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bobcroft
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A correspondent sent me a note regarding a quite expensive missing (stolen) ring at the Paris Ritz, via the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/10/paris-ritz-finds-missing-750000-ring-in-vacuum-cleaner-bag?utm_term=6576f2ba5ca960697a9b4d198117661b&utm_campaign=USMorningBriefing&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=usbriefing_email Read and enjoy the article. 30-plus years ago, we had the chance of a similar occurrence, albeit on a less expensive level. We were cleaning a Native American style jewelry manufacturing firm, with showroom attached. Due to the materials used (silver, semi-precious stones) we needed to clean the facility while staff were present, in the early evening after the showroom had closed. For some reason (boredom?), one of the staff accused our tech of vacuuming up precious metal, and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
Sermon the other day was on shepherds - tending to one's flock, laying down one's life for, and so on. Quite relevance to Christmas, and to Christ. The Old Testament puts much stock in shepherds; the New Testament, perhaps not so much. A shepherd’s job is to protect, to nurture. If he sets out for pasture in the morning with 100, he’d darn well better bring 100 back the evening, all healthy. Judaism is similar – it’s about protecting and nurturing what you’ve got – God’s Chosen People. You don’t push for converts. Tellingly, Christ seems to have had no... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Posted by a good friend, just before Thanksgiving: Dear Friends, As we enter, or rather as we enter further, into the 'holiday season', and its corresponding 'giving season', especially with its end of the year tax considerations, many people will be thinking of what charities they might want to support. So before you write those checks, you might want to read these stories. https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/greatlakes/news/donor-recalls-veteran-fathers-stories-of-the-salvation-army-in-wwii/ https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1989-05-01-8904080944-story.html https://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/red-cross-vs-salvation-army.26138/ The moral of this email is check out the character of your charity choices. And finally, When asked what the 3 S's of The Salvation Army meant, the founder William Booth said "The three... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
My Salt River Brass Band's Veteran's Day concert will include John Williams "Hymn to the Fallen". I'll announce the number thusly: Hymn to the Fallen, from John Williams’ score for Saving Private Ryan, is a memorial the soldiers sacrificed in the Normandy Invasion. The film is based loosely on the 4 Niland brothers. The military had a loosely enforced policy of not placing brothers in the same unit; the policy was better enforced after the November 1942 sinking of the light cruiser Juneau in the Solomon Islands; it went down with the 5 Sullivan brothers. They’d enlisted together just after... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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I play euphonium in a pretty fair concert band out in Scottsdale. We performed a concert the other evening featuring the Finale from Dvorak's symphony "From the New World". in addition to a wonderful euphonium part (much of the cello stuff in the original), I was taped to introduce the number. Interesting bit of history behind it. My notes: "Next, we have the Finale of Dvorak’s From the New World Symphony. ''Bohemian composer Antonin Dvorak was of a school of Eastern and Northern European composers who drew on themes and melodies of their ancestral cultures to inspire “serious” compositions, thus... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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A bit ago, I took a call from a client questioning whether the that we'd reported at her facility were in fact done. I double checked the floor crew's overnight check-ins to see if we'd miss-entered the job, but our floor tech's message was clear - he'd been assigned a VCT burnishing and carpet cleaning, and reported them as done. A quick look at the key safe confirmed that he had been issued those keys and no others, so he couldn't have visited another building by mistake. I sauntered over to the client and confirmed her suspicions; pretty easy to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Several days ago, I was asked the value of various association memberships and accreditations; often it's difficult to quantify the value of such if one looks at clients signed or the "bottom line". I told a story. We recently started service for a pre-school through 5th grade charter school. In my first meeting with the principal, she mentioned that she had asked her receptionist to track down several janitorial firms to quote an annual service package. Wanting quality, receptionist logged onto the BBB. Their site includes (the last I looked) a bit over 100 janitorial firms locally. She winnowed by... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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A good friend, Ken Clark, a Realtor at HomeSmart, sent out the following article in his newsletter. A good story, with great moral. In a market where flippers or sellers sometimes plaster over issues in the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar, here is a case study on how to do it right. You may recall our 2br/2ba, 976sf cute bungalow in Central Phoenix that closed just last week. The sellers encountered a problem. There was a minor bit of settling around a stem wall, where some plumbing work had been done, or there had been some leaking over years. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Talking recently to one of my folks about our successes, and failures, in helping janitorial clients improve their indoor air quality, a particular situation from years back came to mind. We'd spent some years measuring airborne particle count in client facilities using a neat piece of technology, a hand-held particle counter. Couldn't help re-posting the following: A guru of American industry remarked that "you cannot improve what you cannot track, and cannot track what you cannot measure", or something very similar. We clean for health, not (like many in the commercial janitorial field) for appearance. Likely the most significant impact... Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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One of the most enjoyable aspects of providing commercial cleaning service to a large and diverse clientele is the opportunity to work with, and learn a bit about, lots of different businesses and professions. One of my favorite clients is The Nash, Phoenix's premier jazz club, which happens to be a half mile from my office, adjoining downtown Phoenix. This last weekend was their annual fundraiser, and I scored early tickets to their New Orleans themed Sunday brunch and music. Can't go wrong with a Dixieland band, quiche, parfait, waffles and chicken, fruit and berries, various bacons and sausages, and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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I had a site visit yesterday with one of my larger clients, a vocational ed campus. The facility looks quite good, just a couple of periodic floor jobs (burnishing, scrubbing textured VCT, ceramic) we need to catch over the next class break. We generally include such occasional jobs as part of our ongoing service; no extra bills for the customer. We did get the textured VCT scrubbing done last night; I try to move fast when I can. One bit of periodic work needed involves something of a safety challenge - we do an occasional scrub of stairwells, including the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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A bit after the Covid pandemic, and associated lockdowns, started, I began - VERY gradually, with due concern about protecting my back) - lifting weights. (With the bars and honky-tonks shuttered, I needed something to do...) Looking on-line, based on my age and weight, I'm still rated at novice level on deadlifts, but (for reasons I cannot imagine) close to elite level on the one-arm dumbbell row. Kind of thinking, should I ever retire, that a bit of competition might be fun. Not thinking seriously, but something to conjure with. One inducement to such is that one generally competes within... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Got a call from a client; she wanted us to skip the weekend cleaning because they're doing some renovating due to a pipe leak, mostly replacing drywall and all the carpet. As she put it, the renovation crew would have to work fast (given the size of the job and the Easter holiday) and she didn't want one of my smaller folks rolled up in some old carpet and trucked to the dump. It reminded me of a situation I doubt I've thought about in 20 years. We used to office in a 1929 building in the heart of downtown... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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We tend to focus on the sexy "what's new and better" in jobsite health: hydrogen peroxide and quat sanitizers and disinfectants, microfiber for floors and surfaces, HEPA filtration on vacuums, chemical selection and training in use of, and so on. All of it good, and I figure we're somewhere around the cutting edge of the industry along those lines. But the lowly washing of hands (thoroughly) is overlooked. Here's an article from our friends at Waxie (our go-to paper and equipment supplier - good folks!) focusing on just hands. Per the article, other points in hand sanitation, often overlooked, include:... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught an article via our friends at Cleaning & Maintenance Management regarding a janitor suing her employer because she trapped herself in a jail holding cell over the weekend; the holding cell door closed behind her, and both her keys and cell phone were outside on her cleaning cart. There does seem to be a bit of mismanagement on the part of the employer; to quote the article: "The complaint claims that Allied Universal should be held responsible for the incident due to improper training and a lack of supervision of their employees. “There had to have been at least... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
This has nothing to do with my usual janitorial ruminations, but on something else that's concerned me for some time. I happen to be introducing a tune at this Sunday's Salt River Brass concert, Jay Unger's Ashokan Farewell; here's my thoughts: Ashokan Farewell is the haunting theme used throughout Ken Burns PBS series “The Civil War”. It’s a waltz in the style of a Scottish lament. From its style, most folks assume it to be of the Civil War period; in fact, it’s the only piece used in the film that is of modern origin, written by fiddle player Jay... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Since early in the Covid epidemic, I've followed Katelyn Jetelina, who posts regularly as "Your Local Epidemiologist", for real time information on the progress of the virus and various remediation methods. Quite useful, both in fine tuning our disinfection regimen and in helping to keep safe, and working, my folks (and myself). Back in February, she posted (just to lighten the mood, I suspect) her take on the recent TV hit "The Last of Us", about an insect fungus that evolves to infect humans - and take over their minds, as it does ants in the real world. She got... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught a good article, via our friends at Cleaning & Maintenance Management, regarding lessons learned (or that we should have learned) from the 22-23 flu season. I'll quote a couple of good points: 1) The typically predictable timings for flu season might no longer be accurate, reinforcing the need for a high-level of germ protection throughout the year. 2) With the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and the surges in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and streptococcus A (strep A), this winter showed that flu is no longer the only respiratory virus threat in the workplace. The article goes on to stress... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Bob, a few days back you posted a story titled 'Homeless in My Neighborhood' about the Old Station, an old gas station that's been converted into a cute sandwich shop in 'the Zone'. As your article mentioned, the Zone refers to the epicenter of the homeless population in Phoenix, both various homeless resource providers and the large encampment. I also recall, as you mentioned, ordering lunch from the Old Station when I worked at CBN. They have good food. As you know, for a couple of years I worked for a homeless service provider located about a block from the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Folks ignorant of history make some ironic decisions. Recently, both the national Audubon Society and its New York chapter have contemplated removing Audubon's name from their names, having (apparently) recently discovered that Audubon owned slaves. The national society elected to retain the name; the New York chapter is removing it. The New York chapter seems oblivious to the rather more odious "York" in their name (and in that of city and state as well). The "York" was James II, Duke of York and brother to Charles II later king in his own right. New York was named for James after... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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I uncertain times, given banking challenges, inflation, labor and other shortages, I suspect we're soon to see commercial janitorial clients, ours and others, looking at ways to cut costs. Here's some notes I put together a few years ago, during another uncertain period: When the economy went south a while back, many firms around the Valley cutback on facility cleaning - either dropping the janitorial service entirely, or cutting services to a minimum, with periodic jobs such as burnishing and refinishing tile, carpet cleaning, and window washing eliminated. (Or, if those periodic cleaning items were not included in the ongoing... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Caught a New York Times article today about a sandwich shop a bit over a half mile from . It's called Old Station Subs, and we've ordered take-out from them from time to time over the years. Phoenix's huge homeless encampment (1100 and counting) is a block or two from the shop; the article deals with the issues longtime small business owners face with drug dealing, theft, murder and general crime occurring on their doorstep. The neighborhood abuts the old "Duce", along the rail yard. the name is variously attributed to it's being the old produce district, it's situation between... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Some time ago, I presented a quote to a small medical facility whose floors had really deteriorated, because their current janitorial service charges extra (a LOT extra) for refinishing ("waxing") - and likes to refinish often, because they are not burnishing in between. Vinyl tile requires regular maintenance - to retain appearance, and to help provide a safe, injury free and sanitary workplace. While glossy floors may look slippery, modern floor finishes meet or exceed Federal standards for traction, even when wet; they are generally more slip resistant than bare tile. Worn finish (or bare tile) is porous, and thus... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Should have looked further. Just after I posted yesterday on innovations in window cleaning, and speculated on some sort of robots designed for high-rise buildings, I found in my in-box my daily feed from Building Service Contractors Association International (CBN has been a member since 1985).. Included was an article on exactly that. It seems that a couple of innovative firms (both Israeli, go figure) have systems up and running. One places a robot on (essentially) an existing platform; the other has a light weight device, suspended by a rope, "climbing" down the building using suction cups. The latter uses... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet
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Here's a good article on the Future of Window Cleaning, from our friends at CleanLink. It talks about pure water cleaning, ultrasound, cobotics (essentially, extending one's reach), and drones. I suspect quick adaption of existing high-rise rigging (when you see a platform hanging on cables from the top of a high-rise, the window crew on the platform washing floor by floor) to facilitate some sort of robotic system to replace the guys on the platform. High-rise window cleaning has always seemed to me to be a major safety risk; I gather that's why workers comp insurance for window cleaning firms... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2023 at The Janitors' Closet