I hate mending vacuum cleaners.

A Man Comes In Our Shop.


My wife Ann and I had a little shop in Windlesham, Surrey, a domestic appliance sales and service shop.

For some reason, which I will not bother you with now, that although the shop is in Windlesham, our shop had the grand title of ‘Woking Domestic Appliances’.

Woking was eight miles away.

Being in a little village, it was sometimes very quiet, passing trade consisted of rather posh ladies driving past our shop in their Range Rovers to ‘Waitrose’ in Sunningdale.

However, sometimes we had a rush of as much as five or six people in one week.


Then, when it was quiet, Ann would read the ‘Guardian’ from cover to cover and we would do the quick crossword; or try to.

It has always been a wonder to me how we survived, but we did, just.

Then, suddenly, one day, a car drew up outside our shop, my heart missed a beat, could this be someone coming in to our shop to buy something, or more likely to ask the way to ‘Waitrose’.

Incredibly, a young professional looking man, pulled a Hoover from the boot of his car, and struggled into our shop as if it weighed a ton.

Here was a person not used to the way a Hoover seemed to resist being carried.

As we watched him struggle through the door, I looked at Ann and she gave me the nod.


Here, I should explain the reason for the nod, a village shop, especially a village Hoover shop, can be exceedingly boring, we had to make the most of any poor man unfortunate enough to catch us on such a day— plus I don’t like working on dirty old cleaners.

He plonked the Hoover on the bench and said.

“Could you look at my wife’s cleaner”.

It always seems to be the wife’s cleaner, he is obviously above pushing a Hoover about the house, after all he is a man.

Ann’s nod was a signal for us to play our favourite game, the misunderstanding game we called it.

It goes something like this;

“Of course sir, I can look at your Hoover, let me see now, it’s a very fine example of a Hoover 625, tell a lie, it’s a 625a, a 625a has a dirt finder lamp, this is a wonderful new idea— it makes me wonder what they will think of next— I can see it has  the latest outer bag which allows the air through but keeps the dust in, and as for the mains lead it is perfectly coiled without a hint of a kink”.

“All in all, a very fine example of a Hoover 625a, I am so glad you brought it into our shop for me to have a look at”.

“While you are here sir is there anything else I can do for you, a nice toaster or a new iron for your lady wife, perhaps”


The young man just stood and looked at me for quite a few moments, and then said.

“No, all I want you to do is look at my wife’s cleaner”.

“Well I thought I had given it a very thorough look at sir, I would find it difficult to find much more to say about it.

At this point, Ann normally makes an excuse to go to the back of the workshop, but all she did on this occasion, was to bury her head in the sports page.

The young man adjusted his glasses and stood up straight as if he was about to give a speech, he said.

“I think you misunderstand me, what I want you to do is to look at my wife’s cleaner, as it is not picking up”.

“Ah, I’m so sorry sir, I thought you just wanted me to look at it, now this is a different kettle of fish, what you need is a full service, I can do that for you next week, could I have your name sir?

I could see by the nervous way he kept fiddling with his glasses, he was quickly going off me and was wondering about the wisdom of leaving his wife’s cleaner in the hands of a lunatic, but he did and slowly walked backwards out of the shop, giving me a steady stare as he left.


Ann came back into the shop, grinning, and said.

“Alan, you are losing your touch, now you will have to service the blooming thing, you know how you hate mending those dirty old cleaners”.










































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