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No. 282 - Is Now a Good Time?

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As Britain likely moves into further lockdowns, drug dealers are changing the way they operate and communicate; they now bizarrely demand customers ask: “Is now a good time?”

IS NOW A GOOD TIME? – In June, Misha Glenny – the author of McMafia and a fellow at the Berggruen Institute – penned a fascinating article for the Guardian about how organised crime has had to adapt due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

 

Glenny highlighted how it was “too risky for [drug] dealers to move around” in cities like London and how prices had risen as a result. He rather over generously suggested “criminals are humans too” and were “abiding by the rules [of lockdown],” but also pointed out that the growth in online crime had been accelerated by COVID-19.

 

In a series of WhatsApp messages seen recently by The Steeple Times between a reader who works in the financial services sector and a London based drug peddler, the way in which such people have changed the way they communicate with their “customers” was fascinatingly illustrated.

 

We share said criminal’s messages below and highlight how he now uses that devoid of utterly anything phrase “reaching out” to communicate with his customers via all means other than Sim phone calls and SMS messages. He begins:

 

I hope this message finds you well. Just reaching out to inform you that I have changed my number from (old number: +44XXXXXXXXX) to (new number: +44XXXXXXXXXXX). Please save new number as old one will soon be inactive. Please make contact on WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal only (no Sim phone calls or SMS messages please). And as always, when referring my services to friends/colleagues/family, please call/message me in advance to inform me that you have done or intend to do so. Please also kindly forward me their contact details. Apologies if you have already received this message from my previous broadcast. Thanks.

 

In a further message, said individual laid his “is now a good time?” message on thick and continued:

 

Thank you for using my service and thank you for your valued custom. Moving forward I want to lay out my terms and conditions. In order for you to receive the best service and customer care it is advisable that you abide by them. They are as follows:

  • I will be your main point of contact for any disputes/feedback.
  • When contacting me please remember to use WhatsApp only (unless I advise otherwise).
  • Please message only and don’t call unless I ask you to you to (very important).
  • The first message you send should always be “is now a good time?”
  • Don’t engage in further contact until you have had a response to the first message. This is for your safety.
  • If I am unavailable you will receive a message with clear instructions to follow. Please follow them.
  • I won’t allways [sic] be available to meet you in person, and in this event you will be allocated an alternative driver. However I cannot guarantee you will be allocated the same driver every occasion I am unavailable.
  • You will be able to request a particular driver if they are available.
  • Contact the driver through WhatsApp only, with the first message being “is now a good time?”
  • All drivers carry the same stock.
  • All of my products have a distinctive packaging/branding.
  • If product presentation/quality is not up to standard it means that it has probably been tampered with and in which case you should report back to me immediately.
  • Allways [sic] make your order clear to the driver and have cash ready before they depart.
  • When referring my services to friends/colleagues/family, please message me in advance to inform me that you have done or intend to do so. Please also kindly forward me their contact details. And remember to tell them to use WhatsApp only using the phrase “is now a good time?”
  • And last but not least, always treat the driver with the same respect you would expect to have reciprocated.

Once again thank you for your business and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

 

Our typically middle class reader – someone astonishingly typical of the majority using cocaine in Britain and a member of a social group where abuse of this substance is more common than alcoholism – sensibly wrote back: “Now is NOT a good time” and ended the dialogue. Sadly, many others will act to the contrary and that’s what will keep this vile piece of toerag in business now and “allways” [sic].

 

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Misha Glenny’s 2008 non-fiction book ‘McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld’ inspired the brilliant eight-chapter, 2018 BBC One series of the same name. A second eight-chapter series is due to be aired in due course.
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Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.

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