The Hands of Time - Book Two

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Chapter Nine

The Ten Million pounds had meant that instant aid could be brought to his family’s village and surrounding areas. He had also included thirty-three thousand Koran’s, their holy book, as he was very aware of the importance that these wonderful brothers and sisters as he called them, placed on their faith and of the Koran.

This action alone had won the hearts of so many and the Pakistan embassy had regarded him and his family as friends to their faith and nation. It had taken eighteen weeks for Sandhi to be away and when he had returned, I had donated whatever income was estimated by the previous year’s trading, that he would have lost, such was our friendship.

So, when Sandhi had phoned me at first I had not realized that there was anything wrong, and I was taken back when he learnt that Sandhi was putting his business and family home up for sale.

When I had enquired as to why, I was angered and shocked to have discovered that a group wealthy antique dealer had formed a syndicate and were deliberately focusing on one business at a time, and driving them out of business.

Then they would buy their business so no one else could step in and take their place. I had asked Sandhi if he could explain to me how they were operating, so Sandhi had offered to take me with him for the next two months to see how the business was run and operated.

I quickly learnt that because of their collective power these people could afford to wait until a person brought out a house clearance and tied up a large sum of their income into this stock.

They then knew that the vast volume of stock would be sold off at auctions and only a few items put aside to go into his shop. At the auctions whenever they could, they collectively refused to buy any item which belonged to Sandhi, by paying off the auction loaders or casual staff, to let them know what belonged to Sandhi.

Then they just would not buy a single item, and should Sandhi see something he liked and knew that he could sell at a profit, then they would outbid him regardless of its value.

This simply meant that in about six to nine months, most people could no longer afford to trade and were forced to sell, and although the practice was highly illegal, it was very difficult to prove what they were doing, as if caught, they could state they were genuinely wanting that item of which they outbid Sandhi on, or they genuinely did not want the items that he was selling.

Even if Sandhi and the other traders tried moving to different action rooms in another county, they soon learnt where you were selling items and did the same thing, until you simply could not sell anything unless you almost gave it away.

Sandhi gave a sample he had a very good quality sofa bed which would cost knew approximately Nine hundred pounds, because of the wood used inside and the fabric plus the metal folding bed frame and mattress.

Usually in an auction you could comfortably sell these any day for One hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds, and then a trader would sell them on in their shops for about Three hundred and Fifty to Four Hundred pounds, again because of its quality.

The auction started and because no one other than a member of the public wanted it, there was no one to drive up the price, if he insisted he wanted, say a minimum of One hundred pounds, and then people simply would not bid because they were expecting an auction between others.

When no one else was placing a bid, they started thinking there might be something wrong with the item, and refused to bid, so Sandhi had learnt it was better to simply start at a pound and pray at least two or three members of the public wanted it.

To my horror I watched this beautiful piece of furniture go under the hammer for one pound as no one else would place a bid. Now that I was aware of what was happening, I reported back to the family so they could collectively discus how we could go about helping him.

And the family came back to Sandhi and offered to purchase fifty-one percent of the business, as long as Sandhi agreed to stay in his home and to continue running the business, but this time with the Armstrong family backing him.

Within a few days all legal documents had been signed and I paid my friend exactly forty nine percent of what he had been asking for the business, and cleared off all debts, this in turn had actually injected immediate capital back into Sandhi’s bank and enabled him to continue living where he was.

I was looking forward to the challenge, and I called in my family to help me, and two of my daughters immediately came to my aid, and as Dorothy and her husband were running the Airfield complex, they could not afford to give much of their time.

However, Dorothy authorized the release of Ten Million Pounds to me her father, as in her eyes, it was still all my money really, and all I had done was passed the running of it over to them.

Yes, I had given it to them as a family, but not one single member ever regarded it as anything other than belonging to their mother Janet, and their father, as we had worked so hard for so many years to build it up to what it was today.

My daughter Dorothy instructed the solicitors to put another twelve million aside, after the security team had reported back on the collective worth of the various businesses that were in the syndicate.

It was estimated as best as they could discover that between them, they could raise fifteen million pounds in ready cash, and considerably more in the remaining capital.

A piece of luck came our way, when one of the company’s director’s secretaries had become pregnant and had put in her notice, and not wanting to return to work after the birth.

Within the Armstrong business there were now at least seven loyal employees who were more than qualified for the position and after talking to Dorothy and her explaining to them what these people were doing, she had agreed to apply for the posting, but to remain in Dorothy’s employment.

It had not taken much to learn who was applying for the position, and her team of security workers set about preventing the other applicants from getting to the interviews, simply by using stealth and non-lethal ways like preventing their cars from working, and with two women who were particularly determined, one had her windows broken minutes before the taxi arrived, and the other had her handbag stolen, but mysteriously handed into the police within about three hours after it was reported missing.

I realized it was not a good way of approaching this method which we had devised, so I instructed his team to replace at the company’s expense for the broken windows telling the person their car must have kicked up some stones.

We also offered positions of work in our own company to all those who we had prevented from applying, and as they were not aware of the other applicants it had been easy for us to pull off this action.

Christina Evans secured the position and had started from day one by wearing the security spectacles, and carrying a spare pair with her, and been able to report back continually and giving the security team, instant access to information as she received it.

This in turn at least enabled them to learn in advance when certain action against Sandhi was to take place, as within two weeks the director of this particular company, confided in Christina and started entrusting her with a lot of private and illegal information.

It was not long before Christina had been able to help the security team build up a considerable profile of most of this companies previous illegal activities and who they had eliminated out of business, and then when one day when she had walked into her bosses office, there on his computer screen was a list of business including Sandhi’s, called the little magpie, whose name was now below all the other ones crossed out, and twenty four further names below who in time they intended to put out of business.

Having the spectacles on, they instantly recorded the information and sent it digitally to her car, which had a boaster signal station inside and uploaded it to a satellite, which in turn beamed it directly to the Armstrong’s security team.

Amazingly at first Christina had been just a little unsure of the ethical side of what she was doing, until she became aware of just how evil and nasty these people were, and for no reason other than greed, they had put so many families into deliberate poverty, and even making many homeless for no other reason than greed.

When Christina had become aware of this, she looked upon herself as operating as an undercover operative, who was exposing such people for their illegal actions.

Sandhi went out while on business and took several of our ex-military staff with them and my two daughters whenever they were giving a quote for the contents of a person’s home. They simply explained they were training the young men and women and ask in advance if the owner objected to them been there.

The rest of the workers always stayed behind except two members who drove a truck which followed them, if it was not local then they sent two trucks but parked them both a street away and they arrived by car.

I operated by word of mouth mostly, although I did advertise, but not aggressively as I had not wanted to alert the opposition to what we were doing. Whenever I received a phone call, usually the person had already received a few quotes, however I soon learn simply by talking to them if no one else had been to visit, and whenever I could, and I would try to encourage them to call others before me, and tell them to ask for their quotes in writing, as they could deny it after they loaded the furniture, and then charge you for unloading and their time if you denied they had offered you less than they were then willing to pay.

I would then send one of the staffs to the house and give the owner a written guarantee to offer at least 20% more than their highest offer, if they would not accept any other offers without allowing me to view the items before they decided to whom to sell them to.

This 99% of the time ensured I would have the opposition go into the homes first and make their offer in writing, I also knew from experience that if it was part of the syndicate visiting and leaving the quote that they would try and force a commitment there and then, but still offer way below anything reasonable for the items.

When Sandhi and I and my daughters went into a home, we instantly stated treating the owner with respect, and we always talked to them politely and did all we could to put them at ease.

Then when looking at items we would tell the truth and let them know what each item was worth, even taking with us the previous old auction catalogues which showed the asking price and the actual selling price which our operatives had written in at the time of the sale, and later we included the Value Added Tax, and seller’s fee.

Once people became aware of our honesty, and they realized that we were genuinely trying to help them, and been honest in the process, they soon gave the business to us one way or another, and then passed by word of mouth forward to their friends telling them how genuine and honest they were.

I worked on the principle of truth and kindness, and I would ensure the person was aware of the items true resalable auction value, and I would then take 40% off to cover my cost and to ensure I made a profit, as I was in business and needed to make a living.

On every single transaction if the syndicate was involved, they would offer about 20 or 30% of the items true value, and when the owners realized what was happening, they always gave the business to me.

However, if it was a competitor who was not in the illegal syndicate, but simply trying to make an honest living, as long as their quotes were reasonable, then I would always offer about Fifty pounds less, so no one could ever accuse me of trying to take away their business.

However, even then I sometimes found the owners had come to like us, and gave me the sale anyway, and in those cases I was pleased to accept because in my eyes I had won the sale in true fare play.

If a person still thought the 60% value of their items was still too low, then I offered in writing to clear away everything and get them to sign agreeing to whatever was taken and cleared away and put the items in an auction for them.

I would then simply ask them to cover the petrol and one operative’s hours and take twenty percent of whatever the final price was after the sale.

They then realized I was genuine and left the risk of them making a loss or a profit at the end of the sale, and to still have to pay a person to remove any unsold items, and put them in storage until another action room, or to leave them where they were realizing that if they became available again on the next auction that people might recognize them for not having sold before.

It was usually a gamble which they simply did not want to accept, and on the times when the syndicate had tried to outbid us after realizing what I was doing, I would put in a counter offer, leaving about a 2% profit margin after all costs, and if they wanted to offer more again, I would allow them to have the sale as long as everything was in writing for the seller.

I was in affect giving them back what they had been doing to others, and then at the times of the auction, because I had already quoted on the items I knew what they were, and I would try to do to them the same as they had done to others.

By refusing to buy any of their items unless they were been virtually given away, and the item I purchased I always ensured members of the families who worked for me, knew of the upcoming sales, and encouraged them and their friends to be there.

Should any of them see something they wanted, then there was always enough people there to generate a genuine auction of interest in the items we were selling, and should no one bid on the item, my employees had been instructed by one of my daughters to start bidding and to raise the price of the item to a fare selling price.

If no members of the public genuinely had not stepped in and put in an offer, then I would have my staff buy the item, and then I would either store it or give it to a charity hospice shop or to a person who genuinely could do with it as their furniture was either old and in need of replacing, or because they could not have afforded to buy the item.


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