Deep Cleaning: A Play in Two Acts

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We could all use a little entertainment today, couldn’t we? Here’s mine. A few days ago I went to Angie’s List and bought a deal for four hours of housecleaning (i.e., two people for two hours, four people for one hour, etc.). Here’s how it went down:

8:45 am, four cleaners arrive

Cleaner: Do you have any special requests?
Me: Nope. Just clean the house.

9:45 am, with about two-thirds of the house cleaned:

Cleaner: Our four hours is up! Do you want us to stay and clean the rest of the house?
Me: Um, what?
Cleaner: We charge by the hour, and you bought four hours.
Me: You couldn’t clean the whole house in four hours?
Cleaner: We clean a lot better than other people. This is a deep cleaning.
Me: A what?
Cleaner: When I came this morning, I asked if you wanted anything special.
Me: And I said I didn’t.
Cleaner: That means you wanted a deep cleaning.
Me: That’s what that meant?
Cleaner: Yep.
Me: Couldn’t you have just asked if I wanted a regular cleaning or a deep cleaning? Wouldn’t that have been a better way of making sure everything was clear?
Cleaner: The deal you bought was for a deep cleaning. If you call us back for regular service, we’ll do a normal cleaning.
Me: Oh.
Cleaner: So do you want to buy more time?

I passed on the additional time. But I admit I’m curious to get some feedback. It’s true that the listing for this service said it was a deep cleaning. Apparently I read the headline, which only said “housecleaning,” and didn’t read much further. I guess I should be more careful about reading all the fine print in the future.

And yet, surely this was an easy thing to clear up at the start. Did I want a regular cleaning of the whole house, or a deep cleaning of whatever could be done in four hours? I feel pretty annoyed by all this. Should I? Or am I the one at fault for not reading carefully enough?

UPDATE: Interestingly, opinion is split. A majority seems to be on the “you got ripped off” side, but a substantial minority says the service advertised a deep cleaning, and that’s what I got. I should have asked more questions if I wanted to make sure the whole house got cleaned.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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