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To think she's stealing from me? WWYD?

(105 Posts)
SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 10:40:54

I have a cleaner for 5 hours a week. She's a widowed older lady from an East European country, who's very pleasant and whose English has been improving tremendously in the 18 months she is here. And she is very fond of my 16 week old son. I've been considering asking her to do some babysitting outside of normal duties soon, as soon as I am ready to go out without him.

I went to get my boy a passport yesterday, but forgot some vital information so came home with the fee for the passport fast track still in my wallet (£87). I'd paid for a taxi out of that, about £13, with one of the twenties and put the change in a small bowl we keep by the door. I didn't buy anything else yesterday evening or go to the shop, just got home and made dinner for DH. I left my handbag in the hall last night and was feeding DS in my bed when she arrived at 8am. I went to pay her at 1pm and pulled out £40 from my wallet.. and that was all there was. The fiver was gone from the bowl and only the pound coins in it. I was a bit taken aback that there was so little there but I have been a bit thoughtless with money lately, losing track of things since DS was born, so didn't say anything at the time, wondering what the hell I could have spent it on. Also thought there was a good chance that DH might have taken the change from the bowl as he left before DS and I got up.

But it's the second time that I've noticed I've had much less in my wallet to pay her with than I thought I had. (After the first time i went through a phase of always bringing my bag into the bedroom at night, but habits slipped..) I raised it with DH when he got home and he said that he saw the change from the taxi in the bowl last night, but he didn't take it. So I think she may have taken it, but I can't prove anything. And I'm gutted.. She was the best cleaner I've had from this agency, very thorough, polite etc and great with my son. If I confront her and I've got it wrong, then I'm no further forward and I've insulted her. If I ring the agency then she's got a bad name. I'm sure very few other people are home but shut out of sight when she arrives with their purses lying around, but this is my home and I'm here with the baby and that won't change. I don't want to have to be extra-vigilant inside my own home.

What would you do?

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 10:43:05

Sorry, I wrote most of this late last night but DH interrupted me before I hit post, so please read "last night" as Tuesday night - she comes on a Wednesday.

DeepRedBetty Thu 24-Jan-13 10:44:20

For my own piece of mind I'd set a trap. Hopefully she won't take the bait, and you'll have to put it down to your own absent-minded-ness.

Numberlock Thu 24-Jan-13 10:46:53

First of all, you are absolutely 100% sure no one else could have taken it? Your husband hasn't forgotten he paid the window cleaner? No-one else has been in the house around the time it went missing?

I have been a bit thoughtless with money lately

And you're sure that you haven't forgotten you lent money to a friend/bought a bottle of wine on the way home/paid the window cleaner etc etc.

Crinkle77 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:50:31

DeepRedBetty has just suggested what I was about to. Set a trap. Is there any way you could set up a hidden camera? Do these people really think that no one is going to notice and that they will get away with it?

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 10:56:03

I came straight home from passport office in a taxi as DS had started screaming at the counters. No diversions en route. And the friend who was supposed to call round had cancelled earlier in the day so it was just me, DH and the baby for the evening.

I was wondering if I'd gone out again to sainsburys which is nearby and I often do, but just remembered that I'd defrosted dinner from the freezer and anyway I always pay by card there as I use the automatic tills.

Bugger.

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 10:59:12

The idea of a trap is appealing but I don't think I want to throw good money after bad...

FlatsInDagenham Thu 24-Jan-13 11:08:06

I think I would lay a trap too. It's not really throwing good money after bad is it - if she takes the bait you will sack her and no longer be putting any more money at risk. If she doesn't take it, you've lost nothing.

DeepRedBetty Thu 24-Jan-13 11:11:05

Agree, regard it as a long term investment in household security.

AlienReflux Thu 24-Jan-13 11:14:29

Hmmm tricky, you could just purposely leave another fiver somewhere, check it's there when she first comes in, have no one there the whole time, check when she leaves?

MrsReiver Thu 24-Jan-13 11:15:41

I don't think it's a waste of money if it gives you peace of mind, or evidence with which you can challenge her. A few quid just now offset against potential regular theft... seems reasonable to me.

Darksideofthe80s Thu 24-Jan-13 11:17:33

Next Wednesday only have £40 or however much you pay her in your purse, if when you come to pay her there is not enough there, say that's strange I ALWAYS check how much is in my purse, how can there not be enough in there now???
Pay her the difference, call the agency or police, and look for a new cleaner!

In the nicest possible way, I would hope it's just an episode of baby brain, and the above won't happen.

Numberlock Thu 24-Jan-13 11:18:11

One alternative is to tell the agency you no longer need a cleaner, no explanation necessary.

BiteTheTopsOffIcedGems Thu 24-Jan-13 11:27:35

We KNEW when someone was stealing from us, even though we couldn't believe it really and we did what you are doing - second guessing yourself.
Our friends son was stealing from us, it was horrible but its YOUR home, YOUR money. Stealing is not acceptable.

Umlauf Thu 24-Jan-13 11:32:51

Not sure about the money in your purse but regarding the money in the bowl.... This is very naive but.... Could she have possibly thought it was a tip? Only because I stupidly left about £30 in my hotel room once in Poland and it was gone, when I asked about it the hotel were really apologetic and gave it straight back saying it was customary for customers to leave tips in the ashtray thingy I'd left it in!

But that is probably a very long shot. I'd set a little trap and if the money does go again just dismiss her quietly without making a huge fuss with agency/police. She'll know why you dismissed her and will hopefully have had the scare she needed not to do it again in future...

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 11:52:33

Unlikely. I do often tip her, but I put it with her pay and always leave it in the same place on the counter. hmm

The bowl is on the hall table and a common repository for keys, coins, cufflinks etc. The fiver was gone but the pound coins were there.

I am probably going to take the coward's way out of just dismissing the agency. I haven't liked any of their other cleaners who tend to be young girls, from the one who left the place dirtier than she found it (not hoovering, just mopping so left wet cat hair all over the floor) to the one who couldn't stack a dishwasher (plates face down in the top and bottom rack, think she got about six into the otherwise empty machine before she announced it was full...) so i thought I'd struck gold here. Bah. confused

aufaniae Thu 24-Jan-13 11:58:21

Setting a trap shouldn't be too hard.

Does your computer have a web cam in it? You could use that.

Or even better, a video camera if you have one (cover the light with tape).

nickelbabe Thu 24-Jan-13 12:01:43

there's a chance she'd seen the money in the bowl and put it in the drawer for safety?

could you ask her if she's seen ity?
y'know, go tothe bowl and say "i'm sure i'd put a fiver in there, did you move it?"
that's not an unreasonable thing to ask a cleaner.

Cosmosim Thu 24-Jan-13 12:03:11

You're not sure, you might have been thoughtless, she's great at her job, you wanted to entrust her with the care of your baby.... but you'd rather fire her than be sure you're even right?

Really? If your employer fired you because he/she thought you might be stealing but wasn't even sure, I'm pretty sure you'd be bringing them into a tribunal

MrsMushroom Thu 24-Jan-13 12:05:07

I think setting a "trap" is wrong on many levels. It's highly unlikely she's taking money. She works for an agency! I think you need to think again about who else could have taken it or whether you dropped it.

If you must, leave some money in the dish and set up a webcam.

EuroShagmore Thu 24-Jan-13 12:15:57

Why does working for an agency make it less likely that she is taking the money?

AlienReflux Thu 24-Jan-13 12:17:49

It might have blown off when the door opened? Have you had a good look?

Make sure the fiver didn't blow somewhere - that's happened to me if there's a draught near the front door.

I'd have her round one more time, leave a small amount of money around again, and see if it disappears. If it does you will know without a doubt if she is taking money from you.

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 12:29:08

Cosmo, that's the catch, isn't it? Either I've grievously wronged her or she's grievously wronged me - but the thought of the latter makes me so uncomfortable at having her in my home again. It's my home and my refuge after all.

What's weighing on me most is the fact that its not the first time I've noticed a large sum missing. I am absent-minded and don't use much cash on a daily basis but there are still days when you've just taken money out the night before and you know how much should be there, and to find £30 or £40 gone from your purse is a shock... (I pay for almost everything I can by card as I get points back).

The fiver in the bowl on the hall table is just the one place that both DH and myself have noticed it. It's the money missing from the purse in my handbag that bothers me more than a fiver here or there. It would be hard to booby-trap that as I usually dump it in the hall, not near the PC.

But yes, it is possible although unlikely that I could have dropped it when paying the cabbie I suppose. Unlikely because there was £30 gone from my wallet and I pulled out a £20 to pay him, and while I may not have noticed a single other note fluttering to the ground I'm sure I'd have noticed two notes falling. There was no one else in my home and I didn't go out the evening after getting back from passport office. I got home at 4pm, sulked over my stupidity at not getting my countersignatory to fill the form out properly, made dinner, DH got home, we bathed DS, put him to bed and watched a DVD. I wasn't flooded with light-fingered visitors...

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