Monday, 24 August 2015

That time I worked as a Chamber Maid

I am a hard worker.

That's what I tell myself at night, when the flashbacks of the things I have seen play over and over in my head...

Ah, the things I have seen.


If you ever need to know the highs and lows of being a casino worker, cleaning turds out of a urinal, chopping up used dildos so that nobody can return them, or fingering tinned sardines - I'm your gal.

*Tips cap*

I was 16 years old when I got the job at my local chain hotel.  The guy-I-kinda-fancied's (read: now my husband )mum got me the job (not because she got me the job), and soon I was placed in a highly skilled team of three cleaners to clean the 24 bed brand-standard hotel.

I say highly skilled, I mean highly chastised and severely punished if we left so much as a smear on a mirror.

We cleaned HARD.

The thing about cleaning is, that it never ends.  Especially in a place where there are strange people walking about at all hours of the day and night.  Here's the thing - people are WEIRD when it comes to staying somewhere foreign to them.  It's like they feel invisible, or like they aren't being watched, or like they have entered some kind of alternate universe where they can do things they have never done before.

Here are 5 kinds of people who use hotel chains:

1: Family folk.  Generally okay and clean enough, but will totally ignore you.  They are never organised enough to leave a room on time (which is a bugger if you are set to clean it, because you will have to come back to it with your trolley later on.  The trolley with all the stuff on is heavy and a pain in the ass and has to be refilled!) They come with children. Mess makers. Toothpaste on the mirror bastards. Grubby hands on your newly Brasso'd door handles. Mud on the floor.
2: Travelling workers.  These guys are smelly. So smelly.  The good news is, in the main, they rarely use towels.  Less to carry and chuck in the washing. However, the ones they do use will invariably have shit stains on them. Great. They leave the room early to get to work and some even haven't slept in the bed (though goodness knows where they sleep). These are the guys who leave porn on the pay-per-view and a ton of beer cans/whiskey bottles in the rubbish pail. A nice stereotype.
3: Kinky couples.  A bit of a cliche, but yes, kinky couples - whether they have been married for eons, or if it's just a cheeky one night affair - do use chain hotels for their dirty, dirty times.  As a chamber maid, this is kind of the ultimate ming-fest.  Not only are you most probably going to walk into a darkened room mid-shag while someone shouts 'clean towels please' in the middle of their lust-fuelled romp, but you will invariably be picking condoms out of the sheets, or even better, the shower plug hole.  Any stains in this room, wherever they are, should only be approached with disinfectant and rubber gloves. Also, you will become highly skilled at picking false eyelashes out of the toilet bowl rim. The room smells like a mixture of sweat, sex and CK one.
4: Groups of children. Obviously chaperoned by adults.  These adults are not related to said children, therefore will be at the bar, drinking their weight in real ale and completely ignoring the carnage wrought by the small boys or horrible, awful pre-teen girls they are supposedly looking after.  One time we had a group of cheerleaders stay.  They laid their mattresses end to end down the corridors in order to practice their cartwheels at 3a.m.  Every other customer complained and got their rooms for free. There was confetti in every nook and cranny and popcorn stuffed in between the bed frame and the mattress.  Hell hath no fury like a chamber maid with a hoover crevice tool.
5: Elderly residents.  This is weird.  Like, really odd. But there are older folk who stay in a hotel because, well, they like staying in a hotel.  For a long time.  They aren't between houses, they aren't on holiday, they just really like staying in the ill-equipped and VERY CLEAN rooms.  They get to know you by your first name, and oh yes, they are the first to let you know (or your manager - sneaky bastards) that your standards are slipping.
Like, WHY!?
Just go home, crazy old people!

The leader of our band of merry troops was a very discerning (and sweaty) mature lady.
Let's call her, Jane.
Jane was unfortunately having a very menopausal time when I happened to be working under her.  Poor Jane.  Jane had the sweats at the thought of changing a bed sheet.

Poor woman.
That is not a job that should be undertaken by someone who suffers in such a way. She must have lost about four stone every shift just from water weight alone.

Jane loved cleaning. Jane loved cleaning so much that she earned that particular hotel the status of cleanest in the UK. No joke - there was a plaque and everything.
Jane taught me how to make the bathrooms SHINE!

Jane loved cleaning so much that she got her husband to lift her carpets on her DAY OFF so that she could HOOVER UNDERNEATH THEM.

Oh Jane.

She was very, very good at her job.  She taught me how to check how clean a toilet REALLY was, by standing back at a huge distance and looking underneath the rim, in natural light to see if there happened to be any scum under it.

Honestly, life is too short. And yes, I am still doing it. Some habits are hard to kick.

She spoiled me for, lets face it, any other hotel, because no hotel will ever be as clean as that one - there was never a pube out of place when she was around.  Which is no mean feat.

Unfortunately, my career as a chamber maid was cut short by the call of the bar - yes, I left a place where the toilets shone and sparkled and went to a place where men regularly missed the toilet altogether and peed all over the floor. Excellent.

Thanks to Jane however, I had learned that a mop and bucket filled with bleach and near-boiling water will scald pretty much everything away, which came in very handy one night when I was trying to hose a shit out of a urinal after a 12 hour shift.

Thanks, Jane.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, LORD, I have horrified giggles.
    My first job at fifteen? House cleaning. For OLD PEOPLE.
    I can't even begin to tell you the horrifying stories. My Dad cleans like your Jane... and not even minus the sweat, he scrubbed things so hard sweat flew. It was worrying. And we, of course, were meant to clean our rooms and the house and the kitchen JUST. THAT. HARD. So I was well set up for my job - which I hated, because other people's homes seemed so disgustingly filthy!!

    There were questionable stains and dentures, but at least no condoms. THANK THE LORD.


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