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Letter: Awareness (Photo)

I am writing this letter to bring a new level of awareness to our community.

Many people are involved in an act of stealing, without realizing it!

I’ll explain.

We all know the cleaning lady crisis… not enough supply for the demand.

Many people think they have the solution… offer a cleaning lady a higher pay and she will come to you.

And this has been happening around town for a few years now.

Did you ever stop to think though, that when you offer a random cleaning lady more money and she comes to you, that you are actually affecting all the people she currently works for?

Do you have any idea what you are putting me through and so many other people that I know the same has happened to? Would you intentionally steal from me?

To put it lightly, I have been through about 20 cleaning ladies (or almost cleaning ladies) since January 2018.

Yes you read that right.

The first one “got sick” and never came back. The next one had an emergency (3 weeks before Pesach no less) and ran off, the next one never showed up, the next one came once and never again. You would think I treat these ladies terribly. In reality, I am super kind, give them drinks and food and smile at them and talk in a respectful way. And anyone I ever send a cleaning lady to is the same way. But they suddenly disappear (because someone offered them more). Always with an excuse and then they are gone with the wind.

The past few weeks have been really hard. Several cleaning ladies told me they were looking for work but would only start if I fill up their schedule. I work hard and make a full schedule (trust me it’s not easy trying to work with people’s available times) and then just as the schedule is complete, the cleaning lady isn’t available. (I’m talking 1-2 days… not a week and a half of making a schedule for them.)

Today takes the cake though.

The lady made me confirm several times that I made her a full schedule and had everything in place to pick her up from one house to the next. And then 2 hours later she texts me that she cannot work for me. Why? Because someone just offered to pay her more per hour to come work for them. Did that person bother asking if she was committed to another job? Of course not. All they care about is they also want cleaning help and if it means paying more, then they will do it that way, stealing or not.

I know several women reading this are nodding their heads as they too have been suffering from this cleaning lady crisis.

So think about it…. next time you offer a cleaning lady more money, stop for a minute and think that you are possibly about to send a whole bunch of frum families lives into turmoil.

Many of us can’t afford full time help. We rely on our one day or our few hours a week. Think about that. Think about how you would feel if tomorrow someone came and offered her even more money than you did, and she disappears on you too.

Just some thoughts to think about.

And if you know anyone looking for cleaning help at an acceptable rate for this town, feel free to reach out to the Scoop to contact me. I have a full schedule of people waiting and many more that are looking. Just make sure she isn’t working for someone else!

P.S. Many of us are part of a cleaning swap group where we offer to share our ladies when someone needs and have also joined together to keep the rates down. We will not allow the cleaning ladies to play our community like cards by offering more money. Even when desperate.

The group is full but has done much chesed. I encourage more neighborhoods to make their own groups of they aren’t part of this one.

(TLS welcomes your letters by submitting them to letters@thelakewoodscoop.com)

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There are 43 Comments to "Letter: Awareness (Photo)"

  • do it yourself says:

    I am very grateful that I never faced such “probloms”… maybe its time to stop with the cleaning ladies….. I live without a cleaning since I have been bored!! And my house is not dirty nor messy…. can you believe it??!! and if you dont have time then get your kids involved- its the best chinuch!! Make a rotating chart for your children what they got to do… thats how I grew up and still do… we get shabbos treats after our job is done and there is no such thing as leaving the house untill the job is done… Try it… will only do good… save you loads of money and will save you all the aggravation that you are feeling!

    • anon says:

      To all those woman who “do it yourself”. Every time an issue with cleaning ladies is raised, and rightfully so, a do it yourselfer has to comment about how she does it yourself. That may work for you, but it might not work for someone else. Your comments don’t help the situation. Try to empathize with your friend and validate her feelings about the subject. Don’t make it about yourself.

      • same problem says:

        yes i agree with you anon. every person is different. not everyone can do it themselves. please recognize that Hashem gave us all different personalities and just because you are organized and have your kids helping you doesn’t mean we can all do the same.
        in the olden days they had many servants, not just one, they weren’t expected to do everything themselves.

  • Ari says:

    If there is a shortage of cleaning ladies it is not nice to knowingly offer more money to poach someone else’s cleaning lady, and I wouldn’t want to do a shidduch with such a person, but unfortunately the Halacha is not on your side, and it is not considered stealing ( or ani hamehapech). Please consult your Rav…..

  • Mrs. Mayer says:

    Hire legal help and they wont run away. Plenty legal companies out there and they are insured and bonded.

  • Peachtree says:

    Unfortunately for you, this is how supply and demand works. Lots of demand and little supply will drive the price up in every industry regardless of your WhatsApp group attempts. To accuse people who are willfully GN to pay more than you of stealing is kind of absurd in my opinion.

  • anonymous says:

    You need to be dan lkaf zchus – most people looking for help don’t ask a lady how much she’s making now and offer more – they ask if the lady is available and the lady says yes for x amount per hour she doesn’t realize she just stole someone’s help. I am actually looking for help myself now and that how it goes. Even if I were to ask these ladies if they are currently working for less – I highly doubt even one would be honest enough to disclose that. So until we start hiring these people the legal way – everyone can forget about morals and mentchlichkeit. I am willing to pay the highest going rate and still can’t find anyone normal… I also think there is a reason that the few agencies there were around in the last few years have stopped doing this and that is because of the immoral workers involved.

  • Helper says:

    I looked into legal companies. They are not adaptive or flexible. They have a preprinted check list of what they are responsible for and that’s it. In a frum home that doesn’t work.

  • My Take says:

    I never could afford a cleaning lady, nor did I feel comfortable having one in the house. I always cleaned myself and got my kids to help – very good chinuch by the way. Kids don’t have to grow up thinking someone will always pick up after them and they can also take some responsibility that will help them when they have their own households. Now that my children are grown and don’t generate dirt, laundry etc. I have a lot less to clean and it’s no big deal doing it myself. If you work full time I can understand the need to have help perhaps, but don’t steal someone else’s help.

  • Just a thought says:

    @ari, the word Halacha is irrelevant here. It’s called being a mensch! And remember what u learned in school…. What Hilel told the person that wanted to learn the entire Torah on one foot….DO NOT DO TO OTHERS WHAT YOU WOULD NOT WANT DONE TO YOU!!!

  • Jackson says:

    It’s called supply and demand. That is why employers don’t pay all their employees minimum wage. When the supply of apartments went up causing the renters to rent for cheaper, there wasn’t all this complaining and banding together that is because you understood that just as the landlords need the money the tenants also need the money. The same goes here, just as the homeowners/ renters need the money so to the cleaning ladies need the money. It’s not for you to decide that you need the money more than them. Also, even if you do need the money more this is not a communist country.

  • Mama Bear says:

    The problem of hiring away cleaning help is a a small example of predatorial practices where people put their selfish needs ahead of others’ needs. And what about business that is being taken away by others who are offering customers unrealistically low prices? It’s symptomatic of the same core malady. ודי למבין

  • Jackson says:

    If someone offered your husband more money for his job I don’t think you would be complaining. Please explain the difference????

  • Serious says:

    With every development that goes up around town, you lose about another 10 cleaning ladies who used to live in that spot. Stop the ridiculous amounts of building and maybe a few more will stick around town. Just a thought.

    • Steinberg says:

      Thats totally untrue. The developments are being built where there had been woods. I don’t know of any recent stories of houses being demolished to build developments.

      • Just saying.. says:

        I think Serious has a point but expressed it wrong. With all the new construction and families moving in and looking for help, do any of the builders think about building housing for the cleaning ladies. More families move in but no more cleaning people are moving in to clean. Supply and Demand takes over. You either import more cleaning people or slowdown the building until they can catch up.

  • Ty says:

    This has been a topic over and over again with no solution. Live with it, or do the cleaning yourself (which I do, and yes I do work. My house may not be spices and span like yours but we manage)

  • Playing the game says:

    how very very frustrating it must be! just a thought to consider – sometimes these cleaning ladies are simply “playing the game” and they don’t really have another offer, they may tell you that as a bargaining tool….

  • @ Serious says:

    Please understand most people in town, including us orthodox Jews, do not have any control over building in town. In fact most of us agree with you, but not just because of the cleaning crisis.

  • Joe says:

    I believe this lady is lying to you because she wants more money and figures you’ll give in.

  • Resident says:

    Jackson –
    Someone might offer your husband more but he is worth the higher salary. Many of these cleaning ladies are not worth more than $8 for the work they perform (or don’t perform…) but they are demanding higher because some of us fools will pay it without putting up a fight.
    By the way, it is assur to lure away someone’s worker. Look into it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to ask a spouse to help out as well. There comes a time when it is too overwhelming for the wife to do everything and there is nothing wrong with a husband helping out. I do not think it is considered bitul Torah to do chesed for one’s spouse when she needs it.
    I know that some readers may not have spouses, so perhaps children can give a hand as well, as mentioned previously – each at their own level. (There are ways to make chores fun for little children- be creative- if you need ideas, contact me through this site.) Also the less things you have in your house, the less clutter and the less to clean up. Try to minimize what you have!

    • same problem says:

      your comment is ridiculous. whoever’s husband is willing to help sure does. do you really think that your comment is gonna get anyone’s husband to help? if anything it will cause shalom bayis problems for those whose husbands are not so good at helping.

  • Give Up says:

    Give up. We’ve also been through 15-20 ladies
    Aint nothing you can do.
    We’ve now decided to go through life without one
    Life’s harder, much harder, but we’ve just fced the reality that these people are just not dedicated, some steal and most just won’t show without any explanation whatsover, no matter how nice you are to them.
    When you face that realize, and realize that you just can’t rely on these people, like is a bit calmer

  • 🙈 says:

    There must be something really wrong with you or your house, find out what it is and maybe your help will last. Also if you want good help you will have to pay more you get what you pay for, that’s the way it goes. Also guys please don’t be unfair, the cost of life is really hard could you support your family with 8 dollars an hour? Please be realistic

  • Ari says:

    To Resident: It is indeed assur to lure away someone worker in certain circumstances, and one who does so is termed a rasha . However there is a misconception that this Halacha applies in all circumstances, or that this is termed “stealing” ( it would actually be ani hamehapech) The halachos of Ani Hamehapech have many details, and that Halacha would likely not apply here, making it permissible, though not fitting for a yorei shomayim to lure away the cleaning lady. Of course it is not mentchlach but to call it stealing is a mistaken halachic asssumption. It is a disservice to throw about inaccurate halachic terms. Speak to a competent Rav to clarify these halachos…

  • Neighbour says:

    Reading thru the comments on tls i have no problem imagining the extent of the situation.
    The obvious lack of empathy for the letter writer is what come accross above all else.
    “If someone takes your cleaning your lady just smile and do the work yourself!!”
    Do you really think that’s what the letter writer needed or wanted to hear?
    If you have no good advice to help the situation, please keep your thoughts to yourself.

  • Lakewood issues says:

    Cleaning ladies… schools… babysitters…. parking…. yada yada yada…

  • Lol says:

    U think the cleaning ladies you are organizing schedules for didn’t have work already? Like they were sitting around doing nothing all day? Ur just taking them away from someone else…

  • Mom says:

    Do it yourselfers…. I envy your ability. I am just not as capable as you. I am lucky if I have clean socks for my kids in the morning. And yes my husband helps with cleanup and my young children are in the learning process but like me, they arent naturals and we need the etra help.
    As do many others here too!
    My house isnt spick and span with my little cleaning help I sometimes manage to get but at least its functional when they do show up. I simply am not managing on the do it yourself mode. I am glad it works for you. But I need the help.
    And I too am a victim of cleaning lady disappearance.
    And my house is suffering.
    I can’t afford many hours but I pay fairly (no not $8) but I wouldnt and couldnt pay the demanding prices that have come out of the cleaning lady games and so I am left in the dust. Literally. Dont eat off my floor.
    At least not til I get a cleaning lady in here. 🙁

  • 🙈 says:

    I feel bad for the ladies that need help so desperately I am Part of a Facebook group and everyday I see people posting they are looking for cleaning jobs maybe you could look into that and maybe you will find someone. Ask for references, a lot of people leave because they feel bad to tell you when they don’t like something about your house, just let them know it’s ok to tell you and they should last. I hope it helps 🙂

  • Isaac says:

    Perhaps there should be new towns opening up where you don’t have to worry about getting your child into a school,or into a pediatrician.
    Or worry about traffic,reckless drivers,excess building or cleaning ladies. Something is wrong with the attitude in this town that “es kumpt mir”.

  • Dovid says:

    To the letter written:
    Your PS explains why you repeatedly have issues.
    Like it or not there is a new going rate – you can’t fight it

  • chana says:

    Cleaning ladies don’t like dividing up their day among multiple people, since they have to clean everyone’s dirty house. They would rather work by one or maximum 2 houses per day. Maybe try working with the cleaning lady for a schedule SHE would want, instead of giving her a list of 5 houses she MUST go to. Don’t treat her like an EVED, treat her with dignity!

  • Chaimyankel says:

    I’m sorry, but I disagree wholeheartedly with the letter writer. While I empathize with your pain and day-to-day struggles, you really come across as “playing G-D”. Just because your cleaning lady said so, who says that another person willingly went out of her way to poach her work over yours?? These ladies make too little money to care about loyalty… to always assume that someone else willingly “stole” them from you is paranoid and self-centered. Let me ask you- when you tried hiring the other 19 ladies, did you grill them before to make sure they didn’t “belong” to someone else? Stop blaming everyone else for your hardships. Everyone has a right to hire workers without needing to assume that they’re “belonging” to someone else.

  • genius says:

    Problem solved, learn how to do it yourself!!! I’m sorry to say it but we became too lazy and spoiled, and got our selves used to this cleaning lady meshugaas. today people can’t function without cleaning ladies. None of us grew up having maids at home, so why are we raising our kids with cleaning ladies around them coming daily ? what chinuch are we teaching our kids? exposing them to goyim who are total strangers coming to our homes, many of them aren’t even dressed properly, I see the ones that go to my next door neighbors, I wouldn’t let them into my house even if they clean my house for free.besides the fact that many of them steal and you need to be on top of them, they disappear on you, and a lot of them don’t even do a good job, so why use them altogether? Thank G-d for the past 15 years I haven’t used a cleaning lady, I and the kids help clean around the house whatever needs to be done, and I give the money to my kids instead, not a stranger! the work that a cleaning lady does in an hour we do in five minutes! Try doing it yourself for a week, and save your money, give it to your kids instead, teach them to help clean lekovod shabbos, I’m sure you will manage

  • Jj says:

    Hire legal help and all your complaints will go away. Im hiring legal help for a number of years now and its simply a breeze to work with them. Also they are insured when they break something.

  • Anonymous says:

    I need a cleaning lady for my house. Every one I call they tell me they are making 11-13 an hour and they are booked. So I have to suffer? No. I decided to pay them 15. If you found me cleaning help for the times I need for 11-13 an hour I would take it but it never happened yet

  • Ruchy says:

    Thank you for your letter I truly appreciate the help that I have now!! I don’t know how anyone manages without a cleaning lady. Instead of making those of us who need help feel bad either tell us exactly how to get it all done in a day i.e. Taking care of kids,homework, supper, baths,nursing an infant, going to work,cooking yom tiv , and other obligations… seriously.. how?? Teach me I would love to stop paying over $100 to a cleaning lady every week.

  • Cleaning help !!! says:

    In many homes both parents work full time and cleaning on their own is not possible. Many families have little children who can not efficiently clean a house, they may be capable of putting away their toys and some basic clean up but bathroom cleaning, oven scrubbing, changing linen, mopping floors is beyond their capabilities. Everyones situation is different depending on family size, age of children and parents work schedule. Just because one family can get by with no cleaning, it doesn’t mean everyone can manage that way.

  • Times or People are a changing says:

    When I was growing up. We had a cleaning lady right before Pesach. That’s it. The schools were situated close to home, never more than 10 blocks away. We walked. The schools did not discriminate. No worries if you couldn’t afford to pay. No fancy expensive dips, dressings, take-out custom “cuisine”. Sewing machine. We all helped out. My dad left at 5am and came home at 7pm. My mom helped in the store and took care of the books. We had a car for 10 years and an honest mechanic. We had six kids in a railroad flat with 3 bedrooms on the fourth floor in Williamsburg. We ate well, learned well, grew up to be successful and married. On Sundays all our aunts and cousins came over and chipped in for fresh cut deli, fresh potato salad and cole slaw. We shared a sukkah in the courtyard of the building and many times the seudahs with our neighbors. The shuls had Chesed programs for everything. No government programs. I think its tougher now, not because the ratio of income to expenses has changed. It hasn’t that much. The jobs have gone offshore. Our taxes support freeloaders. We have turned into “upscale” everything from the petty to the preposterous. I could go on. You get the idea. I hope.

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