“You used the bathroom; I heard the flush”: Woman fired the cleaning lady because she used her home’s bathroom and ate with the silverware
By Marques Travae
So much for the idea that “she’s just like one of the family”. Of course, this phrase is often uttered by middle class Brazilians when speaking of their maids and domestic workers. Well, a recent story that recently made headlines shows that that phrase is probably more times than not just a nice thing to say rather an actual sentiment. Always keep in mind that Brazil is a country that remains heavily influenced by its history of the enslavement of millions of Africans, an institution that lasted 350 years.
These days, because of modern technology, people have more resources with which to expose the realities of race and class that are still at the root of social interactions and the existing social/racial hierarchy that undermine Brazilian society. Through the popular phone app WhatsApp, one maid shared a surreal dialogue she recently had with her employer that enraged people due to its absurdity.
The woman, who had been providing services for another woman, known simply as “Juliana”, responded to a message via the app in which the converstation started off pleasant. Things changed quickly when the woman realized that the purpose of the call was the employer’s will to dismiss her from the job. Unfortunately, this happens everyday, but the reason the boss lady wanted fire was what outraged people.
You see, the employer wasn’t dissatisfied with woman’s cleaning services. No, the problem was that the cleaning lady dared use the toilet as well as the silverware to eat in the house.
“Here at home we only have one bathroom and you used it because I heard the flush. You know, this is unhygienic,” said the woman known as “Juliana”. Juliana was so revolted by the cleaning lady’s “sin” that she even threw away the silverware that the woman had used to eat with. As if all of that weren’t surreal enough, Juliana went on to tell her former employee that she would also ruin the woman’s reputation spread via social network so that others wouldn’t hire her.
The cleaning woman shared prints of the conversation on the Facebook page called “Eu, empregada doméstica” (“Me, a maid”), which brings together experiences and testimonies of humiliating situations experienced by domestic workers all over Brazil.
Finding it hard to believe what she reading, the cleaning woman responded: “I worked like a convict and I didn’t even have the right to use the bathroom?”. Sounds to me very much like the relations between slave masters and slaves, the casa grande (big house) and the senzala (the slave quarters) of the 16th to 19th centuries. But this is 21st century Brazil.
“I don’t want that kind of person in my home, ” Juliana continued. “Besides, I threw away the silverware and the plate you ate with. Remember I told you to get the disposables?”
In less than a few days, the post had disgusted users of the social network and been shared more than 1,350 times.
Here’s how the whole dialogue went:
How are dear, everything ok?
– Hi, Miss Juliana! Good evening, yes!
How nice. I’m sending a message about the cleaning
– Oh yes, tomorrow I’ll be there on time
Okay. Actually, I don’t want you to come anymore. Don’t get me wrong, but the last time you came I didn’t like some of the things you did.
– I’m sorry, but what did I do? The cleaning wasn’t good?
Yes, it was great…That’s not the problem. Here at home we only have one bathroom and you used it because I heard the flush. Do you know this is unsanitary that you use other people’s toilets? Do you do this in the house of the people you work for?
– I can’t believe you’re firing me because I used the bathroom? I worked like a convict and I had no right to use the bathroom? I don’t have any illnesses, understand, Juliana, I left everything clean.
I don’t care dear, I don’t want that kind of person at home and besides I threw away the silverware and plate that you used to eat! Remember I told you to get the disposable ones? So you didn’t even do that!
– Unfortunately the world is full of people like you! Yes, you. I said this but I didn’t think you were serious. If I’m a problem! I’m the one who really don’t want this anymore. Besides, you didn’t even value my work, that’s sick people’s stuff.
Besides being disgusting and rude. I’m gonna spread it on my face(book). So no other employer to get (hire) you
-You can post it! I’m at peace
While I’m certainly claiming that all Brazilians of middle class homes have this sort attitude and look at others as beneath them or apparently not even other human beings, this incident is something to keep in mind whenever you hear people referring to their domestic workers as “just like one of the family”.
With information courtesy of R7 Notícias and O Viral