You can always tell when the cleaner is away

by Julie Finch-Scally

Isn’t it a shame you can always tell when the cleaner is on holidays?  Why should I say this?  Because it means society has lost its ability to clean up after themselves. 

When I was running my cleaning business one of the things I used to tell new cleaners was, customers never notice what you do, but they always see what you miss.  And after a New Year weekend in Geneva it was noticeable that the building cleaner was on holidays.  There were empty coffee cups, cigarette packets, chocolate wrappers and cigarette butts laying around the courtyard and in the lift.

I had often seen the cleaner hosing down the courtyard in the mornings, so such debris was always washed away.  The whole area always looked neat and pristine.

This shows how much we rely on cleaners.  Seeing the state of the courtyard after the New Year weekend, made me realise how lazy society has become.  Because we know someone will clean up after us we don’t bother to take our rubbish home or pick up after ourselves.

As a child my mother made me pickup my bits.  But in so many homes now this is not the case.  Children pull out all their toys and leave them for someone else to put away.  No wonder when they become adults they do not think twice about dropping that empty packet of cigarettes on the ground and leaving it there, instead of placing it into a rubbish bin. 

The job of a cleaner is to clean.  Unfortunately over the past twenty to thirty years we have placed them in the role of servant, which means we expect them to pick up and tidy for us as well as clean.

One of the policies of my company was to ask customers to tidy up before the cleaner arrived.  This allowed the cleaner to do so much more work.  Picking up the mess left by the inhabitants left less time for the cleaning.  For some reason many customers didn’t understand that.  They thought because they were paying for someone to come in to clean it was OK to leave a mess.  After several cleans when less and less cleaning was being achieved, the customer started to complain, never seeing they were causing the problem.

For several years now I have been saying that Cleaners are the Hygiene Managers of the World, but society is just as responsible for hygiene as the cleaner.  If we want to keep our properties and cities clean we must learn to tidy up after ourselves as we once did.   




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