Stuff I Hate: Client Safety and Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome
By Scott Warrington
Safety! Safety! Safety! Safety! Safety should be a concern on every job. Your safety, your tech’s safety, client safety, and the safety of other occupants of the home you are cleaning — that has always been my number 1 policy.
But, occasionally, there are those customers who either have no concern for their own safety or are simply oblivious to the potential hazards of professional cleaning.
You know the one. The lady who stands so close behind you, watching every move, that she is in danger of taking your elbow to the gut with every backstroke of your wand. Or your solution temperature is flying higher than 200 degrees Fahrenheit and the customer decides to help by moving your hoses, and you see them reaching for the quick connect.
You have just cleaned the carpet on the stairs. The floor at the bottom is a beautiful polished marble. The customer insists on heading down the stairs carrying a laundry basket so full of clothes she can’t see over the top.
That is the customer I was working with when I was asked to clean her grungy kitchen tile. I was going to be mixing my tile cleaner on the strong side. I knew the fumes would not be helpful to the obviously pregnant lady of the house. She had disregarded every warning I had given her that day. So, I felt I had to be a little firmer and more direct to ensure client safety.
“Mrs. Jones, I’m going to have to insist that you remain back in the family room while I clean your kitchen. The odor will not be pleasant for someone in your delicate condition,” I said, as I lowered my gaze to her swollen belly.
The response to my concern for her safety was an icy stare. The South Pole could not have been colder. She told me firmly, “I am not pregnant.”
After that day, I switched to a powdered tile cleaner with wonderful citrus fragrance, something so safe that even the most pregnant of women could inhale it safely.
And… I learned never to comment on a women’s pregnancy unless I see a small head poking out from under a maternity dress. I recommend you heed that advice as well.
Scott Warrington manages education, customer service departments, and provides technical support for Aramsco/Interlink Supply, Hydro-Force, and Bridgepoint customers. He has more than 50 years of experience in the cleaning industry.