Who was there? A nice man who explained that he was from some gas safety company or other. He even had a nice little badge. Then he told me that he was here to carry out a ‘gas safety check’ and asked me if we had any other gas fired appliances. I replied that we did not. Then he whipped out a little gas alarm thingy from his briefcase, no box or anything, and was about to ‘install’ it. An operation which basically consisted of plugging the thing into the wall. He even demonstrated it for me. Very kind.
Recognising a district sales patter, I enquired whether I would have to pay for this all this gas alarm goodness. ‘Yes’, he replied breezily. I asked the price. ‘170 Euros’, came the reply, and credit cards, cash and, probably the odd kidney or two, were acceptable forms of payment. Maintenance was included as well, but he did not say if more cash would have to be handed over for some plan or other. Bit steep the price, I thought, and then I effectively said, ‘No thank you.’, but he would not leave until I had called my other half and asked her if she had seen any of the two notices he had supposedly left. She had not.
That was it. Bye, bye Mr Scam man. He looked a bit peeved, but left rather hastily.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
This guy had been plying his wares throughout the condo, but I don’t know whether he had managed to hook anyone, although he implied that he had. After this nice man had moved on, I kept a weather eye out for him and noticed that he had rung one of our neighbours’ door bells. She had not answered, but a little later I noticed through our spy hole that her door was open, so I went to have a go at preventing the little man from conning her. Luckily he was not there. Anyway, I explained what had happened to her and she thanked me for the warning.
A very clever form of high pressure salesmanship, or should that be ‘con’, and it would have been rather difficult to have proved that you had been hoodwinked into buying something that you can buy on the open market for around 50 Euros! I know, I checked.
If you live in Milan, watch out for this ‘approach’, and do not get caught out – single women and older people, beware. Although dressed casually, this guy had quite an official air about him, was over 6 feet tall, around 30, thin and had a pony tail. The sales talk was quite polished, as if he had done some course or other.
Interesting experience, and he almost caught me out. Almost.