Real life MMD: Do I punish the cleaner?

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  • mookie77
    mookie77 Posts: 23
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    For me the key to this dilemma is in the last sentence.
    I don't want to pay to replace the toiletries, but feel guilty she'll lose a massive amount of her wages.
    Is £200 worth the guilt?

    First, disregard the motives of the manager or the honesty of the cleaner which, despite the speculations of the amateur Sherlocks on this board, cannot be known for sure. Unless you are a mind-reader like some of the other posters, these are simply unknowable grey areas. The fact that the OP has £200 worth of toiletries in the first place may suggest that they have a certain amount of disposable income and one might also infer that pay and conditions for the Turkish worker are far from great. Again these conjectures are almost irrelevant to the matter at hand.

    Previous answers have advocated either ‘forget about it, £200 is a heck of a lot to the cleaner’ or ‘she must have nicked them, she deserves it’. The bottom line is, given that whether or not the toiletries were stolen cannot be known with certainty, is getting back £200 worth the guilt of inflicting possibly unjust punishment on the cleaner, or will you always regret giving up the £200 and always suspecting that you’ve been ripped off?

    Without conclusive proof either way, if it were me I’d let it go. I’m not rich and with the suspicion that the cleaner might be laughing it up bathing in my designer toiletries I’d be bitter about it for a very long time, if not the rest of my life. But for me losing £200 would be less bad than the having the thought that an innocent person was so harshly treated on my conscience.

    But definitely complain strongly to whoever you booked your holiday through and leave a scathing review on tripadvisor!
  • Annabelle_
    Annabelle_ Posts: 12
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    I wish everybody would stop focusing on the fact that they chose to spend £200 on toilettries - it has taken me a good while to build up a decent make-up bag with many high priced products in it but as I believe they are excellant products and have chosen to spend my hard earned money this way I don't think anyone should be penalised for it - everybody has their indulgences.
    Many spend ridiculous sums on designer clothes like jeans and don't blink an eye so I think a lot of you are being unfair to the poster when that is not really the issue.

    I would too feel for the cleaner a great deal, however I'm inclined to find it dubious that she thought it rubbish when it was full of stuff and not in the bin. It may sound harsh but she needs to be taught this lesson - who know if she did it again they may fire her so she'd be getting off lightly by paying you back.
    Still think the Hotel is shady though - report them on Trip Advisor.

    Best of luck x
  • bennett2kuk
    bennett2kuk Posts: 93 Forumite
    edited 2 June 2010 at 11:18AM
    Damn straight I'd want it replacing. I don't really care where the money would come from I would want the money back.

    For all you know she stole it anyway knowing fine well how much it was worth and if not then unless you left it in a bin for instance she was obviously poking her nose into things that didn't concern her.

    Sorry but that's life, just because you can afford £200 easier than somebody else it doesn't mean that person is instantly excused!
  • Doobrah
    Doobrah Posts: 5 Forumite
    I read this thread with interest but find it bewildering that some people seem to think that owning £200 of toiletries makes it accetable for them to be thrown away/stolen. The point isn't how much they were but the moral dilemma in question. I don't think criticising people for the way that they spend their money is fair. Like most MSE users, I take care of my money but that doesn't mean that I want to use the cheapest of everything all of the time. So, regardless of cost, this comes down to making an emotional or financial decision. I'd ask for the bins to be searched, so that the hotel knows you're serious about getting your goods back, and if that yielded no results I'd take the hit on my insurance and pay the difference. As some other posters have said, it's unlikely that all products would have been unused, and to look on the bright side, you'd be able to justify buying new stuff. I wouldn't want the maid to pay, even if it is likely to be a scam, as you don't know the maid's circumstances. Plus, it is perflectly possible to assume that something wrapped in a plastic bag is destined for the rubbish bin. I'd like to think that most people in the world are honest, so I'd let it go, and as others have suggested, make a point of mentioning it on travel forums, just in case.
  • meerustar
    meerustar Posts: 8,560
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    When we went to Mexico the cleaner binned our flight tickets which we for 10 of us. They were First Choice tickets and in a booklet rather than a standard flight ticket (IYSWIM)

    We went to reception and kept on asking if they had been handed in and saying they had gone from the side, presumably the cleaner thinking they were rubbish. They were no help at all and we had to pay $30 per ticket to fly home, so I wasn't happy ... not sure if I'd want the cleaner sacking though.

    However, in the OP's case, £200 of toiletries must have weighed a bit, so cleaner should have left the items. If the toiletries were nearing the end of the bottles, then the OP has not lost £200 worth of toiletries at that point, that's just what it would have cost at the start.

    Me, given the option, I would have to give the cleaner benefit of the doubt, but would certainly have had them scavenging through the bins to find them first.
  • nazli319
    nazli319 Posts: 48
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    edited 2 June 2010 at 11:37AM
    This is Turkey we are talking about I doubt it if the poor maid even has a contract yet alone a manger who abides by any employment laws. £200 is a hell of a lot of money for a Turk and many of these workers save their wages to get them through the winter. I don't believe she would of risked her job with the Turkish unemployment rates.

    In Turkey they use carrier bags as rubbish bags and she probarly would of assumed that toiletries would of been stored away and not left out in a carrier bag.
    Also UK cosmetics tend to melt in Turkey due to the heat as I doubt they would be her colour. Shampoo etc is easily available so I dont see why she would steal these items and think that no one would notice!

    I would let the situation go, its not worth someones job for a few bottles and a bit of make up. I am sure the manager would of sacked the maid had it been a reoccurance.
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  • mickymac_2
    mickymac_2 Posts: 11 Forumite
    I've worked in the hotel industry for over 35 years, and in that time I've known quite a few chambermaids. Yes, they will "try" your perfume etc, but not steal it. They rely mainly on tips for the majority of their income, and throwing away/stealing a guests belongings means no tips will be forthcoming. And also, they wouldn't risk their job for something that has virtually no re-sale value, they may be in low paid work but they're not stupid.
    A lot of hotels in Europe also operate a policy of having the staffs wages docked for any descrepencies/losses, so this Turkish hotel is not unique in this, it is common practice.
    Most of these jobs are notoriously low paid, and most hotels are understaffed in the "back of house". So, I'm making an educated guess here that the maid was rushed and probably didn't even check the contents of the plastic bags before she dumped them. She should have checked, but we're all human.
    I would be inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and forget about it.
    An expensive lesson, but it would probably be a lot more expensivefor the maid. Have a heart.
  • brokeinwales
    brokeinwales Posts: 425 Forumite
    Opened toiletries and cosmetics (even expensive ones) don't really have much resale value - so I really would be surprised if this was anything other than a mistake on the cleaner's part.

    I would definetly kick up a fuss (throwing something away that isn't in the bin when the guest is still checked in is pretty ridiculous) but I'd be more likely to insist that they search for it (the rubbish probably hasn't been collected yet) and then submit a complaint and a bad review on tripadvisor, than actually ask for financial compensation that might be disproportionately crippling to the cleaner.
  • wondergirl_2
    wondergirl_2 Posts: 3 Newbie
    edited 2 June 2010 at 1:30PM
    After having read some of the responses on this thread, I am quite surprised that many are focusing on the amount the girl spent on toiletries. Some are apparently suggesting that if she could spend £200 on toiletries, she could afford to replace them. If she feels she could afford to replace them, then surely this would not be a dilemma?

    It's the poster's own prerogative how she spends her money, regardless of how she got the money, or whether she's from a wealthy background or not. The fact is she had £200 of toiletries, which although on the face of it(no pun intended :rotfl:) may sound like a lot to some people, it's probably not to many. But the point is, that is NOT the point.

    The issue the poster posed is a question about ethics. Obviously, the hotel has none, let's put that straight! It is unclear how big or heavy her makeup bag was or whether it really did look like rubbish. It is unclear whether the maid or the hotel were adjoined in some sort of conspiracy to rip off their customers.

    In the absence of knowledge, I would suggest if you feel that you possibly might feel quilty for taking the maid's wages then ask yourself, is the £200 really worth the guilt? You may gain the money but also guilt at the same time. If the guilt is likely to be short lived and your £200 is worth more to you, then ask to be reimbursed. As you don't know whether the hotel has a motive or whether it was a genuine mistake (unless you start playing detective), it's a question of what is more important to you? If it's half and half, then perhaps ask them to reimburse half.
  • Nicki123
    Nicki123 Posts: 11 Forumite
    I'm disappointed so many are focussing on the cost of the toiletries. Most of us have a certain amount of 'disposable' money and it's up to everyone how they choose to spend it.

    I wouldn't like to see a poorly paid maid lose out, no matter how really inappropriate (and stupid?!) their actions - and I agree with everyone that says should have known better than to throw away, but really not likely stolen as not valuable for resale.

    I would try to negotiate with the hotel and see if they could provide something at little cost to themselves if possible, such as extra nights or free meals or something, then take the money saved and replace my belongings.

    If not I would complain to whoever I booked through, formally complain to the hotel, and then probably live with it. I decided a while ago that I'm happier giving people the benefit of the doubt, and so I would probably choose to believe it was an accident and I could afford it more than the maid.
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