Last Friday, 17/03/01, I opened the door to a lady who introduced herself as representing Essex Eye Care.

I am in sheltered housing for old people. We have been exhorted by many agencies to make sure that we challenge the credentials of people coming to our doors.

Initially, the impression I got was that she was from Social Services. After she was a few sentences into her talk, I was uneasy, and I felt that she was from a commercial organisation not Social Services. I interrupted her by saying, "OK, love, What are you selling!" She replied in general terms that she was not selling. I asked her for whom she worked and she told me that it was G. Templeman.

I then asked why she had introduced herself as representing Essex Eye Care. She replied that G. Templeman were registered as visiting opticians, for the house-bound, (as Essex Eye Care), with Essex County Council.

I then told her of my impressions, and she apologised and we continued to have a friendly conversation. During this I said that I believed that there was a law that said that misrepresentation to obtain pecuniary advantage was a criminal offence.

I asked her if she would like to come in and talk and she replied in the negative.

We continued the conversation and she told me that she had a medical problem that caused her a lot of stress. Also, that she had taken the sales rep job to get away from stress. This surprised me and I told her that I thought that door-to-door sales was a very stressful job! Indeed, ruminating later, I wondered whether it was reasonable to employ such a person as a rep.

We continued the conversation in general, (swapping experiences), for a while, said our goodbyes and she left.

Later I checked the Yellow Pages for Essex Eye Care and there was no entry. This made me suspicious. I rang the Trading Standards Office and the General Optical Council and obtained general information.

I phoned G. Templeman but a senior person was not available and I was told that someone would call me back.

Mrs. Templeman called me back, and after my formal questioning, satisfied me that nothing was wrong. We had a good conversation, lasting about 20 minutes, and I ended up saying that I would re-design their flyer! I also told her of my web site and she said that she would visit. As I was a bit bored over the weekend I not only did the flyer, (a good presentation - even if I say it myself!), but also converted it to a simple web site presentation.

She said that she was in the area this week and that she would call in and have, "a cup of tea and a Garibaldi"! It has transpired that she has not come.

I have been told, that after she left me, the rep went to a neighbour's house, broke down , and cried. I am saddened and puzzled about this.

The crunch is that the warden is after my blood and I have been lambasted by a neighbour and told not to put my nose in and try to help anyone. As I had just been trying to ascertain whether the caller was a threat to my aged neighbours, it has all left me in quandary as to whether to continue to be a helpful neighbour or to tell everybody ,"Sod off!", if they ask for help!

I am hoping that more positive events will emanate from this storm in a tea cup, (without the Garibaldi!).

Maybe more later.