Help Needed

I have to wonder if many of the ads on craigslist are a joke. Or if the people posting them are using high quality, mind-altering drugs. I’m not sure in which category the following ad should be placed. Perhaps both.

This person is looking for someone to clean house, seemingly because the family is incapable of any household task, including hanging up their clothes. But I get ahead of myself. You will understand when you see the ad. I’ve taken the liberty of composing a suitable response.

Dear Sir or Madame,

I am writing in response to your recent ad saying that you “Need Housekeeping Help.”

Your ad asks for applicants to provide a “bid, time required and three client references” without the rather essential step of a physical inspection and without knowing whether or not you are providing cleaning supplies.

Please be advised that it is highly unlikely that the tasks listed can be completed in “one 8-10 hour day.” For example, one of the “services” listed is “approximately 6 loads [of laundry] weekly including bedding.” Since you seem unfamiliar with the process, let me explain that the first load can easily take 2 hours to complete, so that the entire time for 6 loads from start to finish (including “folding and putting away” and assuming you lack a commercial laundry operation somewhere in your home) could be 10-12 hours.

I’ve included some pertinent comments below on the services you want completed (in addition to the 12 hours of laundry) in “8-10 hours.” Providing the additional details as noted would help applicants to better respond to your ad.

Need Housekeeping Help (Pewaukee)

Looking for housekeeping help in Pewaukee. Please provide your bid, time required and three client references in your response.

[This language may strike some as a little off-putting. An opportunity to view the house would help applicants prepare a reasonable bid based on actual conditions – assuming they still wish to after seeing them – as well as clarify who is responsible for cleaning supplies and materials.]

You will be providing the following services. My hope is that they can be completed in one 8-10 hour day. [Please see above comment as to time. You might wish to revise your estimate to something more realistic (such as 16-20 hours) so that people don’t conclude that you are completely insane and decline to respond to your ad.] Please confirm or advise otherwise. Services would be required weekly.


– clean stove top [Do you routinely wipe it after cooking or will the help be required to spend several hours each week  removing an inch-thick layer of rock hard God-knows-what gunk – and if so, do you supply the hammer and chisel?]

– load and run dishwasher if necessary [Do you do this routinely during the week or will the help be confronted with a sink and counter piled high with a week’s worth of eating and cooking utensils?]

– put away dishes [Do you mean the clean dishes after the dishwasher cycle has ended and, if so, do you care if they are put away wet causing damage to your cabinets?]

– sweep and clean wood floor 12’x18′ [In light of the numerous cleaning methods available for hard surface floors, what do you mean by “clean”?]

– clean 15 linear feet of countertop and sink [Is the countertop empty thus cleanable in less than a minute or will the help have to spend an hour cleaning and moving a dozen different specialty gadgets, gizmos and small appliances?]

– empty garbage [Do you recycle? If not, why not?]

– put away misc kitchen items as needed [This could include anything from a stray llama to leftovers from an Addams Family reunion; please specify what “misc” includes and “as needed” means.]

Living Room

– put away kids toys and books [Please reconsider this item as experts agree that requiring children to do this themselves is an important part of not becoming Lindsay Lohan.]

– pick up clothes as neccesary [I encourage you to explore the many features offered by your computer including spell check. And could you elaborate regarding the “clothes”? Do you normally use your living room as a clothing repository? Do you lack closets or are you unacquainted with the purpose and use of hangers? And what do you want done with the clothes once they are picked up? Should they be tossed into the outgoing trash?]

– vacuum floor 16’x18′ [What kind of floor is this? Carpet, area rug, hard surface, or dirt?]

– dust mantel [Are these areas cluttered with knick-knacks needing dusting?]
– dust 6 shelves             “                                   “
– dust entertainment center and TV    “                                   “

Guest Room

– Wash bedding and remake queen bed [Did you know that if no one has used the bed the sheets don’t need to be changed?]

– Dust two windows, 5 book shelves and dresser top. [Okay – so any time you want something dusted, assume you need to say if the area is open or cluttered with crap that needs dusting.]

– Vacuum floor 12’x12′ [Again – knowing the type of flooring is kinda helpful.]

Bathroom One

– pick up clothes and dirty towels for washing [Most rational adults place dirty clothes and towels into a container called a laundry basket or hamper. They also find it distasteful and a possible health code violation to pick up someone else’s dirty BVD’s.]

– clean floor, toilet, sink, tub and shower surround [Have these been thoroughly cleaned at anytime in the past year or will a HAZMAT team be necessary?]

– empty garbage

– dust window and 3 shelves [Once again – amount of clutter?]

– store toiletries [Dear lord, do you people never put anything away?]

Bathroom Two [Please see comments under “Bathroom One” above]

– pick up clothes and dirty towels for washing

– clean floor, toilet, sink, tub and shower surround

– empty garbage

– dust window and 3 shelves

– store toiletries

Master Bedroom

– Pick up clothes and do laundry [I am doing my best to be patient but I’m starting to lose it. Seriously: you can’t pick up your clothes? And what the hell do you want me to do with them once I’ve got them in my arms? The trash bin is looking better all the time.]

– Fold Clothes and put away [You really think people want to touch your BVD’s? And how do I know where they go? Can I just randomly shove them into dresser drawers?]

– Dust dresser top [If you’re leaving your clothes lying around all over the place then I’m pretty sure all the things you want dusted are covered with crap.]

– dust 4 shelves [see prior comments]

– dust 3 windows [see prior comments]

– Vacuum floor 12’x18′ [see prior comments]

– wash bedding and remake queen bed [Have you been doing the nasty because if you have I do NOT want to touch those sheets.]

Kids Bedroom

-Pick up toys and put away [Seriously: do you REALLY want your kids to grow up to be just  like you because I’m telling you that’s not doing them any favors.]

– Pick up clothes and do laundry [see above]

– Fold Clothes and put away [see above]

– vacuum floor 12’x14′ [see above]

– Dust 6 shelves [see above]

– dust two windows [see above]

– wash bedding and remake bunk beds [see above]

Laundry is approximately 6 loads weekly including bedding. [see above]

Okay, now I have lost it. Having someone vacuum and dust is one thing but you don’t pick up your stuff and you don’t make your kids pick up their stuff. You can’t be bothered to take 30 seconds to throw some dirty dishes into the dishwasher or hang up a coat.

You don’t “Need Housekeeping Help” – you need more help than even I can offer – and I’ve been called a miracle worker.

Nanny McPhee


Posted on November 6, 2011, in Commentary, Humor, Other, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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