Meeting with a Bulgarian Car Cleaner!

Posted on March 21, 2015

I went to Sainsbury’s yesterday to buy a few bits and pieces for the weekend and of course, to satisfy my occasional forty-something lust for feeling incandescent with rage at paying £14:00 for eight Gillette razor refills.

When I got to the car park, I was approached by an Eastern European chap who was, despite the unseasonably cold and biting easterly wind, willing to wash, polish and wax my car for £10:00. I looked at my car and assessed that it hadn’t been cleaned in 2015 and accepted his offer.

This meant that I had to be excessively more gormless than normal once in the supermarket, shuffling up and down the aisles in a bid to pass time and cussing at what seems like an extraordinary price to pay for four slices of breaded ham…this was before I got to the Gillette section of course.

I do zone out sometimes in the supermarket and it is not unusual for me to stare at the various prices of kitchen rolls before descending into a state hypnosis as my brain tries to take on board whether I should really care if one product may soak up more than the other, or whether it will provide an adequately smooth texture as emergency lavatory paper.

The truth is that if you endured state education in the eighties, even the Sainsbury’s Basics range is a joyous experience in comparison to the tracing paper in school lavatories that would serve only to smear your bottom with excrement rather than clean it.

Anyway, once I had used up my estimated time of half an hour, I went out to find my friend adding the final touches to my car that now looked barely recognisable. He had done a fine job I must say.

We then embarked on a conversation but unfortunately his English wasn’t great. However, I at least got to the bottom of the fact that he was Bulgarian, a language that I must admit to not being particularly fluent at.

He explained he was from Sofia, which in all likelihood, is probably 500 miles from where he lived but it was a situation similar to when I have been to America in the past and found myself explaining that I am actually from London, not Sydney and no, I don’t know a chap called Skip, who works in IT at the HSBC.

Stupidly, I informed him that I had once been to Sofia and the conversation thereafter got ludicrously nonsensical, though I did hear a mention of football player (Berbatov) and a dangerously corrupt government and police force which, by the sounds of it, are almost as corrupt as here in the UK.

We managed, somehow, get to the point where we sang along to “Highway to Hell” by the heavy metal band AC/DC as I have a clear recollection of this being the music that Levski Sofia, the capital’s football team, would walk out to at the start of a home game.

I went to watch Levski when I was in Sofia and it made going to Millwall look like a picnic, so ‘Highway to Hell’ was a pretty realistic introduction to the game as the grenades and tear gas fizzed around a stadium that was an epicentre of civil unrest.

As the conversation became increasingly disjointed, like a classically trained tabloid journalist, I made my excuses, shook his leathery hand and left him in the cold to enthusiastically find another customer who is as lazy and as inept as me at cleaning cars.

As I drove away, I wondered what it must be like telling your family that life is so bad in your own country that you have no option to up sticks and travel 3,000 miles to clean the cars of people, many of whom are taking the one dimensional Nigel Farage theory that Eastern Europeans are here to sponge off the dole one minute and nick your job the next, before finally, raping your elderly relatives.

When you look around these bleak and cold car parks, they are full of African’s and Eastern Europeans and the reality is that they are not stealing anyone’s job; they have just created and filled a labour gap. You wouldn’t have had a car valet service at a supermarket 20 years ago as no-one would have been prepared to do it.

When I was flying back from Sofia just prior to the 2008 economic collapse, I got chatting to a Bulgarian woman who was an economist in London, leading a study into eastern European migration after the collapse of communism and the aggressive, often criminal and murderous free market capitalism that followed. As you can imagine, she was quite well educated and as far as I could see, she didn’t eat children or live in a house WITH SEVEN KIDS…AND GUESS WHO IS PAYING…YES YOU!!!!

Anyway, the dramatic economic changes left the common people who were poor but basically protected by communism, facing destitution and no choice but to migrate across Europe for work, often trafficked illegally and brutally, strapped under lorries and hidden in vans with nothing to look forward to other than a life of slave labour, or in the case of women, prostitution.

Now that Bulgaria has joined other nations by becoming an EU member, illegal and cheap labour trafficked by gangsters has shrunk and people arriving from Eastern Bloc are now working legally with fiscal reports on migrant labour confirming that they are actually boost to our economy, not a drain on it. “Oh Fuck” I hear the Daily Mail and it’s fascist editor, Paul Dacre, cry.

What I am trying to say here is that whilst there may be exceptions that The Daily Mail or Nigel Farage try to exploit by spreading vindictive rumours, the majority of these people are working legally, paying UK taxes and trying to create a marginally better life for their families. In my opinion, in our tiny little planet, it would take a hard person to deny them that?

Without migration of workers since WWII, this country would be a cesspit, a poisonous isle of hatred and economic meltdown. Yes we have problems but by becoming a “Little Britain”governed by someone like Nigel Farage, we would be taking the first steps towards 21st Century fascism, an ideology that ends in utter misery for millions of people.

It’s worth thinking about that whilst getting rabid with anger at the Daily Mail Comment page as your car gets cleaned by Bulgarian chap whilst his English counterpart watches the Jeremy Kyle Show.

No sooner had I finished writing that, I read that many of these guys at car washing facilities are victims of trafficking and servitude.

How depressing :-(

2 Replies to "Meeting with a Bulgarian Car Cleaner!"

  • Gill Dixon
    March 21, 2015 (9:24 am)

    Done it again brilliant x

  • Gill Dixon
    March 21, 2015 (9:24 am)

    Done it again brilliant x

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