Agenda: 'This American Life'; Bret McKenzie; Autumn reading list; food hybrids; pop tribes


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The Independent Culture

Middle class problems: Firing the cleaner

By Simmy Richman

As if we of the middle-classes don't have enough guilt to deal with. First we have to justify the need to get other people to clean our houses in the first place ("£10 an hour's not bad…", "We keep the place pretty spotless really…", "We'd do it ourselves but our weekends are just so precious…") and then comes the moment when we realise that the people who clean our houses are actually taking our money, not doing very much at all and so we are going to have to (whisper it) let them go.

The horror! Business not going well and tasked with having to tell half your staff that you are going to have to make them redundant? A breeze compared with looking that cleaner in the eye and telling them their services (such as they aren't) are no longer required.

I know, you suggest to your partner. Let's just tell her/him that times are hard and we can no longer afford someone else to do our dirty work for us. Perfect. Except your cleaner also works for the people next door and will find out that you lied within the space of a fortnight.

How about just telling them we can no longer afford to replace all the stuff they keep breaking? Or, I know, let's accuse them of stealing. That would make things easier. Shame they've always been so goddamn honest.

Which, come to think of it, is surely the important thing when you allow someone you don't really know into your house.

On second thoughts, let's just stick with the lazy, slightly useless, clumsy devil we know. What's that, they want a pay rise? £11 an hour you say? Pass me that duster. I need to wipe a tear.