RACE IN THE COUNTRY: Illegal Immigrants Turn up their Noses at Some Kinds of Work

I’m writing today about an interesting phenomenon:  maid snobbery.  Instinctively, one thinks that because the economy is in a downturn, people should be happy to find a job, any job.  Depressingly, a lot of new jobs are low paying, minimum wage roles that scarcely provide for one person above the poverty level, much less a family of four.

It turns out, unsurprisingly, that a lot of people don’t want those jobs.  Americans are becoming snobs, and low skilled jobs keep going to illegal immigrants.  But the trickle-down effect doesn’t end there – even the immigrants don’t want certain jobs.  One of those jobs is cleaning our apartment.

It doesn’t seem so bad on the face of it:  a two bedroom apartment with hardwood floors in a nice area of Santa Monica.  It’s sunny and quiet here.  But maids don’t like it.  Perhaps its the coin-op laundry room, but they don’t want to our laundry at all.  They don’t want to clean the drapes either, and maybe they’re chagrined we have two kids with lots of toys.  It’s an old building, with no dishwasher and old appliances.  But it’s pretty small and we do have a top of the line vacuum.  I’m charged $100 or more, but wealthy friends tell me that’s what they pay for a whole house north of Montana.

I’ve interpolated, from my own experiences and the anecdotal evidence I’ve gotten from asking my more well-heeled friends about their maids, that we’re missing the aspirational component. As in – the maids identify with us, they don’t aspire to be like us, and I guess they find this depressing.

For example, our neighbor, who just hit it big and now tours with a major rockstar in her entourage, now has a maid.  Same building, but yes, her stuff is nicer.  How do I know?  Her maid told me to feel the softness of her sheets when we met in the laundry room. In so doing, she mentioned with pride that she works for some rich people, all of them richer than my neighbor, though curiously, none had such soft sheets. Points to my neighbor for high class taste were implied. I had once thought I might ask that maid if she wanted to clean for me (if one day I could afford it), but now my hopes are dashed.  She’s not interested, I can already tell.

So I’m stuck with cleaning up after myself. And it’s ok.  You can be above cleaning up someone else’s shit, but at the end of the day you’re responsible for your own.

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