DEAR MISS MANNERS: My partner and I recently accepted reality -- that without outside ?intervention, the kitchen, and especially the bathroom, were never going ?to receive the weekly attention they needed. We hired two women to ?do the work we can't seem to get done, despite the tiny apartment space ?we share.
But just before that, I had read that when one goes on vacation, thus ?negating the need for housekeepers, the housekeepers still need the ?money (more than us) and therefore, we should pay them for our weekly ?service, even though we won't be using their service.
I would have to ?have an extravagant vacation period to allow the costs to get serious; ?and quite frankly, I don't get that much time off. So it's not the ?money, but what is right? If I go away for two or three weeks, do I pay ?for each week, or make a token payment, or, what?
Also, where is the ?line between me cleaning for the housekeepers, and letting them do that ?for which they were hired?
Our agreement does not include dishwashing. I ?don't mind leaving a cup or two, and/or something else not requiring ?scrubbing, in the sink, but I will do my breakfast dishes before they ?arrive. I also try to get through the bathroom well before they ?arrive. I may not wipe down the tiles of the shower, or the sink, that ?morning, but neither will I subject them to any unpleasant aesthetics. ?
They are cleaning my apartment; they are not my mother when I was a ?child. I try to put papers and magazines away, or into recycling, and ?generally make the place ready for cleaning, not pick up.
GENTLE READER: That you understand that human beings make some kinds of messes that no one else should be expected to clean up for them is something that Miss Manners appreciates, as, no doubt, do your housekeepers. We need not go into specifics, she hopes. Less unappetizing chores, such as cleaning dishes, can be negotiated.
But if your idea is -- as it should be -- to provide a decent job, then you should be as fastidious about the work year as you are about each day. Decent jobs provide a reasonable amount of sick leave and vacation, which your housekeepers should have in proportion to the amount of time they work for you. And you should not have a lockout when you go on vacation. An alternative might be to have them come in then and do cleaning jobs that go beyond the weekly routine.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was invited to a Christmas party that is sponsored by a co-worker's wife. I was not told until the tickets were handed to me that there was going to be a charge for them. Money is tight and I probably would not have accepted the invitation had I known it was going to cost me anything.
I feel as though I have been scammed. At this point, am I obligated to pay for the tickets or should I send my regrets immediately?
GENTLE READER-When a friend pulls such a thing, it is a scam, Miss Manners agrees. When the office party is run that way, it is only a scam if there was no advance notice and no tradition by which everyone understands that this will be a cooperative venture. It is time to cancel your reservation.