House "Cleaning"

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One of the seemingly attractive things in China is that it's relatively inexpensive to hire people to do service work like cleaning. Given how dusty and polluted the air in Beijing is, you always have to be cleaning here. These two facts seem to match each other well.

However, based on our limited sample size to date, the low price may not actually be much of a value. The quality of the cleaning jobs we've seen in our temporary apartment, the new house we're moving into, and even good hotels like the Grand Hyatt has been pretty uniformly poor. According to Michelle, who has been in the apartment while housekeeping was cleaning up, the housekeeper goes through the motions of cleaning but isn't especially particular about actually getting anything clean. She would move the vacuum cleaner around the floor but not hit each spot on the rug, for instance. After the housekeeper leaves, the place is neat but not clean. She seems to be optimizing on following the process without regard to the results.

As with any population, I'm sure this one has a curve with good, average, and incompetent cleaners. I don't know where these folks were on the curve, but I'm not optimistic. We'll have to be very selective about who we work with going forward, but I suspect that once again, we may get what we pay for.

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