Thursday, May 24, 2007

Operation: Walker

I was sent on a mission to get a walker.

It turns out there's a mini-physiotherapy/mobility-gear district in Funchal. The shop I was looking for was long and narrow, and empty except for the saleswoman, who was at the back of the shop on the phone. I smiled, pottered around, waited. For about seven minutes. Then she punched numbers on the phone, and transferred the call to the desk at the front of the shop.

So I loiter, play with the walking canes and crutches, look through catalogues of mobility equipment. By now there are another two people in the shop, waiting. Then saleswoman No.2 appears - No.1 asks her to help me (as she is striding back to the other end of the shop, where she's transferred the call again). No.2 goes to the cash desk at the front of the shop. No.1's call ends, and her phone rings instantly. She looks at the three shoppers, and answers the phone. By the time I turn around, No.2 is also on the phone.

So, I figure out that the walker department is downstairs, and go searching. By the time No.2 finds me there I've chosen a walker. She apologises for the delay, and is about to pick the walker up when her mobile rings. She wanders off, chatting. I bring the walker upstairs, find the price, get the cash ready. I'm close now, I can feel it. No.2 reappears, apologises for the delay, and goes to ring up the sale. She's keyed in two of the four digits when - you guessed it - the mobile goes. She steps away from the cash desk so she can talk and gesture extravagantly without impediment.

This is a shop whose purpose is to make life easier.

Anyhoo, I got out of there eventually. No-one's revamped the world of walkers yet - they're pretty much all grey. I found one with black leather trim, which we've dubbed The Batwalker.

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