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Estate agents, eight words, beginning with S...
Sometimes you just can't win with people. This week we heard that a new estate agents is opening up in Chippenham.
I thought this was a nice story, after all with the property market in the state it is, opening an estate agents is a bit like Noah's next door neighbour launching a landscape gardening business just as the door of the ark bangs shut on the final boarder.
So I got Lucy one of our reporters in Chippenham to write a story. For some reason I thought the agents would be delighted with the attention.
But no, Lucy came back to say the agents, having given her an interview, would now not agree to us publishing the story unless we allowed them to vet every word.
I said, as I often do to people, that the reporter would read back the quotes we were going to use.
But the junior partner she spoke to was not happy with this and came through to me.
It transpired that the sticking point was that Lucy had meantioned in the article that the partners in the new agency had all worked at another firm that had been merged with Strakers.
The junior partner wanted this removed from the story. I wondered why. "It is because that is free advertising for Strakers," he said.
Then the senior partner came on the phone, saying that he wanted to check all of our story to see if the facts in it were accurate. I asked him if the fact that Strakers had merged with their old firm was accurate. It appeared that it was.
I told him that, as it was accurate, I didn't see the need to rmeove that fact, even if he felt this was in some way a free plug for Strakers.
Did I mention that the firm in question was Strakers? Strakers in Chippenham? I did? Good, so we've stablished it was Strakers then.
In the end the senior partner said he did not want us to do the story about him launching a new estate agents if it was going to mention Strakers.
So we are not running it and of course we will not be mentioning anywhere that the firm previously involved in the merger is Strakers.