Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Never Stop Learning

You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

This goes against my Virgo nature entirely! I want to please all the people all the time. I can't help it. Maybe it's a genetic defect or something.

So a few weeks ago an opportunity arose to make some extra money. And right now I'm sure we all could use a little extra money. Thru a connection I have I sometimes get the opportunity to clean houses that have gone into foreclosure but are in the process of being purchased. Hollywood and I have went in together and have done a few jobs. We go in and clean the best we can (in that some of these houses are trashed!) and do our part in making the place look it's best for the soon to be owners. WE never actually speak to the new owners, we go in clean and get paid. It normally works well.

This time was a little different. The house had already closed and the owners asked my contact if they knew of anybody to do a pre-move-in cleaning. Hollywood and I were recommended. We go with the contact to check out the house. The house is in excellent condition and appears to be a breeze compared to the past houses. No trash to haul off, no cabinets to clean out - just clean, polish and shine. Seemed easy enough. But something in my gut told me not to take the job.

Hollywood and I cover exactly what is expected of us and due to the size of the house we set a price.

Several days pass and my contact confirms to me that Hollywood and I have the job.

Still I am filled with a sense of foreboding. But foolishly I push the feelings aside.

This past Saturday Hollywood and I arrived at the house a little before 9 a.m. and begin to unload the car. Once inside Hollywood sorts thru the cleaning supplies and I plug in the radio. I mean got to have music to keep up beat, right?

Like an unspoken agreement we know which areas are ours and I immediately begin to fill my bucket with a mixture of Murphy's Oil and water. First I vacuum out the cabinets and drawers and then I begin to scrub..... all 26+ kitchen cabinets. We work silently every once in awhile humming to the music or verifying that something has already been done. We mop, clean windows, dust light fixtures, polish doors, wipe down iron staircase rods............. and the list goes on and on and on.

Shortly after 3 I am finishing vacuuming out the last air vent as Hollywood puts the finishing touches on the kitchen counter. We turn off the water, drain the water lines (per instructions) and do a final walk thru. Everything looks spotless.

The nagging feeling I get deep inside is still present. As Hollywood loads the car I go thru the house again trying to reassure myself everything looks good. I admit to myself that it does, yet the feeling remains.

Yesterday Hollywood calls me and says the people are dissatisfied, and were very rude to her over the phone. She apologized and said that we have never had a complaint and of course we would make it right. She asks the husband and wife what was wrong. They begin to list things that were not discussed previously, mainly exterior stuff when it was made very clear upfront that we cleaned interior only. The only exception we had made when we gave them the quote was that we would clean the 2 decks and front porch of all leaves and debris. Which we did.

Hollywood tells them this and despite their rudeness apologizes for any confusion on our part and says we will return and complete the things on their list. Because it's obvious at this point they are looking for an excuse not to have to pay us.

The woman snidely remarks, "and the garage doesn't even look as if it were touched."

According to Hollywood she kept her calm, and reminded the woman that when we did the pre-walk thru she said just to sweep the out the garage if we had time, that it was no big deal it would get dirty again soon anyway. As if it were no big deal. Thankfully I could tell this lady would be a bitch so I swept the garage out - clearing out the dirt, grim, and leaves. Hollywood explains to her that we did sweep out the garage but again we are sorry she is dissatisfied and we will be sure to go over it again.

I perhaps take all this to personal. Because:
A) I have never had a bad job review
B) I am an over achiever

and also of course I hate that my contact recommended us and this may now reflect on them.

Sometimes it really helps to just vent.

I think that it is important that we never stop learning. And despite, or inspite, of this situation I have learned a few lessons:

1. Next time get the expectations/instructions in writing beforehand

2. Take before and after pictures so that the "he said - she said" part is eliminated and we will have proof of what the place looked life before we cleaned.

3. Always listen to your gut instinct..... from the get go my gut was telling me not to take this job. I just knew it. Normally I go with my instincts, from here on out I will try to ALWAYS go with my instincts.

And for my Virgo, people pleaser, can't stand negative feedback, wants to please everybody - personality.... well I don't think there is much I can change about that.
Ross, (About Chandler cleaning the apartment) "Look, Chandler, Monica is really weird about this kind of stuff. Believe me, I lived with her for sixteen years. She is going to freak out. Oh my God, she's going to sit on you."

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