Needs A Clean Break From That Day

, , , , , | Working | February 25, 2021

I’m for hire via a temp agency for day jobs which are mostly cleaning jobs. I’m sent to a holiday park one town over for the day, along with several others, and I am told I will be given a ride by someone from the temp agency, since it’s a bit too long of a road for me to bike there.

The workers gather at the agency office to be picked up and my ride turns out to be one of the workers. The woman herself is… a character, to say the least. The few teeth she still has in her mouth are disgustingly yellow, her hair is a mess, and the thick and greasy layers of makeup that she smeared on her face still can’t conceal all the bruises she has underneath. She leads me to her tiny old car, which is so filled with trash that I literally have no place to sit. She shoves some off the passenger seat, leaving my feet in a pool of plastic bottles, used tissues, cigarette butts, and I don’t wanna know what else. 

We get on the road. It’s scorching hot outside, about thirty degrees Celsius, and she leaves all the windows closed while she’s smoking cigarettes behind the wheel and swaying like a drunk.

She manages to drive right past the holiday park that is situated on the outskirts and drives all the way into town about fifteen minutes away.

Her reasoning? “They said it was at [Town] so that’s where I’m going!”

We pass a local theme park that has advertisements up for a Halloween event and she happily states that she should apply as a scare actor. “I look a fright anyway by myself!” No s***!

We end up arriving at the holiday park half an hour late. We don’t know where we are supposed to report in, so she calls the agency to ask. Halfway through the phone call, she hands her phone over to me and lights another cigarette. I’m trying to keep the makeup-smeared phone as far away from my face as possible. The conversation I try to make with the temp agency is constantly interrupted by loud and gross coughs from the woman and her yanking her phone back to her so she can listen in, continuously coughing loudly near my face.

Finally, we get sent to our duties to clean the bungalows. I end up with another lady who explains what needs to be done with the greatest haste and impatience.

She leaves me alone to clean the bungalow. At this point, it should be noted I have slight autism and anxiety issues. I’m left behind with little to no instructions, and the hellish ride to get here has made my emotions pile up and the result is a giant panic attack.

I go back to the front office to call in sick and fetch a bus back home.

Just another day in the life of working temp jobs, leaving me to wonder how on earth people can be so gross.

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Looking For “The Thing” And Maybe It’s Blue?

, , , , | Right | November 7, 2020

I work for a junk removal company that specializes in move-outs, hoarding, and decluttering.

We arrive at the house of a customer who is moving and needs her basement and attic cleared out. She gives us the tour and then we set to filling our box truck and trailer.

During the cleanout, we confirm that she wants photos and miscellaneous items removed. We fill the box truck and that truck’s driver takes those items to donation places like Goodwill, teen groups, Salvation Army, etc.

He returns and we fill the box truck again to the point of us forcing the door closed. We also fill the trailer.

Customer: “Did you take it?”

Me: “Take what?”

Customer: “The thing out of the closet.”

Me: “What thing out of the closet?”

Customer: “I don’t know what, but it was in the closet and now it’s gone.”

Me: “Ma’am, you’re going to have to be more clear. We don’t know exactly what you’re looking for unless you tell us.”

Customer: “We need to look for it. It has to be in your truck.”

Me: “Ma’am, we can’t unload the truck here in your yard. You’re going to have to come with us to the warehouse. We will have you look through the stuff as we bring it out.”

At the warehouse, the customer looks through every can, box, bag, etc., until we have unloaded both trucks. She grabs multiple items but none are “the thing.” It has now been nine hours since the job began and it should have ended an hour ago.

Me: “Ma’am, are you positive we took the item?”

Customer: “Yes, I don’t know what it was but I know you took it. Can we check the stuff you took to donation?”

Our poor owner ended up taking them to the places we donated the stuff and spent the next couple of hours searching for “the thing.”

For those wondering, “the thing” was never found and we still don’t know what “the thing” was. She also never tipped us for the nine hours of labor to clear out her basement and attic on a very hot day with lots of stairs.

The boss did let me take a box fan home, though, so that was nice.

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Making A Clean Getaway

, , , , , , | Romantic | October 27, 2020

Two other people and I are a team that clean people’s houses for my maid service job in a very affluent neighborhood. The thing about The Help is that we overhear a lot of things because we’re often invisible.

I’m cleaning the place up. [Client] is home, puttering around while I dust the high places and such. [Client]’s husband calls her cell phone and she answers. The discussion is in a normal tone of voice.

Thirty seconds later, [Husband] calls the home phone. The discussion becomes heated, and from what I can overhear, [Husband] thinks [Client]’s cheating and was making sure she was at home where she claimed to be. [Client] slams the phone down and fumes.

I clean house basically every two days, so I come back. [Husband] is now on a “business trip” and I am asked to do a little straightening in the bedroom. My team and I strip the bed and then I go to take fresh sheets out of the linen closet… but the door won’t open. I can’t even turn the knob.

Me: “[Client], the closet door in the bedroom is jammed.”

Client: “Let me try it.”

She tries, but she can’t get it open, either.

We all ponder briefly, and then [Client] gets the idea to call [Husband] about the stuck door.

She hits the dial button… and the phone rings from inside the closet!

We all turn to look at each other, disbelief in our eyes, as we can actually hear fumbling sounds coming from inside the closet.

I try the doorknob and the door opens without resistance. [Husband] practically falls flat on his face, the now silent cell phone in hand, at my feet.

The whole lot of us, the wife, my team, and I, are just staring at him.

Husband: “Oh… Uh… Hi, honey.” 

There’s lots of awkward fumbling as he gets to his feet, and he won’t look any of us in the eyes.

From what I glean from the following nuclear explosion, [Husband] still thought [Client] was cheating on him and pretended to go on a business trip, when in reality he was hiding in random areas in the house where neither of them normally go to try to catch the supposed side boyfriend in the house.

Naturally, the maid service is invisible to this dude, so it never occurred to him that those clean sheets happen because the servants do go into those places, until like, the very last second. He’d panicked and grabbed and held the doorknob to keep me from opening it the first time.

[Client] basically chases him out of the house entirely and he flees for his life.

Her very next call is to a divorce lawyer.

Sometime later, I show up for another appointed house cleaning and find the woman seething while on the phone with her bank. She has apparently discovered that their joint bank account is $4,000 short and she’s trying to figure out where it went.

Where else? [Husband]. [Husband] apparently bought plane tickets to another country shortly after he fled the house and withdrew the rest for cash on hand. Not suspicious at all! I was left thinking about the husband, and about pots and kettles both being black.

Client: “I have plenty of money in my account, so I promise that I can still pay you, so your services can continue as normal.”

At this point, I shyly suggest she call my home office. She can ask for a referral from the cleaning company for some trustworthy house movers to remove [Husband]’s personal effects from her home.

The house movers and cleaning company sometimes share job requests and bounce off of each other; they often carefully pack up entire households and then leave the place to us to clean the carpets, clean shelves, etc., and prepare the house for new families moving in. It’s a very beneficial arrangement for both of us and we refer clients back and forth.

Less than half an hour later, four big guys arrive at the same time her lawyer does — when you have big bucks, response time can be measured with a hand timer, apparently — and they go room by room. The lawyer notes everything that is slated as [Husband]’s, which the movers take down and carefully pack. My team and I coordinate with the movers and clean up behind them so that there aren’t even dust rings left behind where the removed things used to be.

The lawyer makes careful inventory of everything and its condition when removed so [Husband] can’t complain about breakage. [Husband]’s things are then taken to a storage facility.

Details are sketchy from here on, but [Client] now has a different last name and is very happily living her life as a divorced woman.

I’m just left shaking my head. I’m used to some odd stuff that is accidentally discovered, overheard, or observed, but so far, this takes the cake.

On the plus side, with half the stuff gone, the house is much easier to clean!


This story is part of our Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of October 2020 roundup!

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Time To Make A Clean Break For It  

, , , , | Working | January 6, 2020

(My friend is doing some work for another window cleaner who is recovering from an operation. She has recruited me to help her with his jobs so that she has time for hers. It’s around 7:45 am. We have cleaned the outside windows of a store and a staff member now arrives meaning that we can get the insides done in time for them to open at 8:00.)

Me: “Good morning.”

Staff Member: “Good morning.”

(She unlocks the door and we attempt to follow her in.)

Staff Member: “You’ll have to wait.”

(Assuming that she has to turn off an alarm, we wait a few moments and then open the door again.)

Staff Member: “No, you can’t come in. We’re not open yet.”

Me: *looking at our high-visibility shirts, buckets of water, and poles to reassure myself* “Um, we’re not here to shop.”

Staff Member: “Oh, I’m sorry! Hey, do you have water there?”

Friend: “Yes…?”

Staff Member: “Because there’s a mark on the outside wall that I can’t get off. I think it’s wee. Could you clean that while you’re here?”

Both Of Us: “…”

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Ridiculousness Is In Full Bloom

, , , | Right | April 11, 2019

(I work for a cleaning service. We get a new client and I’m assigned to clean the house. It’s a gorgeous spring day, so I open all the doors and windows as I’m cleaning and the scent of the garden comes in: lots of jasmine and daphne, as well as many other fragrant flowers. By the time I’m finished, the place smells divine. The client arrives back with several shopping bags just as I’m finishing.)

Client: “Oh, the house looks lovely. But why are all the windows and doors open?”

Me: “Just to give it a good airing out; I’m about to close them.”

Client: “Oh, yes? What’s that smell?”

(I’m nonplussed; has she literally never stopped to smell the flowers in her own garden?)

Me: “That’s the scent of all your lovely jasmine just under these windows here. Glorious, isn’t it?”

Client: “Oh, I don’t like that. Close the windows and use this, instead!”

(She pulled from her shopping bag a can of air freshener… jasmine scented.)

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