Finding a Housekeeper

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  • #19553

    Who said all Chinese are dirty?

    The problems is that the is not a big enough market in Chengdu to create the kind of quality level that you get in the first tier cities.

    no market –> no competition –> no competititve standards of quality

    In Beijing Ayi positions werent so highly sought after if the locals really thought that foreigners are ungrateful.


    Whoa, time to throw some cold water on this party. Ray, I have read everyone’s subsequent posts and I don’t see who else you could be referring to but me, when you write, “it’s untrue (and a little offensive?) to say that cleaning standards are lower amongst Chinese”. However, I did not say that. Rather, I said, “Bottom line: the local concept of clean is fundamentally different than what you are probably used to back home. Either get used to it, clean yourself, or be prepared to spend a significant amount of time trying to train your Ayi, with mixed results.”

    And what I stated is simply a fact: cleaning standards ARE fundamentally different amongst Chinese – *generally speaking*. Which I thought it was clear I was doing. Of course we can find probably millions of Chinese people who are as clean as or cleaner than any of us posting here. Indeed I have met some. But those people are not coming over to clean my house, so I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the people who are coming over to clean my house, which is an Ayi. And as has been observed, time and again by people posting here, Chengdu Ayis think clean is “no trash, I got it wet”. And as that is apparently accepted by the Chinese people who own the buildings all over this fair city – the malls, the office complexes, the government buildings, the grocery stores, and yes, the apartment buildings – that is “fundamentally different” cleaning standards amongst Chinese, quite generally. This is a Chinese city, isn’t it?

    As far as I can tell, no-one here is intent on having a Bash the Dirty Chinaman Party. What we are here doing is attempting to Solve the Ineffectual Ayi Problem in Chengdu. Now, this problem may indeed be insoluble, but as we do live here and it is demonstrably a problem, we are entitled to attempt to solve it, in an appropriate forum. And what more appropriate and useful forum than this? Let us not devolve into PC-isms and infighting. There is enough of that back home.

    Again: no-one is saying “all Chinese are dirty”. Not even close, so please stop trying to put that into peeps’ mouths. If anything, we are saying something more like, “I can’t find a Chengdu Ayi who knows how to do much more than slap cold water around on my floor!” That’s a far cry from a general condemnation of the cleanliness of all Chinese. The only person to mention “all Chinese” is you.

    No, if I wanted to rant about that topic, I would have brought up the absolutely disgusting condition of every public bathroom I have entered in the entirely of China. I would have brought up the constant public spitting – even on the restaurant floor. I would have brought up the desultory manner in which every single cleaning person I have publicly observed cleaning seems to have the same “cleaning ethic” as the previously mentioned Ayis, just sort of robotically moving a filthy mob or thatched broom around on the hallway or sidewalk, irrespective of actual dirt or trash (or passers by). But I did not mention that, did I. But since you got me going, I don’t see how anyone who has been into a public restroom in China can argue with a straight face that the standards of cleanliness here are the same as Western ones (heck, or even Thai standards, for example, for that matter), your ex-parents-in-law’s house notwithstanding.

    On a final note: not a big enough market in Chengdu? I agree completely, and it proves my point. A city of 10+ million with no demand for a decent cleaning service with “competitive standards of quality” = lower cleaning standards, at least locally. That is what having “no market” for decent cleaning means: lower standards of cleaning! Or rather, the lack of a market stems from the lack of high standards of cleanliness.

    However, in the midst of all this ranting (which has been fun, I must admit – and who doesn’t love a good rant in the morning?:), a solution – and it comes from Ray. I think his idea to “cope out the 5 star hotels here” is actually right on the money. Let someone (maybe me) give it a try and report back their results.


    @Tanzbaer: nice rant man. Check the public bathroom in Chunxi Road. Immaculate. Fit for a (foreign) prince….


    Thanks Ray, I’ll check it out. And who knows, maybe one of their cleaning staff is for hire. But I have to confess I did bend the truth a bit in my above post; the jakes at the Bookworm are pretty much spotless, although the place is owned by an Irishman so I’m not sure if that counts …

    Dana Kaufman

    I think if you explain exactly what you want from the beginning you should not have a problem. Show the potential Ayi your apartment CLEAN before they actually come to clean it, so they have some idea of what you want. Also, give them time so you build some kind of relationship with them. Just point out, in a funny way, what you don’t like or do like….sounds more like a guide to finding a “suitable” (one of the most overused words here!) sex partner not a cleaner!

    Pay them a bit over the “going rate” (I think it is about 30/hour). Of course, they will charge you based on how money they THINK you have! If your apartment is super modern, expect to pay more. Not fair, maybe, but if the goal is a clean place pay the price!

    Our Ayi is hilarous…she always brings her family and friends to see the foreigner apartment! We love it and never know who she will show up with! They LOVE to attack the blinds by swatting at them for 20 minutes. And hand wash the large rugs.

    Oh, don’t have them wash wine glasses or ANYTHING fragile! Our Ayi always hides what she breaks thinking we will take it out of her pay!

    Good luck and be patient!

    Rick in ChinaRick in China

    RE: “Going rate”.. I just paid some people 300 rmb to clean my old apartment before turning it over to landlords. They showed up with pretty much nothing. All I had was a rag and one ‘sponge’ mop thing..since I had just moved everything to new place.

    New place. I contacted a ‘cleaning company’ who came over to observe. It’s not super dirty, already took all the garbage out, just needed serious scrubbing on the tiles due to paint splatter etc left over from the construction’s extremely poor job of covering things up while they worked. They originally wanted about 300, lady showed up, said since it requires extra effort to scrub the new tiles clean (even with my ‘industrial’ whatever cleaning products from b&q) they wanted 450…for a one time clean. Why do any of you teach English? Take up new jobs cleaning apartments 😀

    Said f’ it, and ended up doing it myself.

Viewing 6 posts - 41 through 46 (of 46 total)
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