by Egi Gaisie

Everyone had a story to tell. It was my first time taking on a job to clean hotel guestrooms in a large and busy hotel chain. That was several years ago.

I had received an orientation on quality cleaning of guestrooms but the stories my colleagues told me about their varied encounters even if I should follow the established procedure (knocking three times and announcing, ‘housekeeping’) sent shivers down my spine.  Did I really want to do this job? I prayed and hoped that I would never come across such situations- a nude man just out of the bathroom, a guest who had hanged himself, a room abused by the occupant and several other stories which I leave to tell another time.

Of more recent times, however, I have had to spend much more time in the house. My passion for housekeeping may account for my concerns on how the house is maintained. Often the services of ‘various hands’ are sought to assist, but I always dread the experiences I am likely to encounter with them. Collectively, they are referred to as artisans: plumbers, electricians, painters, bricklayers, tilers, welders, carpenters, gardeners etc. Their services do not come cheap. They usually get their jobs through recommendations from their own clients. Upon presentation of an invoice they are given the amount they need to purchase the materials. Yet when they are ready to carry out their tasks, they ask; ‘do you have a ladder? a wheel barrow, etc? (Equipment I thought they should have acquired).

Have you observed that many complete their tasks leaving the house littered and dirty irrespective of how well kept the house was before they arrived? Painters do not seem to see spots and splashes of paint they have stained the floors, the plants and ladder you provided them with; carpenters and masons leave debris of broken down cement works, piles of left over sand and stones even after they have ‘cleaned’. Sometimes damages are caused and all they can say is ‘sorry’.

I had two coconut trees aged about 35 years which had grown too tall and needed to be cut. I called up one who convinced me he could cut them. I was not at home when he carried out the operation with his colleague. When I returned the coconut trees had fallen on to my office destroying the structure, furniture and fittings. Should you pay him the already negotiated fee?

By the time a mason who had been recommended to me by a friend completed his tasks in the house, he had painted a pavement he was tasked to construct with red paint when I knew there was no such cost item on his invoice!

A carpenter coming to replace ceilings spread out about 12 pieces of 4 by 8 sheets of plywood right on the lawn in front of the entrance to the house!

You may be using an artisan for the first time. Even if recommended, take a few moments to have him/her explain how they intend to carry out the task. Subtly draw his/her attention to concerns and watch over the work occasionally.

They work as though they are on a construction site. You will avoid these daytime nightmares in your own house.

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