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.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

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


Support our journalism

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


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.