Deep Cleaning: A Play in Two Acts


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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