“Leave as found”, puppy dogs and babies.

We use the  term “Leave as found” in our terms and conditions, which is basically a request to leave the cottage on departure as clean as it was found on  arrival. A not unreasonable request we think as we believe the affordable pricing of self-catering, based on a per person per night price, from as little as £12 per night even in peak season, is a trade-off between us the provider and the guest where the servicing tasks are shared.  This is opposed  to the fully serviced provision in Hotels, Guest Houses etc where the higher price includes an element to clean up after the stay.

We take the meaning of the term Self-Catering in it’s fullest sense where guests ‘cater’ for themselves, not only by cooking for themselves but also cleaning for themselves. Now we don’t expect guests to leave the houses spotless but we do expect them to make some attempt to tidy up.  What causes me to raise this topic is the way some guests left one of the cottages on departure today, they just walked out leaving the house in a ‘right state’. It appears that they cleaned nothing from arrival and just let their children run riot with breakfast cereal all over the floor and other foodstuffs walked into the floor.  Thank goodness we have durable tiling on the downstairs living spaces, if we had carpets we would not stand a hope.
We pride ourselves on how clean we prepare the houses and this matters greatly when we have a number of turn-a-rounds on busy days such as Saturdays in July and August when we could have as many as 17 properties to clean in the 5 hours between departures at 11.00 a.m.and the new arrivals at 4.00p.m., so that trade-off really comes into it’s own.
I don’t what this blog to become a rant, I think it is the exception that makes the rule and the truth is that the vast majority of guests leave the properties as they found them, so it really stands out when some don’t, I believe it shows a degree of dis-respect for my cleaners and my property.
On the topic of how guests leave properties, we often come across items left behind, the most common is the humble telephone charger. These are often plugged into sockets in bedrooms or behind furniture, so are often over-looked on departure. I can’t think of the most unusual we have come across but a colleague in the self-catering business has the best story. After some guests left she was preparing the house for new arrivals when she came across a puppy sleeping in the bottom of a wardrobe, I don’t know if the guests ever reclaimed the puppy, but thank goodness the cottage owner was a dog lover. It reminds me of a story some nurse friends told me in London, one of them was working in a maternity hospital and this extended family came to collect the new mum and baby. It was the nurses final responsibility to carry the baby down out of the Ward to the exit and hand it over to the departing parents. On this occasion so many of the extended family had arrived, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, siblings that by the time they all clambered back into the small Nissan Sunny, new mum and all, they closed the door and drove off and left the nurse standing holding the baby. I would like to say they were half way across London before they realised, but I think they only got as far as the hospital gates.

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