Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WTF Wednesday: Sanitized For Your Protection

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

For two summers when I was in college, I worked as a motel maid for a Best Western Motel in Canoga Park, California.  Every morning I jumped on my Honda 55 motorcycle and chugged from Granada Hills to Canoga Park to make beds, vacuum, and sanitize for your protection.  The job definitely ranked in the bottom ten percent of jobs, and I joyfully returned to college at the end of each summer.

For someone who doesn't like to clean, motel maid was not a perfect job fit.  There were three or four maids on duty each day.  At lunch time we all met in a vacant room to eat lunch and watch Days of Our Lives.  The rest of the day I was on my own changing sheets and cleaning up disgusting messes...oh, and sanitizing for your protection.

The head maid "trained" me how to sanitize the toilet and then slip the paper ring over the seat.  She actually stuck her hands in the toilet to scrub.  The few times I actually cleaned a toilet I suited up with elbow length plastic gloves.  Most of the time I skipped the scrubbing part of the routine, the toilet usually looked clean enough to me, and I went right to just putting on the paper ribbon to certify the stool as sanitized.

You probably don't want to hear that I sanitized the drinking glasses with the same carefree attitude.  I ran them under the cold water in the sink, dried them with a bath towel and shoved them in the "sanitary envelope."  Ewwww! 

Memories of my summer as a motel maid came flooding back to me last month when I was visiting Austin, Texas.  My daughter and I went out to dinner at Chuy's and this was how the flatware was presented on the table...


I wondered if the staff at Chuy's was as conscientious as I at sanitizing...just in case, I cleaned my silverware with my napkin before eating. 


  1. Oh dear. I shall never pick up a knife and fork in a restaurant again with quite the same insouciance.

  2. I was a motel maid too, for one summer between freshman and sophomore years. We didn't clean the glasses, though...they came to us prewrapped. Probably a good thing, because I used the same care as you did vis-a-vis the toilets...

  3. That reminds me of a conference my boss went to in a small town in Russia, where water was very dear. He watched them wash the plates and silverware with a cloth after the meal. No water, no nothing but a quick wipe.

    I never really believed that sanitary sign anyway, and now you've let me know I was right to be skeptical.

  4. Oh, gosh. I always believed the sanitary strip! Now I'll have to take along my own little cleaning set when I stay at a motel.

    Or maybe I'll take along our every-other-week housekeeper!

  5. Hehehe, and who says what goes around doesn't come around? So funny! I worked a season as a Chamber-maid once - OMG, the tales I could tell! Actually, I might just too.. thanks for the prompt.

  6. Gee, nana, you are changing the definition of sanitized. We ran in the same neighborhood, btw. We lived in Woodland Hills for over twenty years.

  7. Are you certain the napkin was sanitized?

    That reminds me. One of the hardest things for folks who've done the dishes at home to learn is, in restaurants, the flatware and plates are allowed to air dry, rather than be towel dried. Customers never seemed to understand it. They were constantly sending "dirty" silverware back.

  8. Oh how funny. It takes one to know one, or in other words, a former maid knows not to trust the maid. I'm a little more worried than usual now about how clean things are in a hotel/motel.

  9. I'll be looking at the next hotel room I stay in quite a bit differently. Great post. I like that you applied that same sanitation rules to this that you did to those toilets. :-)

  10. Now that was an education for me :) LOL

  11. In search of an affordable motel room for two weeks in San Diego recently, I actually bought a pig in a poke, also known as a room in a residence hotel. Then I walked into the room. We were exhausted from the long flight and old-age amplified jet lag, it was about 10:00 pm, and it took a lot to dissuade us. I was dissuaded on sight. I promised my husband bed bugs and he hoped I was exaggerating. When I turned down the corner of the unwashed bedspread to show him the tell-tale marks I knew would be there, there was a long black hair on the sheet.

    We chose to pay about three times as much for a place that was more subtle in its fraud.

  12. I was a chambermaid in high school (we weren't fancy enough to have the sanitized stuff!!) and it was awful. It shocked me how people could leave their rooms ... or the number of drunk people who barricaded themselves in their rooms and wouldn't come out.

    I know I wasn't always the best at cleaning ... it gets wearying cleaning room after room and you start to cut corners.

    Never seen sanitized silverware though!

  13. LMAO! Nothing like knowing how the other side works to keep you on your toes :-) I never drink out of those cups in bags, only if its sealed plastic around a plastic cup. I was contemplating being a maid a few years ago when we were so broke but ended up getting an admin job at the construction company instead. now I'm sooo glad that I did!


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