We’re looking for a cleaner to come and do a couple of hours a week, just keeping on top of the dust, and doing the things like bathrooms and kitchens which a good cleaner seems to be able to do in less than half the time I’d be able to do it and at least twice as well.
So, when a card came through the door from a local cleaning agency, professing that their cleaners speak fluent English (no jingoistic tone intended, this becomes relevant in the next paragraph), I gave them a call.
The first person I spoke to sounded cheerful enough, and despite obviously having an Eastern European accent, spoke good English. However, it soon became clear from the blank silences that she couldn’t understand me.
Yes. I’m from the North West. Yes, I have an accent. Yes, I can talk in local dialect when I’m with my fellow Northerners. But as far as I can tell, I was speaking my best London-ified Queen’s English. Oops.
So, I was asked to hold, while someone was found who could understand my peculiar accent.
Then got cut off. Then someone else phoned me back. Didn’t speak as clearly as the first person, but could understand me. Then we got cut off again. They called back. Part way through the discussion, we got cut off again. They also kept talking v e r y s l o w l y to me like I was the one who had a problem understanding.
Left feeling like a stranger in my own land, when they tried phoning back again, I didn’t bother picking up. It all seemed like too much of a faff, and it seems they can’t even employ people in the office that could work a telephone.
Suffice to say, I’ll go and look elsewhere.