Aarati's friend Luna is not, as you might imagine, named after the Moon and its many perceived romantic connotations, but after a branded toilet cleaner widely used in Jamaica at the time both of them were kids being brought up over there. Luna's mother says it reminds her of the way her husband (then boyfriend) smelled after he met her after a shift at the Turntable Club on Red Hills Road, known as the 'hip strip' in Kingston.
She called Aarati this morning (Thursday 22 October), as she has regularly since June, asking her for an update on the delivery of her Missouri Backcare Divan Set from Bensons for Beds which, with its sister chain Harvey's, was put in Administration in June of this year. Apparently, the bed she had saved and paid for in April was the first new one she had ever bought and had the luxury of drawers beneath the mattress casing. For a woman like Luna, someone who is more used to find her son under her bed hiding from rival gang members, this made her really something among her friends who have planned a big launch event when the item finally arrives.
Aarati has asked how she can break it to her friend that she might not be getting the bed and, as an unsecured creditor, also might not be getting half of nothing at all as the Administrators PwC announced heavy losses after suffering an estimated shortfall of £240 million. The main creditors who will circle the negligible pickings from the prescribed part will be HMRC, landlords and suppliers, not a plucky little West Indian woman who had paid extra for a 'mid-firm' mattress and a velvet headboard.
PwC were appointed in June and The Times today wasted no time in bringing their article bang up to date by informing seething readers that the pre-packed Administration was not referred to the Pre-Pack Pool, despite Administrators advising the owners Alteri that they should consider it. Grrrrr.
It's no good telling Luna that she should have bought her bed-of-a-lifetime from Harvey's, which was not reacquired by Alteri and continues to trade in Administration. Alteri is honouring existing customer orders, totalling £27 million, across both chains, but not (so far) Luna's bed. But there may still be a happy ending for Luna and her husband. PwC have announced that: “This restructuring transaction preserved more than 2,000 jobs at a time of significant instability for the group and for retail businesses in general. As part of the transaction, the purchasers of the Benson for Beds business have also agreed to honour and fulfil all customer orders where a deposit had been paid, something by no means guaranteed during Administration processes.”
So Luna may still get her dream and may even enjoy it on her new bed from Bensons, but her son, like all insolvency professionals according to the popular press, will have no place to hide.