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The Business of Cleaning

Marzo 2008
Anche le imprese di pulizie diventano globali. Come le Merry Maids, con sede negli Stati Uniti, che si presentano in divisa e puliscono la casa con metodo scientifico. Arriveranno anche in Italia?

di Derek Workman

File audio:

Cleaners at work
Cleaners at work
Theresa Taylor
Theresa Taylor

Speaker: Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent)

Paying someone to come and clean your house for you isn’t exactly an original idea, but having the job done by a company who will send two cleaners dressed in uniform probably is.
This is what a firm called the “Merry Maids” does. The “Merry Maids” sound like characters from the Robin Hood story, but the organisation is headquartered in the United States. It is international and has several branches in Britain. Theresa Taylor is director of Merry Maids in Cheshire, a beautiful county that lies to the south of Manchester.
When she met with Speak Up, we asked her to describe the company’s working system:

Theresa Taylor (Standard British/northern accent):

We go in a house, we start at the top and work down, we work in a circle left to right per room, and you start by de-cobwebbing the room, then you work your way down to any dado rails, picture rails, dust the picture frames, work your way right down to the skirting boards, dusting and polishing everything and then you vac yourself out of the room, spray deodoriser and close the room.


If the company is called “Merry Maids,” then it’s safe to assume that all the cleaners are women:

Theresa Taylor:

No, no, no, the manager’s a man, one of our cleaners at the moment’s a man and he’s fantastic. Men are actually more thorough, the men that I’ve had anyway. We’ve had a few and they’re fine, as long as they pass all the checks we do on them, and we feel comfortable with them. I think you know initially on an interview whether that person’s right to work with you or not. We’ve employed two men up to now and they’ve both been absolutely fantastic.


Unfortunately, men don’t always make the best clients. Merry Maids never “send the girls in blind” to a new house. Theresa Taylor will visit the place first, ostensibly to get a quote for the work needed, but also to check out the prospective customer. When you hear this story, you can understand why:

Theresa Taylor:

He arranged a quote and he insisted it was evening and he said would I be going, and I said yeah, and for some reason I felt a bit uncomfortable, so I took my husband with me. And as I arrived he said, “I’m on the phone, just come in.” So I came in, he wasn’t on the phone, he was sat on the couch, in his little towel. He had candles all round his bath and I walked in, he wasn’t very nice, he was quite, you know... and then he saw my husband, jumped up and got dressed, came back, and I just said, “Look, I’m sorry, there’s no point in me going further with this quote. I wouldn’t send the girls to this house anyway,” and walked out, but that was actually very funny, because of his face when he saw my husband walk behind me! So that’s why we always do a quote before, so we know exactly what we’re sending two girls into.

For further information visit: www.merrymaids.com

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merry maids - lett. le allegre fanciulle.

Robin Hood story - Merry Marion era la compagna di Robin Hood, a capo dei Merry Men.

is headquartered - ha sede.

de-cobwebbing - togliere le ragnatele.

dado rails - greche decorative lungo le pareti.

picture rails - sbarrette per appendere i quadri.

dust the picture frames - spolverare le cornici dei quadri.

work your way... skirting boards - scendendo fino al battiscopa.

you vac yourself out of the room - si esce dalla stanza passando l’aspirapolvere.

it’s safe to assume - si può dire con certezza.

are actually more thorough - sono in effetti più scrupolosi.

as long as they pass... them - ammesso che superino i controlli che facciamo su di loro.

on an interview - durante un colloquio.

men ... the best clients - gli uomini non sono sempre tra i migliori clienti.

in blind - alla cieca.

ostensibly to get a quote - dichiaratamente per fare un preventivo.

on the couch - sul divano.

in his little towel - con un piccolo asciugamano addosso.

there’s no point in me going further - è inutile che io vada avanti.