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Moving from Toronto to PEI : AirBnB Cleaning Challenges

Living in PEI is a challenge sometimes.

As readers of my blog know … we moved here to explore entrepreneurial opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily be open to us while living in Toronto. I’ve also remarked over time that the work attitudes here on the island are very similar to those of a random Caribbean island.

Today’s rant comes from trying to find good cleaners for our AirBnB properties. Over the past year, we’ve gone through a number of cleaners and only one person we’ve hired so far has come up to the standard which we expect. The ones that didn’t work out were all older with kids or even grandchildren and we’ve found one common trait to all of them.

Poor attitude upfront!!

All of them acted as though they were doing us the favor by working for us. One winner came with her daughter to look at our places. We were in a bind, so we hired her on a trial basis. In the end, the mom was a total bitch and while we paid for 4 hour sessions … they would be out in 2 without having done a proper clean. On top of this, the daughter would do the following:

  • Came to work with her toddler in the car seat
  • Came to work with her friend hanging out babysitting the toddler (without clearing it with us)
  • Came to work and spilled stuff and claimed it was there before

We should have known better to hire this mom & daughter crew but the attitudes are so poor sometimes that you have to settle and be continually looking. After we let this one go, we found the “best” one of them all … but I won’t mention their name publicly as the island is pretty small.

Normally, I would never go after another small business because we all need to help each other, but after how they basically tried to extort us … my gloves are off. We hired this cleaner and her minions … she came off personable, presentable and professional (as much you can find for cleaners in PEI). We had three cleanings from her and every time she cleaned, we had issues with the result …

  • Not taking out compost and leaving it for other guests
  • Taking out garbage and leaving it on porches for other guests
  • Leaving garbage to get attacked by crows.
  • Disconnecting the fridge so other guests came into a massive puddle of water in the living room

I’ve put the screenshots from our guests because facts are important … (unlike what Republicans think!)

2016-07-26 16_45_25-Conversation with Margaret - Airbnb

2016-07-26 16_53_41-Conversation with Blessile - Airbnb


In the end, we didn’t even fire her for this … she simply abandoned the job and never called us until D* chased her down. To which she basically refused to honor her pricing agreement with us and asked us to more than double her rate for her to come back!!!!

More than double her F##@@#@# rate!!!

Why did this happen? Our rationale was that as CFAs (Come from away-ers) she thought that we invented money … a lot of the Islanders we have met think that all CFAs have tons and tons of money trees growing out of their asses. It’s just like Caribbean people thinking that all white people have tons of money. No difference at all in the mindset.

As CFAs with multiple properties … she thought that she could extort us with no consequences. In the end, we refused her crazy demands and D* did the cleaning herself. It was a lot of work but we can roll up our sleeves and get stuff done … that’s how we got to the island. We tried to take the high road on this lady … but her text messaging back to us was ridiculous and typifies what an CFA entrepreneur has to face on the island.

Here’s a piece of commentary on the meaning of CFA – it’s quite loaded (The commentary isn’t mine … I’m merely putting it in here to illustrate some of the legacy views) … the comments in the post are also (airbnb cleaning Challenges)

Prince Edward Island and “come from away”

This is a fascinating article about Prince Edward Island. If you were not born on PEI, you would be known as CFA which means “come from away”. Made me think of those Russian nesting dolls, you know the ones where you can keep on peeling to find several more inside the layers. Goes to prove how very mysterious and exotic all our people happen to be. Learning about Canada and its people is a never ending lovely endeavor. It’s a good article overall, however, I definitely do not agree with the view of Dr.Baldacchino as portrayed by the writer Teresa Wright. Emphasis mine. quote: In a recent report compiled for the provincial Population Secretariat, UPEI Professor Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino found many newcomers to P.E.I. feel the marked distinction between themselves and “real” Islanders is cold, unwelcoming and sometimes just plain discriminatory. The report surveyed recent immigrants to P.E.I. about their reasons for coming to the Island and wanting to stay and, for those who left, the factors that made them want to leave. Among the 257 respondents who shared their stories in the survey, “the alleged closed-mindedness of Islanders” was the most common explanation given by newcomers for wanting to leave. “Many of them are fairly concerned about the labelling that’s going on,” Baldacchino said. A settler to P.E.I. from another province or country is often referred to as a CFA (Come-From-Away). But this label is seen as prejudiced and mean-spirited by many new residents. Baldacchino said he believes the designation of newcomers as ‘CFAs’ borders dangerously on outright racism. “It’s creating a class of second-class citizens who will never be able to belong and I think that’s an issue.” As an immigrant to P.E.I. himself, Baldacchino knows first-hand how difficult it can be to integrate into Island society. He always gets questions about where he’s from, especially due to his foreign name and accent. When he tells people he’s from Charlottetown, they just laugh and ask, ‘No, but where are you really from?’ “This is something that is very painful because it all the time means that I can’t belong,” he said. unquote Now, I simply cannot see why Baldacchino thinks that the phrase “come from away” is racist. It is a natural turn of language. Being an immigrant myself and one of the visible minorities, if someone were to ask me “where are you from?” I would welcome the question. Firstly, because someone is showing an interest in my origins and secondly because I think that is a natural question if you have a friendly and inquisitive mind. It has nothing to do with racism like this dopey Dr.Baldacchino is suggesting. Pompous fools like Dr.Baldacchino go out of their way to create a feeling of racism where none is intended. And pray tell us Dr.Baldacchino, how many people, that actually left the island for other places said they did not like the “closed-mindedness of Islanders”? Were there 2 who said that, were there 3? I liked the attitude of the ex-Texan Debbie Crowther who moved to PEI a few years ago. Read the article but ignore the nonsense spurted by the so called “provincial Population Secretariat, UPEI” Dr.Baldacchino. AreYouAnIsland by Teresa Wright

I would love to get your questions and commentary …

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at [email protected]
  • Choco

    Just wanted to say thanks for writing up these ‘moving to PEI’ articles, We’re planning on moving from Toronto and we’re a ‘mixed’ family so getting these kinds of thoughts and opinions on the culture and the people are great! Thank you! 😀