Deep Cleaning: A Play in Two Acts

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate