So: How much should I pay Sirish to clean apartment?
Not that my apartment really needs cleaning, because for a guy I'm pretty phastidious. In case you are not as hip, or as black, as I am, I took the word "fastidious" and swapped out the f for the ph, which I hear is the way that urban youth roll, which shows only that I am neither hip nor black. Like you.
I make my bed, even though no one is going to see it but me. But one can hope. (Kidding!) To give my bedroom the "lived in" look, I sometimes leave a pair of jeans artfully draped. If you looked really close, or used the before-mentioned sniff test, you'd know that those sheets have just been washed, even though I realized that with four beds in my apartment I could just move around and sleep each night in a different one, giving each set of sheets the chance to smoke a cigarette and maybe get a drink before I came back again.
I wash my dishes promptly. Promptly means "when I wash them". Given how few dishes I have, it's not like I need to buy stock in Palmolive, although after clicking on this link I realize how much fun my life is lacking, if it lacks Palmolive.
Yeah, ok, my desk gets a bit sloppy, but I usually clean it when I'm avoiding an important project, or trying to remedy self-loathing, or pointlessly seeking control over the external world, or something, so a bit of mess is just fine with me.
This is all to say that I don't need Sirish to clean my apartment. He asked me if he could clean it, though, saying he could use the money, and I do earn a ton more than he does.
I'm pretty egalitarian, and I'm uncomfortable with social distinctions. I try not to suck up to those who might think they are higher on the food chain than me. I don't think any tasks are beneath me. Like Jimmy Carter, I carry my own luggage, although it really did look stupid for The President to be hauling a Samsonite. I didn't say I was completely egalitarian. But then again maybe Carter was just messing with us. As you might remember, if you have been reading this blog, and if you have not I strongly encourage you to start from the beginning, because what you think it's easy to write like this?, at first I resisted having a Tea Boy bring me coffee, until I got over it. My instinct is to be self reliant, and to clean my own apartment.
So, of course, I told Sirish:
How much do you charge?
At this point, the economists among us -- if there are not any, you should recruit five or so, to get at least five if not more economic perspectives -- would probably assume that Sirish would ask for as much as he thought he could get, I would offer as little as I thought possible, and we would negotiate some mutually agreeable number. Because there are lots of potential cleaners here, that price would be pretty low.
That's not at all the way it worked. Sirish said "Pay me whatever you want." Rather than thinking how hard I could screw the proletariat, and by that I mean my fellow human of integrity, I asked someone in my office "How much should I pay him?"
I was told: 50QR, plus cab fare for him to get home, for 2 hours of cleaning.
That's what I told him I would pay, and he accepted.
Perspective #1: That's about $6.75 an hour, you cheap ass douche bag.
Perspective #2: Sirish is paid about $1.75 an hour to serve coffee, and you are offering him 3.5 times as much, you munificent saint! Besides, really, I could clean the apartment in about 20 minutes, since it basically needed light dusting.
Later, I told one of my colleagues about our arrangement and he said "Mark, 50QR is a little light (you cheap ass douche bag). You should offer him 75QR."
The next day, I gave Sirish 25QR more, thanking him for his good work.
Here's where it gets interesting, so prepare to start getting interested.
Sirish says: "I clean for professors X and Y, and they pay me 100QR (you cheap ass douche bag)."
My inner egalitarian is now totally spinning, because not only did I underpay him, I underpaid him even when I tried to make up for underpaying him!
When I drove him to my place this past Thursday to clean -- yes, I drove him! And I opened doors for him when we walked to the car! -- I gave him 100QR to clean, another 25QR to make up for the first time, and cab fare.
I tell my colleague about this, glad that now I'm finally being a good, solid, generous, decent human.
My colleague says: "He told you that he's getting paid 100QR? No way. He just pulled a fast one on you."