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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.

vampirethriller Fri 01-Mar-19 14:18:37

I worked as a cleaner in a university years ago whilst waiting for another job to start. I was cleaning a room while two lecturers were discussing their holidays. One had just come back from Rome. She caught my eye and smiled and said "You won't know where that is. It's in Italy."
I've got a degree in ancient Roman history actually...

How2Help Fri 01-Mar-19 14:28:24

You won't know where that is. It's in Italy. I've got a degree in ancient Roman history actually...

Please say you said that out loud!?

OKBobble Fri 01-Mar-19 14:37:33

When I first employed a cleaner and a childminder and they both lived in swankier houses than me. The cleaner did her job to earn money to fund her sons' golf lessons and extra curricular. Luckily she never spoke down to me.

thecatsthecats Fri 01-Mar-19 14:46:05

My cleaner is my best employee, does her work to a brilliant standard and you can prize her from my cold head hands but I do vastly enjoy the fact that I never have to speak to her blush

It's semi mutual, because she thinks everything I like is super weird from my music to my decor, and I've run out of polite and jovial responses to the very rude things she says about my stuff.

However - she does a cracking job, I trust her absolutely (she'd hardly want to nick anything!) and I always tip. We're both happy!

showmethegin Fri 01-Mar-19 14:56:46


I was an office temp a few years ago and they offered me a permanent contract, one of the main reasons I turned it down was how despicably rude they were to the cleaners. I thought it said a lot about the ethos of the place and the attitudes of the people that worked there. Not people I would like to spend 40 hours a week with!

GorkyMcPorky Fri 01-Mar-19 21:17:33

As a teacher I find this doesn't happen in schools. I recently fancied a change and spent a couple of years in the NHS. Couldn't believe the number of band 7+ (so many of them!) who behaves as if the freedom to choose their own clothes have them carte blanche to patronise and talk down to low grade staff.

CoolJule43 Fri 01-Mar-19 21:35:19

I don't see cleaners as lower status. I'm a middle manager and make a particular point of always chatting to cleaners, security, receptionist. What would we do without them?
Everyone has a job to do and plays to their strengths.

MarieIVanArkleStinks Fri 01-Mar-19 21:39:25

The cleaners at home and work are without exception friendly, lovely human beings. I'm also a university lecturer, and have thankfully never witnessed in my workplace the kind of behaviour mentioned above. Lecturing in itself isn't the highly-valued occupation it once was, which is perhaps the reason some of them like to kick those they see as 'beneath' them. Says much about their own insecurity.

The one instance of this I've witnessed personally was on a Cunard cruise, when a fellow passenger treated a member of the waiting staff (from the Philippines; they wore badges stating their country of origin) absolutely appallingly. She was bellowing in his face, calling him 'boy' and uttering such disgusting, casual racist and 'classist' unpleasantries that I felt forced to call her out on it. She ranted that my language was intemperate (it was) but mine was a darned sight more polite than the language she'd used with him. I gave the guy my cabin number and told him if there were any repercussions he should ask his direct manager to contact me and I'd set things straight.

I loved the cabin staff from the Philippines. We always talked and they told me about their customs, including wishing me a happy birthday when it wasn't my birthday because I was wearing red. Apparently that's a tradition of theirs!

People are such snobs.

MarieIVanArkleStinks Fri 01-Mar-19 21:40:55

OKBobble I love your post! smile

Prisonbreak Fri 01-Mar-19 21:47:44

I can’t speak to my cleaner. She is 100% deaf and German. She can sign but again in German. I can sign but in English. We communicate through a text translation app.

Mammyloveswine Fri 01-Mar-19 21:49:09

I'm.a teacher and I always have a chat with the cleaners.. they ask about my kids and I ask about theirs. Tbh i don't know anyone who doesn't just chat to people they work with!

1Redacted1 Fri 01-Mar-19 21:55:11

We have cleaners around at work constantly and I’m always a bit shocked at how a lot of my colleagues ignore or speak rudely to them. I’ve always said hello, smiled and exchanged pleasantries with them and know a lot of them by name. It’s the same with the security guards - I cannot count the number of times they say good morning to people entering the building and are ignored. It just so rude.

One of the worst things is that because they all work for subcontracted companies, they get excluded from the big company annual party which is shameful. A number of us complained to HR about it but the company won’t budge which is shit.

lljkk Fri 01-Mar-19 21:58:17

I didn't know there was a German Sign language. confused
Thought BSL was standard across Europe.

Hayden555 Fri 01-Mar-19 21:59:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Stumpted88 Fri 01-Mar-19 22:00:17

We have a busy office and have people cleaning constantly on rotation around the floors.

I always say hello, etc etc. As I would with any other colleague.

However I feel so awkward to be at home when my home cleaners are here, almost like I am intruding in them!! I end up just mumbling a “oh hello”, blushing and apologising confused

Burlea Fri 01-Mar-19 22:00:55

Just after having our children I worked for Argos, our cleaners Sue and Brenda came out on our nights out. They were very good at bringing home made cakes in.
I've always treated people the way they treat me.
Remember everyone comes in to the world through birth and they all die to leave the earth.

Hayden555 Fri 01-Mar-19 22:01:25

Why would British Sign Language be standard across Europe?!!
Other countries are allowed their own sign language as well as their own language.

Livedandlearned Fri 01-Mar-19 22:04:12

I'm a cleaner in peoples homes and i find this type of thing happens quite a lot.

In fact its one of the reasons that I'm looking for another job.

lljkk Fri 01-Mar-19 22:08:22

I thought I heard or read yrs ago (feck knows where) that there were only 3 distinctly well-developed & widely used sign languages in world: ASL, BSL & Nicaraguan. I'm happy to be corrected from this ignorance, though.

LyndzB Fri 01-Mar-19 22:09:13

I used to work in a university and witnessed this a lot from some academics. Some were very snotty towards the cleaners. One lecturer used to 'plant' things in her office to catch the cleaner out if she hadn't managed to clear it. Even though they were given very little time to clean each room.

Funny enough these lecturers were the first to get annoyed if you didn't go on strike with them so they could get better pay/benefits - not having a clue that many people just cannot afford to lose a day of work.

This was just a small few academics, the majority were truly lovely but those few really do stick in my mind!

embarrassedcleaner Fri 01-Mar-19 22:10:38

I have name changed for this because i'm so utterly humiliated and ashamed.

I work part time as a domestic cleaner. I'm on my own with my dd, and also do a lot for my mum who is in her 70 and very frail.

This work fits around my girl and my mum - I worked as an office admin ( so no high flyer!)before her father walked out. Mostly it's been great and the people I clean for are lovely and I'm so honoured that I'm trusted in homes.

I have one client both she and her husband are consultants -:the husband does private work in the US and is away a lot. They have a lovely home - the wife is both beautiful, generous and charming.

At least once a month he has a wank in his shower and cuts his pubes and sneerily asks me to ' make sure you give the shower unit a good clean'

My dd is 11 and has won a place at a really good selective school today - I'm so happy. My plan is to study in September so I can stop.

Most people are lovely and just want a competent trustworthy cleaner - but there are some real arsehole.

It's lovely to hear how you all value your cleaners. Thank you flowers

Livedandlearned Fri 01-Mar-19 22:16:01

@embarrassed cleaner find another client!

formerbabe Fri 01-Mar-19 22:20:19

Being a cleaner shouldn't be looked down upon. It can actually pay more per hour than office jobs. Yet because in the UK we have a weird class system, desk based jobs are seen as higher up the pecking order than manual jobs.

Froggyface Fri 01-Mar-19 22:22:58

I work in the NHS, our cleaners are treated equally as part of the team. I have never seen anyone talk down to them.

timeisnotaline Fri 01-Mar-19 22:24:47

I do find it hard to feel like I’m treating my cleaner as an equal as she doesn’t speak English. So smiles and hello of course but none of the usual small talk which does feel like I’m being rude. We use google translate and I do make sure I also use it to say let me know if my 3yo is in your way etc. I dislike feeling rude , she seems very nice.

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