Deep Cleaning: A Play in Two Acts

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

We could all use a little entertainment today, couldn’t we? Here’s mine. A few days ago I went to Angie’s List and bought a deal for four hours of housecleaning (i.e., two people for two hours, four people for one hour, etc.). Here’s how it went down:

8:45 am, four cleaners arrive

Cleaner: Do you have any special requests?
Me: Nope. Just clean the house.

9:45 am, with about two-thirds of the house cleaned:

Cleaner: Our four hours is up! Do you want us to stay and clean the rest of the house?
Me: Um, what?
Cleaner: We charge by the hour, and you bought four hours.
Me: You couldn’t clean the whole house in four hours?
Cleaner: We clean a lot better than other people. This is a deep cleaning.
Me: A what?
Cleaner: When I came this morning, I asked if you wanted anything special.
Me: And I said I didn’t.
Cleaner: That means you wanted a deep cleaning.
Me: That’s what that meant?
Cleaner: Yep.
Me: Couldn’t you have just asked if I wanted a regular cleaning or a deep cleaning? Wouldn’t that have been a better way of making sure everything was clear?
Cleaner: The deal you bought was for a deep cleaning. If you call us back for regular service, we’ll do a normal cleaning.
Me: Oh.
Cleaner: So do you want to buy more time?

I passed on the additional time. But I admit I’m curious to get some feedback. It’s true that the listing for this service said it was a deep cleaning. Apparently I read the headline, which only said “housecleaning,” and didn’t read much further. I guess I should be more careful about reading all the fine print in the future.

And yet, surely this was an easy thing to clear up at the start. Did I want a regular cleaning of the whole house, or a deep cleaning of whatever could be done in four hours? I feel pretty annoyed by all this. Should I? Or am I the one at fault for not reading carefully enough?

UPDATE: Interestingly, opinion is split. A majority seems to be on the “you got ripped off” side, but a substantial minority says the service advertised a deep cleaning, and that’s what I got. I should have asked more questions if I wanted to make sure the whole house got cleaned.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend