A couple of days ago I was interrupted in whatever time-wasting activity I was engaged in by a caller at the door.
It was a young man with a capacious bag of household cleaning things. He said he was an ex-offender trying to make his way, and brandished an amateurish looking laminated ID pass. I'm always reluctant when these callers come round.
Reluctant to buy anything because it is usually cheap and nasty and over-priced and not what I want or need.
Reluctant because they could just be blagging their way round, using the sympathy vote to guilt people into buying from them.
Reluctant, because they could be for real - truly - ex-offenders trying to get their lives back together in which case I feel guilted into buying from them.
There's a story about some Rabbi who gave a small handout to a homeless beggar in London. His companion commented that the "beggar" was probably a scrounger who lived in a decent place and had parked his car round the corner. The Rabbi's response was to say "If I he really is homeless and I don't give him anything, then that would be on my conscience, If he is lying, that is on his conscience. I know which way round I would rather have it." I tend to agree with the Rabbi.
So, I listened to the caller's spiel, and chose one of the cheapest things that might possibly have be any use to me. I'd noticed some thick cobwebs behind a radiator the other day, so chose this for £4.99 (me - "Don't bother about the penny" ; him -"Thanks, I'll put it in my little boy's penny pot"; me - thinks - yeah, right. But maybe he's for real? In which case I now feel a bit mean. Does life really have to be this complicated?).
The thingy looks pretty useless - too short to reach all the way down the radiator, and too flimsy.
I ripped it out of the packet and tried it out on the radiator next to the computer. My, but that dust is extreme.
And it feels all solid and lumpy. Solid? I squinted down behind the radiator.
There, wedged over the bracket that fixes the radiator to the wall, was the wheat pack that I have been looking for.
It was an exercise in patience, self-control, and wire-coat-hanger-bending lasting longer than you would think for himself to extract it, as all the wheat had flowed to the two ends and moulded itself to fill the indentations in the radiator. But he doesn't give up easily.
So, for £4.99 I have my wheat pack back. Which, compared to the cost (and difficulty of finding) a replacement, is a bargain.