John Ray was an English naturalist. He was the first person to define what we mean by ‘species’. He was also a collector of English sayings and was the first to catalogue the term ‘Muck and money go together’. If you’re from Yorkshire you’d probably say ‘Where there’s muck, there’s brass’.
Ten years ago, when you wanted to scrap your car, there would be paper work, strife and you’d have to pay them to take it away from your very own home (House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us…).
Things have changed, though. The world at large is busy building and where there’s my 140,000 mile, broken and SORNed Audi 80, there’s steel. Two small problems:
First: I’ve lost the key. The replacement I bought from Audi (matched to the chassis number) didn’t fit. Draw your own conclusions, but it’s a pain, either way.
Second: I’d had to break into the poor thing to draw my things (lighter, sunny’s, map’s, colouring book – for the kid, you understand) from its interior.
It was a dreary day when I asked the great Google to find me someone who scrapped cars in Cheltenham. The first two sponsored results were chosen and in that smooth smart phone way I went straight from their website to speaking to them, only it wasn’t as smooth as you’d hope. I’m terrible with names. Even company names trip me, but in this age of shopping you expect someone to answer with a pre-prepared line introducing themselves and the company. Erm, not always:
Unknown Man: ‘Hullo’
Me: ‘Erm, hullo?’
Me: ‘Is that the scrap yard place?’ (This is awkward, can’t fall back on looking at the screen/page while on the phone…)
Me: ‘Is this the place that scraps cars in Cheltenham?’
UM: ‘What you got?’ (Straight to the point, but what the Simon Cowell, there isn’t enough of that. Take this article, for example)
Me: ‘It’s an Audi 80 Avant.’
UM: ‘What year?’
Me: ‘‘94, I believe. I’d have to check, but I’m pretty sure it’s a ’94.’
UM: (Seems to be talking to someone else, maybe arguing. Bit of shouting in the background) ‘That’s one-eighty.’
Me: ‘Okay, sounds good.’
UM: ‘You ‘appy with that?’
Me: ‘I’m happy. There are a couple of problems, though. I’ve lost the key and one of the windows is broken where I’ve had to break in.’
UM: (More shouting at someone, that someone shouts back, then things go quiet. The other person says something, then there is a rustling, probably as the phone is passed over)
Me: (Pulls face)
Different UM: ‘Don’t want it, mate.’
Line goes dead.
Me: Hullo, hullo?
Success! I’ve got no money and no car and the first person I speak to gives me the ol’ eff off.
Back to Google, try the first unsponsored result, removemycar.co.uk.
I’m put on hold. I start to feel a little nervous (what if can’t get rid of the poor thing and the Cheltonian society of Upper-class Nazi Tweed wearerS –TM- mounts a campaign against me for lowering the value of their precious property?).
Man answers: ‘Hullo, Remove My Car, how can I help?’
Okay, now we’re talking. I explain the make and model, explain the problems, we agree a price. Nice guy as well, tells me all about the ‘sponsored results’. If you’re working for Watchdog or Rogue Traders, I’d suggest you go hunting these little buggers. You’d probably get enough to string a couple of episodes together.
Anyways, a couple of hours go by and I receive a phone call. It’s Remove My Car’s man with a tow-van. We arrange a time for him to pick it up. He turns up. He breaks the steering lock, steers it into place and loads my sad looking tyred armchair onto his Iveco. We talk cars for a little bit and I like him. He gives me the money and we shake. Top banana. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
So that’s all the paper work sorted, some of the Queens own papers in my hand and still time to enjoy a cup of coffee before work.