The hearty party balloons welcomed us as we snagged a car park directly outside the entrance. I was a woman with a mission, and my accomplice Willz was totes on board. Ever since I tried Dani’s: I love this! How have I even lived without one? it had been playing on my mind. Now I’ve moved permanently to Melbourne, and the casa is mostly white tiled floors, it’s a no-brainer. I must have a Steam Mop!
A customer scurried out as we entered. I noted the expression – more harried than satisfied. It was cluttered; it was busy. The Steam Mop section was directly to the left so I pulled Willz over to read the plaques surrounding the 8 or so installations. Immediately I was swooped upon by a man I can only describe as text book paedophile, complete with ¾ dustcoat and a greasy sparse comb over. He eyed me off like fresh meat. Was he licking his lips and rubbing his hands together?
I tried to fob him off by letting him know I was happy to read the specifications for myself and what could he possibly add? But no. As I rounded the corner of a Wet and Dry vacuum display he was there in my personal space, barking out ‘features’. I flinched involuntarily as a bubble of his saliva landed on my arm, so excited were his pronouncements. I frantically looked to my companion for respite and rescue but Willz was well away, safely down the back of the shop barely visible behind a wall of second-hand suction tubes which hung and clung like ancient Peruvian jungle vines. I sashayed in his direction: Willz! Help, I hissed.
I’m thinking Paedo got the message as he moved onto another victim. Uh oh, now the manager was heading toward me. This guy was just shy of 5’, dressed totally inappropriately for indoors, wearing a black ¾ woollen duffle coat. If memory serves, he had short back and sides light brown hair, accountant’s glasses, and his hands were buried deep in the pockets of that ‘watching the AFL grand final live at Etihad Stadium’ coat. He had a poker face.
I said, Can you help? I want the red Hoover steam mop. I pointed.
Yes, says he. I’ll get one for you from out the back. We have them in stock. He leaves.
Just as I’m thinking that was easy he came sweeping (no pun intended) back in holding the sleek red box like a pizza, ready-to-go.
He says: I feel I should tell you… I used to own one of these and it was really hard on the thumb. Really hard. Just saying.
My I don’t give a flying expression was misread by him as do go on.
He continues: Seriously, there are other ones that are the same price but they have a trigger.
He demonstrates a shooting pistol finger movement and starts walking towards the steam mop corner. I dutifully follow.
You see, he says, proffering a bright green steam mop sporting said trigger.
Now I’m getting irritated. I am not buying into his pitch and I can see him launching into his secondary sales pitch files to convince me to go green.
Do you have grout?
What the? Give me the red Hoover already.
Because this model here (only a hundred bucks more) has all the accessories! He’s grabbed another bigger, shinier box and he’s turning it like a rotisserie pig, pointing to its dozens of features. I’m getting dizzy. But I’m not budging. He notices and slides the box back.
Red. Hoover. I say.
His last ditch attempt: I seriously have had calls from people asking what’s the problem with the Hoover? My thumb is killing me.
I say: Really. You have really taken phone calls from customers who are complaining that their thumb is hurting due to using the Hoover steam mop?
Yesss, he whines. ‘Hoover have a newer model, with a trigger.’ His tired limp hand tries for one more pistol mime. I’m thinking he’s out of ammo.
‘Ah, what were Hoover thinking,’ I mock. ‘Fancy releasing a model with a thumb button creating such a calamity.’
He’s exasperated now. ‘I AM HOOVER!’ he exclaims, ‘GODFREYS IS HOOVER!!’
There’s a count to 5 Mississippi pause.
‘I’ll take the red Hoover steam mop,’ I say.
Back at the cash register his defeat is palpable. ‘Can you please leave the phone alone while I’m in the middle of a transaction,’ he says through clenched teeth to his 2IC Mr Paedo who has joined him behind the counter.
‘I was just checking to see if we had dial tone Phillip!’ replies Paedo who hastily clunks the phone back in its cradle and backs away.
‘I see you’ve grabbed two extra mop head covers. There’s actually a box of 8 if you’d be interested, only a few extra dollars.’
‘Sure. Why not.’
Poker Face grins. We leave with the red Hoover steam mop and more mop head covers than we bargained for.