I ask this question, of course, because if a certain cold-caller had it his way, I would have been showing him a property for lease at 3:30pm on Christmas Eve.
You know something?
I was really hurt the other day when I saw a comment that read, “This is not a true story.”
I wrote a post in December called “Worst Client Ever” whereby I told the story of an ongoing saga that my colleague experienced over the past 3-4 months. I had been privy to every single detail, and every day, when you said, “This can’t get any worse,” it did. I kept saying, “This is a story for my blog,” until finally my colleague said, “I agree – you gotta write this.”
So I did.
It’s unbelievable, but not in the literal sense.
And yet somebody commented “This is not a true story” as if I sit here on my blog and make up crazy things that happen in the real estate industry.
I’ll tell you this once, and remember it forever: I don’t need to make up crazy things that happen in the real estate industry, because they happen – ALL THE TIME.
Case in point, the following story, to which I’m sure that same commentor will remark, “This didn’t happen either.”
On December 24th, I awoke (around 11am – like a teenager, or like a Realtor on vacation…) and ignored my Blackberry like I had done every day previous for about a week. Picking up the Blackberry and attempting to guess the number of messages is a daily ritual for me, and so it was quite nice to have only 1-2 messages each and every morning before Christmas, which allowed me to finally ignore it.
I went to meet a friend at Yonge & Dundas square so I could introduce him to the wonderful world of NOT buying jewelry at a retail outlet, and we went up to the 6th floor of the H&R building where I jokingly said to my friend, “Don’t freak out when they pat you down, and do not make any sudden moves.” He believed me…
While my friend was comparing white gold with yellow, I pressed the “ignore” button on my phone a few times, not knowing (or caring!) who was calling on Christmas Eve-Day.
An hour later, I got to my car, and checked my messages for the first time that day. It was actually somewhat liberating to ‘forget’ to take it off silent, and make my way through the city without having checked a single time that day.
I was rather surprised, however to see FOUR missed calls, three of which were from the same phone number!
I didn’t recognize the number, but they had called at 8:31am, and then twice while I was in the jeweler’s, but only two minutes apart.
There was also a page through my office at 8:45am, which was so early, in fact, that it went through the 24-hour answering service!
I had one voicemail showing, and I listened in complete shock as I drove down Jarvis Street:
“Hi there, um, David, my name is, um, Dwight, and I’d like to see 15 Windermere Avenue this afternoon, as soon as possible, um please. Thank you.”
There was no phone number, and the message was somewhat cryptic.
So naturally, I thought it was a joke!
I spent a good ten minutes trying to figure out which of my friends would prank me like this on the day before Christmas, but I drew a blank. The voice didn’t sound familiar at all, and I would know my friends’ voices; even their fake ones.
Could it be one of my baseball-kids? Would one of them prank their coach? They’d have to mighty bored to do that, and it would make more sense if it were during the baseball season, like after we played a game or something.
In any event, I put it out of my mind, but that only lasted about a half-hour since my phone wrang and it was that SAME number for the fourth time that day.
“David Fleming,” I answered, with a smile on my face, ‘playing along’ with whoever was punking me.
“Um, yeah, uh, hi David,” the voice said, as I struggled to identify it. “My name is Dwight, and I really want to see your listing at 15 Windermere Avenue this afternoon.”
I was 100% sure this was a prank. Who the HELL would call on December 24th asking to see a property for lease, which, to be perfectly honest, had just been leased two days earlier (although the mess of paperwork wasn’t complete, nor was the deposit received, so technically it was still available). So naturally, I played along!
“Sure, DWIGHT,” I said with effect, “What time works for you? Because Lord knows I’m not busy!”
There was only a short pause. “I’m ready any time you are,” said ‘Dwight.’ “I’m in the area right now staying at a friend’s place, and I could be there in ten minutes.”
This was weird. There was no hint of a laugh in the voice.
Galen? Was it Galen? Nah, there’s no way Galen could pull that off.
Was it Wes? He used to do that sort of stuff all the time when I first started in real estate, although we were a lot younger then.
Bubs? Would Bubs punk me? Or maybe Alec? Or Christian calling from Montreal? I pranked Christian once about eight years ago when I called and pretended to be a police officer, asking about prowlers, and I had him going for a solid ten minutes before I gave it away by saying, “The culprit has been described as a big-sexy stud who’s great at fantasy football and wears a LaDainian Tomlinson jersey to work.” Maybe now Christian was punking me back! Nah, it was a 416-number, so that didn’t make sense.
Or maybe it was somebody from my office! It’s real estate related, so perhaps it’s a bored Realtor! Hmmm…..maybe Johnston & Watt? Maybe they’re tired of me chirping them! It had to be…
“Who IS this?” I finally asked.
“Excuse me?” the person shot back.
I sat there smirking, and finally just said nothing for about ten or fifteen seconds. I figured finally the person would just say, “Okay, it’s so-and-so….but I had you going!”
Alas, that’s not what happened.
“David, are you still there?” the person asked.
“Yes…..I aaaaaaaaam,” I said, now somewhat unsure.
“Okay, great, so what do you think? Can we meet in about a half our or so?”
At this point, I suddenly realized that this was not a prank. This was not a friend or a colleague calling, and it was, in fact, somebody who wanted to go and look at real estate about four hours before Christmas dinner.
“Um, well, I’mactuallykind of busy today,” I said.
“Well that’s unfortunate,” Dwight said, “Because if I like the unit, I might be prepared to make an offer today.”
TODAY? On Christmas Eve-Day?
Who was this nutjob?
“Today is Christmas Eve,” I said, and amazingly he replied, “Tonight is Christmas Eve. Surely you have time to make some money today, right? Money never sleeps, pal!”
Ewwww! He was quoting Michael Douglas inWall Street! That might have just ruined the movie a bit for me…
I’d had enough, and I was pulling into the driveway at my condo, so I finally said, “Look man, it’s the day before Christmas and I’m tied up, so I’m sorry I can’t show you the unit; I’m sorry I can’t show you a goddam condo at 2pm on December 24th!!”
I should have just hung up, but oddly enough, I waited for a reply.
“Jesus, he said,” somewhat appropriate I suppose, given the day. “This is why the Competition Bureau is coming down on you guys! If the public had it our way, the seller’s name would be on the listing, and I could contact him myself and set up an appointment! Then maybe I’d tell him what a bang-up job you’re doing ‘working’ on his behalf by not showing the property to qualified buyers!”
And then HE hung up on ME!
As Stephanie Tanner used to say on Full House, “Howwwww RUDE!”
I swear, I’ve replayed that bizarre conversation in my mind a dozen times, and I still can’t be absolutely certain that this “qualified buyer” was real. It just couldn’t be! Could it?
Two hours later, I was at my dad’s, having Christmas dinner with my family (and our dog…), and drinking an unhealthy amount of red wine. Later that evening, the whole incident came back to me, and maybe it was the alcohol (okay not maybe…), but suddenly I couldn’t be certain if that was a dream or if it really happened.
I don’t know what the take-away from this experience is.
How crazy the public can be?
How entitled buyers are?
How strange my industry is?
Or how much you can forget when you drink it away?
Probably a little bit of all of them. And a lot of the last one…Back To Top Back To Comments