Like a lot of cleaners, when I first started in this business I would concentrate really, really hard on what I was doing, the area I was cleaning, and not so much on the area around me. Early on I was working by myself and, as I was working the wand, I moved back and put it right into a lamp, knocking it over and breaking it. It wasn’t an expensive lamp, but I felt really stupid and really bad, to the point that after I finished the job I said to the homeowner, “Ma’am, today’s job is free of charge.” She said not to worry, that it was fine, but I told her no, please buy another lamp, this cleaning is on the house.
So a few months later she calls and asks me to come back to clean again. What a break, she didn’t go to someone else! When I arrive I see that there’s a brand new lamp sitting on the table. This time, I was working with a helper, a young woman, and as we get close I tell her, “Whatever you do, when I get close to that table, you hold onto that lamp and don’t let it go ‘til I’m out of here.” “No problem,” she says. Well, for some reason, when I get there, she lets go of it, I still have no idea why, and I break it again.
I went to the customer, tears of anger in my eyes, and you guessed it, there’s another free job. I’ve never broken another thing since, because now I’m always holding the hose, always looking behind me, always aware of what’s back there. I don’t care who you are, you tell me, “Don’t worry, there’s plenty of room,”? That’s fine and all, and I believe you…but I’m still going to see for myself.