Here's a sorry truth about me: When I get bad service, not only do I fail to complain - I tip.
My cleaning people are on to me: For the past three weeks, they've left early - and without doing such basics as wiping down the refrigerator or scrubbing the oven. I tell myself, I WOULD complain, if only I spoke Spanish or they spoke English. But that's a lie. I'm just a coward. I hate confronting people and, because of that, they mop all over me.
Today, in an effort to do something brave for my life list, I called the cleaning agency. Choosing my words carefully so as not to get the women in trouble, I told them I needed the job done right if I was going to use their service again. (And I know that the REALLY brave thing would have been to confront the cleaning women directly, but we have to walk before we can run. This was the best I could do.)
It wasn't necessary anyway - they'd been fired.
Apparently, the agency had gotten lots of complaints from customers unhappy with that particular crew: people who had voiced their disappointment right away - without greeting them three weeks in a row with a big smile and an increasingly sticky refrigerator.
Still, I felt empowered. I stood up for myself. Wednesday when the new crew arrives, I won't be a tyrant, but I WILL say something if jobs are left undone - directly to them, and right away. Using my Spanish-English online dictionary or my natural talent for pantomime if need be. I know it's actually the nicer thing to do: be clear about what I want so, when I hand over a tip - and I LIKE to tip cleaning people because you know they make crap wages - we're ALL happy.