Yesterday our cleaning lady was due in at 9am like every Monday. I wanted to mention a few things to her so Steph dropped Emma off at kindergarden and I waited and waited and waited. No call. At 9h35 I had to leave for an appointment in town so I left her some post-its around the house hoping that would help us surpass the language barrier.
I got home around 1pm and while I was waiting for my soup to warm up, I checked the little piece of paper where the cleaning lady notes down her hours so we can total them up at the end of the month.
It read 9h00-12h30 = 3h30
Mmmm... Not pleased at all.
I decide to give her a call immediately to sort things out. Speaking slowly and distinctly in my best German I tell her there seems to be a problem. I start saying "you wrote down..." and she finishes my sentence by saying 9am to 12h30. I cough a little and say I was here until 9h30 and she was not.
Immediately she replies that today one of her kids was unwell and that she in fact arrived at 9h30 before asking me to wait while she puts her German speaking friend on. Our cleaning might be fluent in Romanian by I am not.
Her friend explains to me that it was a mistake due to her being so used to arriving at 9am, that she automatically wrote down her usual arrival time.
I must admit I am a bit sceptical since she not only stated having arrived at 9h30 but also totaled up the hours to 3h30. It's kind of like lying twice.
I can hear our cleaning lady G. whispering to her friend in Romanian and her friend repeating that it was a mistake. I tell her that I will correct the times on the paper and explain that G. cannot continue working here if I do not trust her. Her friend says she understands and actually provides me with the German word for "trust" finishing my sentence. We say goodbye.
I hate that. The loss of trust. Now I can't help asking myself... G. knows I drop off Emma in the mornings shortly before 9 and often get some groceries and run errands before coming home. She knows what my car looks like. Has she been doing this long?
I don't want to have to be here the whole time she cleans. I don't want to have to ask her to call me from our land-line when she arrives and before she leaves. But don't want to have doubts and feel we are being ripped off either.
UPDATE: I've decided to give G. the benefit of the doubt - she has apologized in what seemed a sincere manner to me and I don't think it will happen again.