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To hate the way some people talk to cleaners?

(102 Posts)
clairemcnam Fri 01-Mar-19 12:55:47

Or anyone else they see as below them.
I have seen this in a variety of workplaces, both small private firms, the public sector and universities. Staff with well paid jobs being patronising, talking down to people and making it clear that they think they are better off than cleaners and any other staff with a low status. I hate it, and yet it is fairly common.

IHeartKingThistle Fri 01-Mar-19 13:02:52

I'm a teacher and all our cleaners are Nepalese. I always say hello and thank you and have a little chat but I think largely they're used to being invisible and not being talked to. It makes me a bit uncomfortable tbh.

Bobbiepin Fri 01-Mar-19 13:05:19

Also a teacher. I always chat to the cleaners, make the effort to know security by name and a little about them and I try my best to be lovely to my TAs (after all they are there to help). I judge people by how they treat those in "lower" jobs, having worked in those jobs myself. People are people and deserve to be treated with respect.

clairemcnam Fri 01-Mar-19 13:13:15

Yes I too judge people by how they treat those in low status jobs. Always a sign of someone who is really pretty nasty underneath, irrespective of how lovely they seem at other times.

tobee Fri 01-Mar-19 13:13:47

My usual observation is that people don't talk at all.

clairemcnam Fri 01-Mar-19 13:15:22

You don't say hello to cleaners or other low status staff such as low paid admin workers or security?

MsTSwift Fri 01-Mar-19 13:16:08

Our cleaners talk to me - a lot - which is nice but tricky when working from home and have to get a document out. I like to think I treat everyone the same.

GregoryPeckingDuck Fri 01-Mar-19 13:17:53

Ive literally never seen this. Usually the cleaning crews come in after hours. When I have seen them around it’s usually a combination of hellos and British sorries. Sorry for being in your way, sorry for sitting on my chair, sorry for working so late, sorry for existing in the first place. I’ve never seen anyone belittle or talk down to anyone though.

PumpkinPie2016 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:20:18

Another teacher and I always make time to speak to our cleaners and site staff. Sadly, I think I'm one of a few.

It drives me mad when people think they are better than others.
After all, where would we be without cleaners!

anniehm Fri 01-Mar-19 13:20:30

Dh remarked on this - his colleagues were bemused that he bought a Christmas gift for his office cleaner. Alas university now contracts out so it's a random person these days, he liked chatting to her

Fernie6491 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:23:13

I used to work in a busy NHS office. We had a permanent cleaner, who was treated the same as all of us clerical staff, she was always included in our conversations, evenings out, Christmas 'do's', etc. She did an important valuable job, just as the rest of us did.
None of us would have dreamed of treating her any other way!
Having said that most people when they left said they wouldn't miss the work, but would miss the people. We were incredibly happy and, I think, incredibly lucky that we all got on so well.

clairemcnam Fri 01-Mar-19 13:28:34

annie He sounds lovely. I have found RG universities the worst for this. The way some of the top academics speak to anyone doing a low status job is awful.

FissionChip5 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:30:26

A good ten years ago I was a cleaner for an office, it came to xmas time and the office manager left gifts on a table for all staff memebrs including me. When I went to get my gift it was just and empty bag, someone had stolen the gift. I told the manager, they put out a been gift for me to collect on my next shift and someone had stolen it again! angry
I was so pissed off that I just walked out and left them in the hands of the cover cleaner who liked to use shit rags on desks .

Piffle11 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:32:16

I was talking to a couple of tradesmen about this just the other day. A lot of their work is on a smart estate nearby, and they said a lot of the people they are working for treat them as 'less than'. My DM's friend was a cleaner, and a couple of her clients were very snotty towards her. One of them had a son about 16, and he would leave notes pinned to his door saying 'Cleaner!! Do NOT enter my room, understand?' When she was cutting back on work they were the first to go! My DH used to be a partner in a little firm and they would take their cleaner on all the office nights out, she was one of the staff just like everyone else.

Witchesandwizards Fri 01-Mar-19 13:35:18

I work in a big office and we always have cleaners buzzing around. I treat them like I treat any other member of staff I don't know by name - hold doors open for them (do this a lot because we have security doors and they are pushing trolleys) and smile when I walk past them in the corridor
Same with security - always a cheerful good morning/good night.

But I don't 'talk' to them par se, just like other staff members I don't know.

IHaveBrilloHair Fri 01-Mar-19 13:35:22

My cleaner has become a great friend, we chat all the time, in messenger etc aswell as when she's here, plus we do stuff for each other, I've lent her my car, she's got shopping for me, has printed me stuff, is helping get my teenager a job.

I used to be a cleaner in a Care Home and all the staff were fine, some of the residents families ignored us but we were never bothered really.

LoisWilkerson1 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:41:58

A teacher friend of mine was outraged that the school cleaner goes to America every year. I pointed out just because someone is in a low paid job, doesn't mean they don't have moneyhmm My cousin is a property developer and works in Asda part time.
I work in a low paid job now as it fits in with the kids, hasnt and wont always be the case. I can't abide job snobbery.
I agree it says more about them than the cleaner.

IHaveBrilloHair Fri 01-Mar-19 13:45:18

My cleaner went to America last year!
She brought me back a huge list of stuff I asked for.

MotorcycleMayhem Fri 01-Mar-19 13:48:46

I agree - I always judge people by how they treat people around them, especially in the service industry such as cleaning.

Unfortunately our office cleaner is a massive time drainer as he won't stop talking to you, tries to read what you're doing and is also full of shit

He claims to have been an Army sniper and to be ex-SAS hmm hmm hmm and has several younger colleagues convinced with his crap. So I smile, nod, say hello, move all my stuff out the way for him and crack on with my headphones on as usual. That and his incessant sniffing drives me mad, but I'm weird about noises anyway.

tobee Fri 01-Mar-19 13:49:04

@clairemcnam Not me. Other people. Been on the receiving end. Holding doors open for people and they just walk through like I don't exist. And the door's just magically opened for them. hmm

Spudlet Fri 01-Mar-19 13:52:23

IME, this is as much an office culture thing as anything else. My last office was very much 'we are all in it together and we will all pull together' and the cleaners were as much a part of the team as anyone. It no doubt helped that the CEO led by example but I think it was pretty ingrained anyway. You needed to have that sort of mindset to get along and anyone who didn't just wouldn't have stayed. It was a bit of a virtuous circle in that respect.

However in other places I have worked it was unfortunately different, with senior staff generally talking down to juniors and so on. And I know from the experiences of friends who have done cleaning work as students (including DH in his time) that this can be pretty common.

I judge people who are unkind or rude to those that they perceive as less important as well. It tells you an awful lot about a person, imo.

stevie69 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:57:28

*Or anyone else they see as below them.
I have seen this in a variety of workplaces, both small private firms, the public sector and universities. Staff with well paid jobs being patronising, talking down to people and making it clear that they think they are better off than cleaners and any other staff with a low status. I hate it, and yet it is fairly common.*

Haven't seen it happening at my place of work, which is a large organisation.

pud1 Fri 01-Mar-19 13:58:52

My mum was a cleaner in a hospital. She died at aged 59 in the same hospital whilst she in effect still worked there although she had been off for 5 months due to her cancer. I know this is extreme circumstance but she died on the ward she regularly cleaned on. The humanity and respect she was shown by the staff on the ward as well as the wider staff within the hospital was humbling. So many of them from doctors to porters and other domestic staff popped in on breaks to see her and at the later stages to see me to check I was ok. It was evident that she was part of the team and they were losing one of there own. She had worked there 15 years and to be fair mum was never one to just blend in.
It’s a shame that this is not the case everywhere. I hate that we are in a society that not everyone recognises the importance of an honest days work regardless of job title.

hadwebutworldenoughandtime Fri 01-Mar-19 14:12:14

I have been on the receiving end of this (not as a cleaner). Was working as a shop assistant while I studied for my Masters when we had a duty manager covering holiday. She was really quite patronising and rude till during conversation she asked me about past education/ jobs, managed to drop in, 'My first degree was in...'. Her attitude took a total turn around. Sadly my opinion of her didn't.

Also volunteering for large national art gallery I was 'loaned' to a different department and can honestly say that I have never been treated so rudely or with more contempt anywhere else. Shocking when I was giving up my time for free to help out. Nothing in our education levels or backgrounds hugely different just the prejudice people have based on someone's level of pay/ wealth. Have to say though that I have volunteered a lot and this was definitely not the norm in my experience.

These experiences mean I am always really careful to be considerate and polite to anyone in similar situations.

isseywithcats Fri 01-Mar-19 14:16:10

Im a cleaner in a restaurant and none of the management treat me and the other cleaners any different to any of the other staff, there is one chef who thinks hes god and talks to women in general like they are beneath him, but hes the same with all the females in the building except managers, so its nothing personal and not to do with my job, what he dosent know is i have a degree and do my job because the hours suit me so inside i just go sod off * and laugh, my other half is a lecturer at university so yes cleaners can go abroad for holidays if they have a high earning partner or husband

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