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?

I'd set a trap too.
Put £5 in the bowl again and also put an extra £30 on top of the £40 in your purse and leave it where it was before.
Mark all of notes with your initials in one corner and if any goes missing you can challenge her and ask to see what money she has and IF your initialled note is there then you know for sure.
I really hope it's not her and hope you get to keep her.
Good luck!

cluelesscleaner Thu 24-Jan-13 16:04:59

I'm a cleaner and I would be mortified if my customers thought I was stealing from them but, I'm also not that naive and know that if anything were to go missing I'd be the first person they'd point the finger at - occupational hazzard of the job!

But I don't agree with you filming her and if I found out that my customers were keeping tabs on me this way I wouldn't work for them.

It seems you have two choices; confront her over it and certainly the method I'd prefer or if you want to keep here ensure that you leave no money laying around in future.

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Jan-13 16:07:03

I agree, set a trap, set £5 in the bowl and make sure you have £10 more than you need to pay her in your purse, see if either go missing.

If they do, then let the agency know.

Quite frankly, you aren't her employer, she's not your employee, she's employed by the agency, you are a client of the agency, not her directly. To a certain extent, once you know it's not your problem. Refuse to have her in your house, if you feel comfortable having someone else from that agency, then say so, if not, cancel your contract with them altogether. What they do next, how they deal with her, check with her other clients, is not your problem, that's the agency's problem. They also will probably be falling over themselves to keep you happy - a cleaning company can't afford to have the reputation of having lightfingered employees - alot of cleaners (including ours) go in to people's houses when they are out at work. It's not a business you last long in with a reputation of being untrustworthy, even if your cleaning is great...

susanann Thu 24-Jan-13 16:15:26

Many years ago when my kids were quite young some money went missing from my purse. I hadnt been out so I knew I hadnt spent it. After a while I came to the conclusion that one of the kids must have taken it. When my dh came home I told him, but I hadnt said anything to the kids at this time. Anyway I went upstairs for something and there on my bed was a bag of stuff that the Avon lady had delivered earlier. Boy did I feel guilty! Just a thought OP.

Wallace Thu 24-Jan-13 16:30:57

Are you sure it was £30 missing?

If you had £87 in your purse and used £20, that makes £67. you had the £40 left to pay her so only £27 was missing. £7 is easy to forget because it is loose change. A £20 note could have fallen out when you paid the taxi, or you could have handed over two notes stuck together.

Unless of course you had £90 in which case I'm wrong grin

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 24-Jan-13 16:33:10

Wallace , is your real name Hercule? grin

bringnbuy Thu 24-Jan-13 16:38:30

when i was a teenager a million years ago and lived at home my m&d had a cleaner. nice girl who was young. for a long time before i knew for sure i thought she was stealing from me as my spliff used to always be smaller than i had remembered come monday evening (she used to come monday morning). so i set a trap. i scored some fresh gear and put it in the usual storage pot. monday evening is two 2/3d's smaller with finger prints all over it. so i went through my room and discovered she had taken LOADS of things (as i used to be a bit OCD and left everything in the draws etc really tidy/organised). BUT i didn't want to get her in trouble, i thought give her another chance so without telling my mum i phoned her and asked her to meet me in a pub to talk about it (long story). she agreed, couldn't deny that she had taken the stuff only she said her boyfriend was a junky blah blah. so we arranged that every monday when she came to clean she would bring back some of the things she pinched off me and leave them under my bed. this actually worked and i got all my things back (minus one thing). sadly about 6/8 months later she started stealing from my mum (jewellery). she had to go at this point but i thought it would be good to give her another chance.

ModernToss Thu 24-Jan-13 16:40:44

I leave a piece of paper on top clearly dated and showing the amount

I did this with a babysitter who was clearly helping herself from a jar of five franc (two pound) coins. It never happened again.

I would be tempted to remove all temptation rather than confront.

Zalen Thu 24-Jan-13 17:03:16

Haven't read the whole thread, will do tonight at home but how about something like this if you want to set a trap, spy camcorder £20 and disguised as a car remote keyfob, uses a microSD card. You should be able to leave it lying around somewhere with a clear view of your handbag and watch it back on your PC later. Much more discreet than trying to use the webcam on your pc / laptop.

It has the added advantage of giving you absolute proof if you did want to complain to the agency, after all if she's doing this to you she could well be stealing from other families too!

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 17:06:50

Wallace, good sums grin I did have £90 in 3 x 20s and 3 x 10s, because I needed to make up the £87. I used one of the 20s and only had one 20 and two tens left.

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 17:10:34

I also agree that I should remove all temptation - it's just that when the money is in my wallet which is itself inside my handbag which I'm not wearing all round the house, I don't really consider it the same as "laying around".

The fiver is fair game though. I've just had some incredibly honest cleaners before, including a lovely polish girl who used to say "you've paid me too much!" Whenever I tipped her or left her extra. My old neighbors inherited her when I left the area, they loved her too.

somuchslimmernow Thu 24-Jan-13 17:26:16

I am a cleaner. I hate it if customers leave money lying around because I know where the finger would be pointed if it got mislaid. I would never steal anything from anyone but not everyone is so honest..tricky one.

aufaniae Thu 24-Jan-13 17:28:45

"I would be tempted to remove all temptation rather than confront."

But if she is a thief, and one who is willing to go in your bag, how do you know she won't move on to other valuables next?

Have you checked your jewellery?

SlowLooseChippings Thu 24-Jan-13 17:40:24

As for my jewellery, someone else got there first! I have very little jewellery as we were burgled 2 years ago just as we moved into this property (locks were faulty but we didn't find this out until we called a locksmith to change the locks)... and all my jewellery was still packed up in two easy to remove boxes, so the whole lot went apart from the earrings, necklace and rings I was wearing.

So now I have two necklaces, 3 pairs of earrings and my wedding rings, and that's it. My only other valuables are my phone and my son, neither of which are ever out of my sight!

TweedSlacks Thu 24-Jan-13 18:12:50

Why not try something slightly different , with the same potential outcome ?
Put alot of change in the pot by the door , a few £2 coins , a few £1 coins , and some 50p's , 20p's , 10p's and 5ps.

You count it out, and write down what you think it comes to . Get DH to count it and if you concur write that amount in pencil on the bottom of the pot.

You could do exactly the same with your purse, but dont leave the note in your purse , put it in as a book mark .

Then , when shes gone wait for DH to come home and reverse the checking .

Act normally , no need to hide anything or worry about £5 notes fluttering away in the wind , getting hoovered up ( I have when rushing around frantically cleaning ) . A £2 coin isnt going anywhere on its own .

Shame as she does sound lovely but this cannot continue

DontmindifIdo Thu 24-Jan-13 18:20:13

I really wouldn't want someone in my home I felt I had to hide things from. It's just all very wrong. You don't employ her so it's not like you have to go through any process to stop having her clean for you.

The trap of various options on here is a better way to go, that or cancel all together with that agency and find someone else/use a different agency. Once the trust is gone, you really can't have that person coming into your home.

DoJo Thu 24-Jan-13 23:30:43

If she did take the money from your purse (and we all seem to agree that it's a big if) then it is a little suspicious that exactly the correct amount for her wages was left behind. I suppose the other way to approach it would be to ask her outright without accusing her e.g 'I know that I had this money the other day when you were here - did you see anyone around who could have taken it/do you remember me spending it on window-cleaner/charity collection/door-to-door gigolo' or similar. That way you will be able to gauge her reaction without having to accuse her and she might actually be able to shed some light on the matter if it wasn't her.
Failing that, you could always go for a slightly more OTT version of the conversation such as confiding in her that you think you aren't coping with the baby as you are obviously spending more money than you realise but you don't remember it - does she think you're losing your mind? She'd have to be a pretty hard-faced cow to let you think you were cracking up if she knew it was her, so she might 'find' the money or similar if she did take it.
Just realised how sneaky I'm coming cross - I honestly don't really spend my time conducting pseudo psychological experiments on people, honest...

ariane5 Thu 24-Jan-13 23:43:24

I can completely understand your frustration about this as Iam at the end of my tether over our cleaner.

She wears our slippers and uses our mouthwash.

Quite a few things have recently gone missing-a box of chocolates,a new pair of earrings,a new gel eyeliner,hair oil,heat protection spray and a scratchcard that had won £15.

If we are not in she leaves about half an hour early (neighbours checked for me)
And she has obviously been doing her washing here when we are not in (found pair of her knickers and a top she had left them by mistake!).

Dh thinks we should set a trap like you have also been advised to do to get absolute proof.

I just want to sack her.

Hope you get to bottom of your problem and find out if your cleaner is also up to no good!

DeepRedBetty Fri 25-Jan-13 00:20:04

ariane5 why haven't you sacked yours yet???

Bet your DH would have understood better if his man-drawer had been rifled.

AlienReflux Fri 25-Jan-13 02:08:31

ariane sack her! bollocks to p proof! cheeky cow left her knickers!!

Yfronts Fri 25-Jan-13 07:19:20

What about setting a trap and then telling her that you know she is stealing. Give her a second chance if she agrees to stop. Tell her how hurt you feel.

diddl Fri 25-Jan-13 08:13:01

I wouldn´t set a trap-I´d sack her.

She´s either stealing, or you think she is.

It´s not workable anymore imo.

SucksToBeMe Fri 25-Jan-13 08:17:19

Ariane, she uses your mouthwash??? shock

ariane5 Fri 25-Jan-13 08:49:15

Yes!! First couple of times I noticed she would clean the bathroom then when she was chatting afterwards I could smell mouthwash v strongly but I wondered maybe she had her own with her.untill I saw her doing it the next time!

Dh keeps telling me not to sack her, that she's just quirky and she may not realise some of the things she does are wrong! He has tried to say our house is such a tip that the items missing are 'lost rather than stolen'.

When I'm there she does actually clean and tidy wonderfully and stays the 2 hrs but cuts corners/leaves early when I'm not there.

HintofBream Fri 25-Jan-13 09:59:40

Surely she trapped herself with her knickers.

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