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Short Story:  We suspect our cleaning lady whom we have had for almost 20 years of taking wine from our cellar. What would you do and how would you confront her?

Long Story: So this one is eating away at my wife and I. Last month I noticed some gaps where my 2005 Bordeaux are stored in a section of rack in our cellar. After a quick Cellar Tracker search it looked to be just under a case of mixed bottles. Now it's possible some were consumed and not logged out of CT, but unlikely that all (or even 1/2 were) since some of the missing were multiples of the same label while others were some I know I wanted to wait on to open and I wouldn't miss that many as I am pretty diligent with CT.

So, last week we were going away for the week so I took some pics of my racks in order to get a record of bottles in the racks so that I could compare to the racks to the pics when we returned. We came back last night so I checked today (did not want to- felt awful doing it because didn't want to see any missing). When I compared the current racks to the rack pictures, sure enough one bottle of 2005 Bordeaux was undeniably missing. All other racks in the basement had no missing bottles. So again, there appears to be a "leak" in my dwindling stash of '05's specifically which are in the same rack area. The pics was taken the day before we left so it was as current with absolutely no wine taken by us since. While away, we had a good friend come everyday to feed our cat- she and her husband do not drink. We also had an Aunt and Uncle stop at our house briefly but we know they wouldn't have needed to go to basement and it would be a shocker if they took any wine without at least asking first. There is not an easy resale value for these wines. Recently I have become suspicious of our cleaning lady- who we have had for almost 20 years!- since she does venture to the basement once in awhile and wine first been noticed missing after some recent visits- also times we were not at home. She comes once a month and has always had a key as we have trusted her for all these years. We have never noticed anything else missing and have trusted her implicitly up till now. Sometimes she has a helper but lately she has been working alone in the house.

To complicate things, she also has customers that include our good friend who feeds the cat, other friends, and my wife's boss at work. This creates an added dilemma as we would feel obligated to share this story with them. We do not want to get the police involved, even though the total missing wine is valued under $1000 (keeping in mind that some could just have been an oversight on CT) and there is no real proof anyway other than a single incident picture/rack comparison. We do want to confront her but want to be tactful. Her reputation and a significant part of her business could be ruined if we make this claim which would be made even worse if we are mistaken somehow. We work with her directly as she is self employed so there is no agency involved. I don't expect to be compensated as I have no proof of what was actually taken. We hate to have to let her go but this makes us very uncomfortable. I'd appreciate your opinions on how you would address her as well as how you would handle the situation in general. Thank you.

Original Post

Camera to be 100% sure

But I get the impression something has changed in her personal life.

She's been with you for all these years and hasn't had a problem before.

Maybe she was on the wagon....

Could be an onset of something medical,

I remember clearly certain behaviours with my uncle who developed encephalitis.

Just my 2c..... I'm not a doctor....

Interesting dilemma.  Why the 2005's?  If someone was stealing wine to feed an alcohol habit, I would assume that he/she would snatch bottles from throughout the collection, to keep the thefts less easy to spot.  So is it someone who loves 2005 Bordeaux?  Or someone who knows the value of those bottles?

I agree with the camera option. 

I don't think confronting her at this point would help.  You don't have definitive proof, merely a strong suspicion.  Other people had access to the cellar, apparently.  And as mentioned above, you are going to need to decide what to do when you do develop the proof you need. 

The camera is a good idea.  It sure seems odd that only the 2005 Bdx would be under attack. To me, $1000 is significant, and even if it's one $20 bottle, I would guess you have other stuff in the house that is worth pilfering.  Have you checked the silverware drawer lately?  I assume that all jewelry is accounted for? 



Primordial- I don't know about your instincts or your ability to trust them but I personally have a pretty good trust for my Blink impressions(reference to Malcolm Gladwell)  Back that up with a picture and I'd say that the writing is on the wall.  

I would make double sure there is no other possibilities (got a kid at home?), then I'd say goodbye and change my locks and alarm code.  Not sure I'd tell the truth as to why the relationship is ending, but I would end it.

It's also time to lock the cellar, pretty silly to leave it open.

Why lock the cellar and protect it.   It's not fair that Primordial has this 2005 Bordeaux wine and the cleaning lady does not have that.  She is entitled to it no?  Let's be fair about this, to keep this Bordeaux wine for yourself or people you want to share it with is selfish. 

She has the same right to drink the same wine that you do.  Why should she have to ask to have access to it.  Why should she not be able to take what she wants. 

There doe snot need to be a border or wall around your wine. Or anyone there to protect it.  What's the big some more.  

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