Cut and shut

The rain was dribbling in through the broken seal on my windscreen, it trickled steadily down the inside of the glass forming a pool below, the wind was howling outside and trying its best to reduce the already low temperature inside my cab. I squinted into the inky dark night as we rattled through the cobbled backstreets of 1990s London. The headlamps could barely manage a weak glow, shining a little dancing yellow light into the rain. Once again I wiped the inside of the windscreen with my rag, it didn’t help. I decided to go home.

I began to turn the cab around but just as I did I heard a nasty bang. I thought I’d hit something I jumped out but there was nothing there just the empty road, I lifted the bonnet and shone my torch into the engine compartment I took a step back in disbelief. The engine had moved forwards forcing the front fan through the radiator. My night was over and on the train home I decided I needed a change. The next day after the doom laden prognosis on my old cab I made my way to see a lovely looking Fairway I had spotted the week before. It was beautiful, dark blue with a slightly lighter blue vinyl roof, it had air conditioning, a comfy seat and a sliding sunroof. After the briefest of negotiations I happily shook hands, hope completely outweighing expectation.

The cab was great in every respect apart from one very important one, the front started to rust away very badly, it happened slowly but steadily. Almost every day the dark brown patches seemed to grow bigger and more obvious. I mentioned it a few times to the garage owner who’d sold me it, he seemed disinterested but would mumble something about doing it on the next overhaul, this of course would be at my expense.

One day I decided to take it into a main dealer, I asked them to take a look and tell me why the front was rusty and the back wasn’t, the examiner had a good look around all over and eventually turned to me and said the front of this cab is much older than the rear, the best case scenario is that its been in a big crash and they replaced the whole front end but they used old panels. I put my outraged hat on and drove straight to the garage and confronted the owner ‘you sold me a cut and shut’ I told him, he looked genuinely horrified and came out to have a look. As we stood side by side looking at this now rusty old cab he said ‘look it might have had a slight problem but it isn’t a Porsche is it, it doesn’t have every little accident recorded’. ‘Every little accident’ ? I replied, I couldn’t believe his attitude, ‘this cab has had a complete front end smash and to make it worse you fitted old panels to it’. He fixed me with his beady little eyes and looked around to check he couldn’t be overheard. He almost whispered ‘look this is the way it works, if you can wait until I find someone who needs a new rear end we’ll have a little accident right here and I’ll replace the panels with new ones’.

Needless to say he ended up keeping the cab and tearing up the hire purchase agreement, I called the finance company a couple of days later just to check it had been settled….

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