Monday Problem: I think my sitter is wearing my perfume

(this ‘problem’ has been abbreviated from a long narrative email and I’ve changed a few things to protect people – Nanny X)

Dear Nanny X,

… I think my sitter uses my perfume. When she comes to work in the morning she doesn’t smell of anything but when I come home at night she smells like Channel #19. I happen to keep my Channel #19 in the main washroom cabinet, the one my sitter uses. It’s not that I’m that bothered about the perfume even though it’s expensive. It’s the fact that she thinks she can use it. She’s from another culture very different to ours so I’ve entertained the notion she may not even know what Channel #19 is. My nightmare is that she uses it to deodorize the bathroom when … well you take the point. Should I say something? How can I prove it? We like her as a sitter so is this worth while pursuing?

Mrs W


Dear Mrs W,

the thought of anyone using 



as air freshener is horrifying in and of itself. This is a tricky one. I mean how can you prove the sitter’s using your perfume? Maybe you could hire a detective dust the perfume for fingerprints then see if they match with your sitter’s? There really is no other definitive way of proving it. 

Wait … I’ve got it.

Why don’t you just move your perfume to your en suite washroom and hide it someplace, then put this in the main washroom?




I mean what’s the worst that could happen? Hymph .. well Sitter X goes home reeking of old rose petals? Heck if she’s from a culture so very different for ‘ours’ she probably won’t even know what air freshener is because they probably don’t even notice awful smells that would make us gag, like manure, and such like. 

Joking aside, employees in private homes should not presume to take or use what rightfully isn’t their’s and I do understand why you would find this annoying. But it’s really hard to see how you could even bring this up without looking petty. Let’s just say she is spraying your perfume, she will probably not admit to it. She will likely be so embarrassed that you ‘know’ that she may quit out of shame. If she is innocent she will be outraged and she will probably want to quit. Either way I imagine that your home will become an intolerable place to work for her. 

So to make life simple, move the perfume and let it go. 

Nanny X