would . No I’d say that they’d be fairly discreet ‘
C : ‘ You see , what happened was that Bridie Moloughney came running into my place yesterday morning with her arms flapping telling me that Nancy Slattery was after dieing . Now sure I was in shock , I knew she wasn’t well but I didn’t think she was that bad . Bridie was all in a fluster and took of out again before I could get the details off of her . And didn’t the lad that reads the meter come in about five minutes after and sure I was telling him about poor Nancy and he was thanking me for telling him and that he was going to check their meter aswell but that now he’d leave it ’till the next time . ‘
M : ‘ Oh right ‘
C : ‘But that’s not the best of it at all . I called into Peggy Dunleavy after that to know if she knew any more about poor Nancy and she gave me the shock of my life when she told me that as far as she knew Nancy was fine . We gave a ring just to be sure and didn’t Nancy herself answer the phone . We didn’t know what to say so Peggy just asked her if she knew what time the parish council meeting was on , on Friday night . And that was that .
‘You see what was after happening was that Mary O’Mahoney was passing my place the evening before and she spotted Nancy’s husband Gussie’s car outside with the engine running and the door open . He’d only popped in for a second to give the chainsaw back to Tommy but Mary went into overdrive and thought that something was after happening to Nancy . So she rang Joan Murphy who is always a bit too quick off the mark and by the time Joan met Bridie this morning she had herself convinced Nancy was dead and she told Bridie who came running in to me .’
M : ‘ ’tis amazing the way people get their wires crossed ‘
C : ’tis , but what I’m worried about is that the meter man will be after going around telling everybody and then when he finds out the truth will he think I was trying to pull a fast one in not getting him to read Nancy’s meter so she wouldn’t get a big bill .’
M : ‘Ah sure I’d say that you’ll be safe enough . I wouldn’t think that they’d be ones for running with stories and sure anyone can make a mistake ‘
C : ‘ Oh , I hope you’re right . I didn’t sleep a wink last night I was so worried about it . But wait until I ask you seeing that I’m here , do you sell Marigold gloves by any chance ?
M : ‘ We don’t , unfortunately ‘
C : ‘No bother , I just thought that you might have been able to save me a trip over the town , bye now !’
M : ‘Bye , thanks very much ‘
I think that there is much to be learned from that ladies’ experience ,
1 – Be careful what you tell the meter man , and
2 – Bike shops don’t sell marigold gloves .