The class system is a weird thing in the UK as we like to define our selves by what “class” we think we are in. Lots of people that I know are proudly “working class” and some are less proudly “middle class” and honestly I couldn’t tell you the difference. People that are “middle class” work, so why aren’t they working class – what is the entry qualification for Middle Class – Waitrose Loyalty Card? Avocado consumption?
I was brought up by parents that definitely thought of themselves as working class as did their parents and no doubt, their parents too. I myself have worked since I was 16, University not really being for me and now I am in my 40s I am really not sure what I am or if I am even bothered… however……
Recently a leaflet was pushed through my front door from a start-up cleaning company and I gave them a call as I wanted someone to come and give my house a real deep clean before Christmas. My house isn’t minging if that’s what youre thinking, but I do hate cleaning my bathrooms (yes, we are lucky enough to have more than one) – that’s not very working class is it?!) I digress..
Long story short, I called the company and arranged for them to come and do a clean, stayed in on the day…. they didn’t turn up. I messaged them and they just didn’t reply. Ding ding, back to your corners of frustration and start again.
The 2nd company I booked were recommended by a couple of people. Great communication and turned up bang on time. Good start I think we can agree.
I gave the cleaner, which I shall call S, a little tour of the house and explained that we wanted a deep clean concentrating on the bathrooms. I had provided a caddy FULL to the brim of cleaning products and left her to it.
She asked me to check her work when she was done, which I did, everywhere she had been was SUPER clean and as I was paying her, she said “I have moved a few things, but you should still be able to find them, you can text me though if you can’t”. I thought nothing of this as I fully expected her to move things to clean them and then of course, I wouldn’t have expected her to remember EXACTLY where everything went back. But… OH. MY. GOD….. OH MY GOD….
When I say she had moved EVERYTHING except the large furniture, I am not kidding. It took me 25 minutes when she had gone going from room to room, putting everything back in it’s rightful place. I am not sure what she was thinking, but she seemed to be under the impression that not only was she there to clean my house, she was also there to give it a makeover… For example…..
- She moved almost every ornament or decorative item in every, single room – to another position in the same room or in a different room!
- She moved a pot which keep with various keys from the very place it’s needed the most to a tucked away part of the TV cabinet – fun game of hide and seek when needing to open a door later that night
- She moved my HRT tablets from the couch end table (where I leave them so I don’t forget to take them) to sideboard drawer (WHY was she going in the drawers?)
- She crammed a pile of ironing I left out in preparation in a storage cupboard (WHY was she going in cupboards?!)
- We have a Hotel Chocolate Velvetiser on a shelf in the kitchen, she uncurled the cord and lay it flat down the back of the shelf, instead of leaving it curled up where it was????
- She moved my headband from the kitchen onto the hall table (WHY?)
- In the bedroom, she re-arranged both mine and M’s bedside tables.
- She moved my alarm clock onto a set of shelves in the the bedroom.
- She moved some loose photos that were on the windowsill into my bedside drawers – again WHY was she in those private drawers??
- She REMADE THE BED, WHICH WAS ALREADY MADE FOR THE DAY… in what I can only assume, was her preferred style. I was really annoyed by this, it felt so over the line.
- Michael and I both had small piles of clothes at the end of the bed, she put them all into one pile ?!
- In our box room where I have my dressing table, she had gone to town with the re-arranging…
- She took a framed photograph of my nieces off the centre of a shelf and put it on my windowsill and then moved a photo of M and I off the windowsill and put it back on the end of the shelf.
- She re-arranged EVERYTHING on my dressing table, moving everything around, brushes and makeup all in new places.
- She got a glass tray out of a basket which was on the floor (as I no longer use it) and re-arranged some nail polishes and creams on it in the centre of my dressing table. WHY?!?!?!
- On our top floor, I have a set of drawers and I put on there various decorative items that I no longer use and just can’t quite bear to part with.
- She took it upon herself to get stuff from there and place the various bits in the bathroom and home office that’s up there. WHY?? There was a cushion up there that I can’t use, but can’t throw away, it was the last thing my mum bought whilst I was out shopping with her a few weeks before she died. S took it from it’s place on the drawers and put it on the sofa. I was FUMING…
We are still finding things a week or so later, or should I say can’t find things that she has moved. Today was a headband that I use when I am putting my makeup on.. yep, tucked in a basket where it DOESN’T LIVE!
She left me a bag of rubbish, but when M came home from work, he opened it to see what he could re-cycle… yep, broken kitchen spatula – didn’t tell me about that did she??
But here’s the thing, I felt so uncomfortable approaching the cleaning company as class anxiety kicked in big time. I have been brought up in a family that drilled in to me working class values, but surely having a cleaner is stepping up or out of that? Almost like I have ideas above my station.
But as I write that, I know it’s BS, the whole class things is just another way to label people. I have, over the years hired plumbers, mechanics, gardeners, plasterers, decoraters and never once turned a hair.. .why does having a cleaner or worse still, complaining about the cleaner, make my classy teeth itch?!
It was a bad service that massively overstepped the line in terms of what I hired them for, let alone personal boundaries. But you will be pleased to know there is a happy ending to the story..
I did contact the cleaning company and explained everything that had happened and that I felt violated. Good customer service meant that I got an apology and felt like I was listened to. Phew….
Please tell me that I am not alone in feeling uncomfortable when having people working at the house..