I have always said that the only praise I need for cleaning houses is to be paid. Paid, and -hopefully- re-booked. Both really, but if nothing else, I would settle for the latter. People always pay-up…eventually. However, the occasional gifts, notes, and seemingly endless ‘thank-yous’ I get are never the less most welcome.
The most unusual compliment I ever got was from a confirmed bachelor who, due to his work commitments , I only ever met about four or five times in as many years. He was adorable. Anyway, I’d been working for him for near enough six months when he happened to be at home on the day I was going round. We chatted, and I asked “So…is everything alright with your cleaning?”.
“Stephen”, he said, putting on his coat, “I have no idea what you do in this place. All I know is that my home never looked this good when the last lot used to come here. It was even worse when they left and I tried to do it myself. Whatever it is that you do, all I ask is that you promise never to do it any differently”. And with that he picked up his keys and walked out the front door.
Strange, I thought. It did get me thinking though. I mean I too am guilty of sticking to what I like best. Being cultured, I’m no stranger to a Harvester, yet once I'm there, I always order the same meals. It’s the same with cleaning products too. I’ve been buying the same trusty few for what seems like an eternity. I remember well the value-range cream-cleaner shortage of 2011, when I couldn’t get it in any of the usual shops. Fearing it had been discontinued for good, I asked several friends and family members to keep one eye open for it and to buy what they could get, if they happened to find any.
Actually, that was a big mistake.
I’d forgotten all about it and months later, when the cream-cleaner was back on the shelves, I went out and stocked-up. As did everyone who I had asked to do the same. Beggar. I was inundated with bottles and bottles of the stuff. It cost me a fortune and I don’t think I’ll ever get through it in my lifetime. In fact, there’s 10 unopened bottles sat next to me as I type this.
But if there is one thing I loathe more than when something I buy all the time goes off sale, it’s when something I buy all the time suddenly carries that terrible tagline “Now even better!”.
Or, "Our best ever!"
Or worse still “Improved!”. Usually in capitals, if you please. I go cold when that happens.
Really I do. I sink into a depression. First of all I feel cheated. Cheated, because having been led to believe that something was the best on the market, I suddenly find out they were lying all along. Added to which, I feel like I’ve cheated my customers too. Where once I prided myself for achieving a whiter-than-white finish on an avocado bathroom suite, I now realise it was all a sham.
But worst of all is knowing that in spite of the ‘improvements’ made to an already fantastic product, there is a very good chance that the ‘even better’ version is, well, actually worse than the one they are now saying was no bloomin’ good at all.
I hate it when that happens.
I stopped buying a kitchen spray cleaner after the manufacturers decided to make it better. It smelt vile and it didn’t clean as well as the one they used to make. And don’t get me started on floor cleaners. Out went the Pine, the Ocean Fresh, and the Lavender, and in came a range of rancid concoctions which seemed to leave the houses smelling worse than when I’d started. Granted I couldn’t ever prove what the ocean smelt like so as to confirm either way that aroma of my old floor cleaner was both ocean-like and fresh, but the point is, it was much, much easier on the nose than the new one.
I think the most redundant so-called improvement came in the form of the food we buy for our dogs. They get half a tin each, morning and evening. Each meal lasts approximately 30 seconds as they compete to trough-down the contents in as short a time as possible. So, when their regular food claimed to be from a new, tastier recipe (and one which the makers seemed keen to point out my dog would love –how they know this, I don’t know) I did wonder if my hungry mutts might carefully and delicately eat each chunk individually and take time to savour every new-and-improved mouthful.
They just stuck their faces deep into the dish and competed to trough-down the contents in as short a time as possible. It lasted approximately 30 seconds. Funny that. And new recipe or not, it still stank. I hate the smell of dog food, me. They should make a dog food which is ‘Ocean Fresh’. Now THAT would be an improvement worth paying for.