How Clean?

Further to my post Smells Nice! regarding the show Hoarders, it is very instructive to see how the English handle the same problem. In the American version, counselors talk to the poor victims of their compulsion, reasoning with them and trying to persuade them that they really should do something about it. Sometimes they succeed, but more often than not a few things get thrown out (with half of them being secretly rescued) and the hoarder ends up basically in the same situation. In the UK show How Clean Is Your House?, Kim (the SS dominatrix) and Aggie (the stern English nanny) simply march into the offender’s home and tell him what a dirty dog he is and how he should be ashamed living in such filth. They take samples from bathroom and kitchen and describe in great detail the horrible diseases he will get from the organisms they contain, then put him to work scrubbing the toilet with a toothbrush while they and their crew clear the place out. At the end, he is reduced to tears by actually seeing his floor and being able to have people around again. Much more effective, one might think, and Kim and Aggie did try a similar venture in the States, but as my son just pointed out, the relative rate of gun ownership in the two countries, especially among the more obsessive members of the community, may rule against too assertive an approach in that country.

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