Shamed by a Carpet Cleaner

Before we bought our house, it had been a rental for many years. Consequently, the carpet throughout the house was what I called “typical renter brown” (also, it was the 90’s). We’ve slowly been able to rip it up room by room, but I’ll tell ya, what was/is under there will cause a range of emotions, none of which are positive.

We have only the boys’ room left to pull out. I’ve been ready to rip it up and live with the wacky patchwork of linoleum and sub-flooring until we can properly floor it. I’m alone in this readiness. I’m actually ready to do the same in the living room and our bedroom, but again...alone. I’d rather an ugly floor I can completely vacuum, rather than the allergy/dust mite/fur/etc. magnet that it is now. Plus, we can buy an area rug to cover most of it. But that’s just me, and also, that’s not happening.

So my husband asked for me to call to have the carpets cleaned (“cleaned”). I found a deal for steam cleaning and called. The man on the phone was sweet, communicated well and set an appointment for the next day!

When the carpet cleaner came (it may have even been the same man), he was kind and polite and asked to inspect the carpets. He looked into the living room, drew his head back and to the side and said, face scrunched, arm flinging up, “This black! This black! When is the last time you had these cleaned?” Before I could answer, he told me “over two years.” “No, in fact it was about 6-12 months ago.”

He shook his head as he talked, “No. No. The others?”  He walked through our room and then into the boys’ room. “Oh, this the kids’ room. This will have to be pre-treated.  All of the carpets; pre-treated, soil-treated, shampooed and then steam cleaned.”  “No, I just want the deal I called on.” At this point I see the mode of business that’s going on. I’ve been to a nail salon before. (“You want decal? $5. Top coat? $2. We remove old polish for you- cost extra”.) It’s the ol’ lure them in with a sale and sock ‘em with the extras. We ran through this scenario two times before I bit. “Ok, how much would that cost?” “About (beware the ‘about’) $2 hundred 85.”  I laughed out loud at the price 4x the original and told him that wasn’t going to happen. We hoped (ok, I hoped) to be rid of the carpet within the next year anyhow. He then tried to tell me he could save this carpet. (The wincy-grotesque not fit for human eyes “black” carpet.) I laughed again, this time at his sales technique and told him that carpet was already old and there was no saving it. “No thanks, just the steam clean we ordered.” He finally resigned, “ok”, and filled out the job receipt. When he asked how I was paying and I said Visa, he tried to tell me they would only take cash for anything under $100. I was not buying that. You advertise visa, you have to take my visa. (and I’m not adding on more stuff!)

He then dragged the hoses inside and let them rub around the corners of the door trim.  I moved them and asked if he could please be careful not to pull it across the 100+ year old trim. Not only did we want to save it from dings, but also the possibility of freeing the lead so carefully buried under multiple layers of less toxic paint.

There’s really no moral to the story.  He finished, I paid, and he was on his way. I guess if there were a lesson to be learned, it's that the more you try to shame me into adding on higher priced services, the more I dig my heels in. If I could only turn that into a way to rip out the current carpet.


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