Saturday, June 08, 2013

ABC 20-20: "The New Help": Butler school is harder than Army Basic

ABC 20-20:” The New Help” presented the “live-in” domestic help industry.

It started with a bi-racial married couple living in a 500-qg-rt apartment in a Hollywood estate, showing the sparse lifestyle and murphy bed, but pool access. 

In southern California, nannies are in short supply, and command top dollar. 

But the most interesting part of the presentation was the butler boot camp or academy (in The Netherlands), where David Muir attends as a reporter.  The “students” pay $17000 tuition for an eight-week course that not all of them pass.  The days go 16 hours, and they have balls thrown at them as they carry dinnerware, to simulate angry guests.  They have a drill where they have to dress in a tux within three minutes.  They have to learn to iron clothes with military precision --- we didn’t have to do that in Army Basic. The :academy" section reminded me of Donald Trump's "Apprentice".  

I cannot imagine a life based on living in someone’s home.  I want my own life.  But good butlers can make six-figure salaries. 

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(Note: ABC videos work better for me in browsers other than Internet Explorer; scripting issues.  Try Chrome or Safari if possible.) 

I thought that the ethical questions about live-ins came up during my own mother’s eldercare, when we used live-ins twice when I was living in another city.,  We didn’t do that at the end.  Live-ins don’t make overtime (that was a 2007 case before the Supreme Court) and would seem exploited – although my mother said, “well she gets to live in a nice house” – while I can go out and “play”.  I remember moral debates with the hospice staff about this.  This would make a good topic for a 20-20 report.

One time, in the middle 1990s, I went to a reception at the US Capitol, for the House, and my ticket was saying “yes” to, “Would you like to serve food?”  So subservient!




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