By Dr. John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) Email: jonjayray@hotmail.com

This is a true story.  It is a reconstruction of one of the most amusing telephone conversations I have heard.

I was standing in a carpet shop talking to the proprietor when the phone rang.

RRiiinggg   Riiiing!

The proprietor/retailer answers:

Retailer says:  "Good morning.  Premium Floors.  Can I help you?"

Customer:  "Yes.  I am looking for a quote on some carpet.  Can you do that"

R.:  "No problem.   Did you have a particular carpet in mind?"

C.:  "Yes.  My neighbour, Mrs Kafoops, has just had her house done out in a carpet called Coppertone and I have decided I want the same.  So I am getting a number of quotes to see where I can get the best deal:

R.: "Ah!  Coppertone.  Yes. We used to lay a lot of that."

C.:  "Used to?  Don't you sell it now?

R.: No. We had a lot of trouble with it so we try to avoid it now."

C.:  "Trouble, what trouble?"

R.: "Well, it's a fairly low-priced carpet and to keep the price down it is fairly thin.  And thin carpets tend to bubble up after a while."

C.:  "Bubble up?  What do you mean?"

R.:  Well, after a while you find that instead of lying flat the carpet develops wrinkles in the middle of it, like little mountain ranges"

C.:  That sounds revolting.

R.:  Yes.  We can send our layers out  to re-stretch it flat again but that takes time and the customer has got to get all her furniture and stuff off  the floor again so it's like starting all over again from scratch and not many customers want to go through that again.

C.:  "I would think not.  I am very glad you warned me about that.  The other shops didn't"

R.: We get most of our business from personal recommendations so it is important for us to have happy customers so we like to level with people from the beginning.

C.: Well, I must say it is a relief to be dealing with an honest person.  Could you recommend me a more satisfactory carpet?

R.:  "Well, carpet is such a matter of personal taste that I couldn't really do that but I can tell you one thing if it helps.  The builders of new units at the moment are all putting down a long-pile offwhite carpet called Jeldi Manhattan.  So they must know something.  If it didn't create a good impression, they wouldn't keep putting it down.

C.: "That seems reasonable. But did you say it is a white carpet?  That must be hard to keep clean"

R.: "It's actually an offwhite so coffee stains and the rest don't show on that nearly as much as if it were a straight white.  So it gets the advantage of a white appearance without being too hard to maintain

C.: That sounds clever.  Where can I see some"?

R.: What suburb do you live in?

C.: Holland Park

R.:  That's just down the road from us so I would be happy to pop in and show you some samples.  Will you be home this afternoon?

C.:  Not today but I would be tomorrow

So Keith, our retailer is home and hosed.  He has a pleasant personality so whenever he does a measure and quote he almost always gets the job.  And since this lady thinks he is honest he is in like Flynn.  His phone spiel has just earned him money.

But why did he "unsell" the lady on the carpet she wanted?  Easy, he doesn't get a very good deal on Coppertone but he gets a deep discount on Jeldi Manhattan.  He has sold the lady the carpet which gives him most profit!

I have told this story several times over the last 15 years or so but it has never been performed as a play

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