So your nanny has sticky fingers. So long--or so what?

By Margot Slade  | April 8, 2011 - 2:05PM

On, a suspicious parent snoops through the bags of a "long-time, trusted nanny" and finds paper towels, soap and garbage bags apparently pilfered from household supplies. Whether it's a one-time thing isn't clear. 

Nor does the parent know why. Perhaps the nanny was in a rush to get home and took a few items of little value from a well-stocked supply, instead of stopping at the store. Or in an "act of desperation" she's stealing "everyday necessities" because she's struggling on her current salary. 

More than one UrbanBabyite compared petty household pilfering to taking (stealing?) office supplies--a few pencils, Post-Its, etc.--and suggested it be overlooked.

"Although not great, I don't think it's cause for firing (on its own)," says one.  "What is your overall sense of her? My parents had an housekeeper that would take small things as well as food supplies, but she was very fond of us (was with us for almost 15 years) and never took anything else. She was not poor, but she had been very poor when younger (widowed very young with 2 small children to raise). So my mom was ok with that."

Others say any theft is theft--"She's dishonest and doesn't respect you. I'd fire her immediately"-- and that the worst was yet to come:  "This happened to me, I let it go, and she grew more and more bold, stealing money, jewelry,, it turned me into a crazy person, always worrying she'd stolen something I couldn't find. Not worth it."

Some commenters advised giving the nanny a chance to shape up before shipping her out, but given the fact that the employer also crossed the line, a direct approach might not be best: "How would that confrontation work exactly? 'I've been going through your bag, as per usual, and noticed that you have paper towels there... you filthy thief.'"

Better option: A casually dropped I'm-missing-a-few-things-let-me-know-if-you-see them.   


Related posts:

Do snow days apply to nannies?

The Nanny Question: Tipping the person who cares for your children

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Our nanny is crimping our move


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