Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Babysitter Blues

We have been trying to find a reliable babysitter for the occasional night out since we've moved to Atlanta. Unfortunately, most of our efforts have been in vain. I found one woman through a friend, but she is booked all the time, as we are the fourth family on her priority list. She'll have a random Tuesday night open, but every time she's available, SOB is not.

My friend J sits for us sometimes as part of a sitting exchange we have going on. That works out pretty well, but occasionally there's a night when we want to go out and it isn't 'our turn' or J is busy. When my in-laws were in town, we asked her to watch Sam, but she already had plans that entire weekend, so we were stuck. She called me the next day, though, and told me that a family friend was coming over to watch their baby on Friday night. If we were interested, we could bring Sam over and split the sitter with them. As a plus, I even knew the sitter's older sister through J, so I felt pretty comfortable leaving Sam, even though I had never met this girl before. Also, he would be asleep before she got there. All she had to do was, literally, sit.

J and I spoke briefly of the mechanics of paying for her services. The rate was $15 per hour for two kids, so $7.50 a piece. J and her husband were planning to be out pretty late, so at one point we discussed the option of J paying for the whole evening and us paying J later for our portion. Nothing was officially agreed upon, but it wasn't something either of us were highly concerned about.

That night, we all met at J's house, put our boys to sleep, chatted with the sitter about phone numbers and such and went on our merry ways. The sitter, M, seemed like a nice girl. She had spent a few years after high school kind of wandering before deciding to become a teacher. At 26, she had just finished college, and was planning to student teach in the fall. She said she was looking to babysit as much as possible this summer to supplement her income. And? She lived right around the corner from us.

All night we were practically salivating at the prospect of going out to movies again. Having dinner at places with cloth napkins more than once a quarter. With number dos' arrival looming, we want to get out and experience more of Atlanta while we can. With a sitter on speed dial, the summer's possibilities seemed endless.

After our meal, we collected Sammy and paid M for four hours, even though we were really only out for three and a half. Later on, SOB said he even slipped her an extra five bucks in hopes of buttering her up for the future. I explained to M that J might be under the assumption that she was going to pay for the whole evening and get reimbursed from us later, and I asked her to let J know we had already paid. I made a mental note to call J and leave her a voice mail just in case, but between getting Sam home and back to bed and then chatting with the in-laws, I forgot.

Last week, I called M and left her a message about sitting for us on June second and June sixteenth. We have an anniversary coming up, and I thought I'd surprise SOB and take him out to see Spiderman on the sixteenth for father's day.

On Monday, J came over for lunch. As she was leaving, she inquired about whether we had paid M that evening. When I told her we had, she blanched. Apparently, M either never told her that we paid her, or flat out lied to her and said we didn't, so J gave her $60 when they got home. At the end of the day, this girl got paid $95 bucks to sit and watch TV for four hours on a Friday night. J was in a hurry to leave because her little guy had started wailing, so I didn't get to ask any questions.

I guess I'm not surprised that M never returned my phone call.


Update: The kitty is home and probably fine. We have some antibiotics and a weeks worth of special food that is supposed to be extra gently on his tummy.

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super des said...

That's quite a nice income "supplement" she's got going!

Becky said...

i would be livid that this girl got payed extra. a tip is one thing but getting paid double for your share is just not right. I am sorry she did that. Though I am glad to hear that kitty should be doing better!

Amy Jo said...

I'm going to call my friend and offer to split the difference with her. She shouldn't have to pay for more than her fair share, even if the baby sitter was a dirty evil liar.