Thursday, November 27, 2014 Kislev 5, 5775
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Cleaning Up After the Handyman

Monday, June 30, 2014
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Dear Miriam,

I recently hired a handyman to do some work around my house. He was a very nice guy from a highly recommended company and seemed to do a great job. At the end of the day, I noticed that he had a huge cut on his hand. When I asked him about it, he revealed that the injury happened while working in my house. I expressed concern, and he said, "Just part of the job."

That night, I noticed a few blood spots on the floor in my bathroom and kitchen. I'm really grossed out, but I also feel partly responsible. Should I say something to the handyman himself or to his boss, or should I just let it go?

Signed,
Cleaning Up After the Handyman


Dear Cleaning,

If getting injured is just part of the job, then certainly cleaning up is part of the job, too. That sounds like a disgusting sight to come home to, but hopefully the quality of the work at least put the injury in context. I hope the first thing you did was put on gloves and use heavy duty cleanser to remove any trace of blood from your home. Even if the memory stays with you, the actual evidence does not need to.

Ask yourself what you would want to get out of telling his boss and see if you really have anything to gain. If you're not going to ask for anything, then you're essentially just being a tattle-tale or passive-aggressively asking for an apology, which won't erase the memory. If anything had been permanently ruined or if the blood had gotten on a carpet, for example, you'd be within your rights to ask for reimbursement from the company to get it cleaned. But asking for compensation for cleaning the tile floor in your bathroom seems overly punitive. 

You also get to decide whether this is a serious enough issue for you not to hire this handyman back. Since a quality handyman is hard to come by, though, and good ones are in high demand, if you may want to ever hire him again, you should think carefully about how you present (or don't present) your situation. You don't want to make yourself so demanding that the company won't come back.

It's also worth giving the guy the benefit of the doubt: Maybe he actually cleaned up a lot and just missed a few spots. Maybe he's great at fixing things, but less good at cleaning. Again, telling on him probably won't make him a better cleaner, and it certainly won't make you a better client.

Understandably, you also don't want to come home to this again. While this sounds like an unusually bad cut, next time you hire these folks (or anyone else for that matter), leave out some bandages, antibiotic ointment, paper towels and cleanser. Before they get to work, say, "These supplies should be everything you need in case of any accidents today. Let me know if you need anything else." Then, put your faith in the people you're hiring and hope that nothing is amiss when you get home.

Be well,
Miriam

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