Windscreen Cleaners, Northbourne Ave and the meaning of NO

c-biz 27 April 2009 80

I’m new to this RiotACT thing, but I just wanted to voice my frustration and see if anyone else out there is in the same boat? And if it happens again, what should I do?

For many months now there has been a resident window washer on the intersection between Northbourne Ave and Cooryong St/Barry Dr offering the usual windscreen clean for a monetary donation. Yesterday afternoon, I was driving down Northbourne Ave and stopped at the lights to turn right onto Cooryong St. There were 3 cars in front of me waiting to turn right, plus another two alongside me continuing north.

He worked his way down the line of stopped cars; the first three drivers had all declined and he respected that and moved on. Standing at the end of car in front he signalled to me – I politely said no. He came closer, still asking, and again I gestured ‘No thank you’. He came along side my car, by this time I’m shaking my head, saying NO very loudly, and waving my arms! He started to clean my window… It gets better… At the end of the clean, he then gestures for money. I gave him all I had which was about 70cents I found in the console of my car, to which the window cleaner complained that I was being cheap and hadn’t given him enough!! He then continued on to other stopped cars, some of which also said no and he left their cars untouched!

My anger and frustration got bigger as later that night as I was driving in the pouring rain, there was a big soapy residue mark right in front of the steering wheel on the windscreen and created a huge glare spot against the shine of the street lights! So not only did I pay for a clean I didnt want (I’d like to add I’d only washed my car on Friday…), I had to RE-CLEAN my windscreen (with a squidgy at the nearest petrol station because my car window wash function wasn’t enough!) to avoid having an accident!!

Also – this is the third time this has happened to me with this window washer at this intersection. What on earth do I have to do to tell the guy DONT CLEAN MY WINDSCREEN without being rude and abusive!?

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80 Responses to Windscreen Cleaners, Northbourne Ave and the meaning of NO
Ruth Foley Ruth Foley 10:50 pm 19 Jan 19

I can’t believe this has been going on for 10 years. Upsetting both locals & foreign visitors, giving the Capital of Australia a very nasty reputation. On Wed 16/01/19 I also said No waving my hands. He came closer I said NO again, waving my hands like a lunatic. And same thing!!! He splashed his dirty disgusting window wiper on my windscreen. My husband just spent over $1500 having my car restore FX bringing my paint to a showroom shine. I opened my door & asked him IF he knew what NO meant. He swore at me and kicked my car. That was it!!!! I got out, and chased this guy down Northbourne Ave between the stopped vehicles. He was wasted on drugs. He had a bottle of wine whilst cleaning windows over Xmas. Where is their Work Health & Safety Fluro jackets? Drunk, wasted on drugs walking among moving vehicles?!! Not to mention drinking in a public place. It’s harassment and appears to be at women. They have no respect when we say no…..A man says No…he leaves it at that. So it’s also sexist ! Not to mention they’re earning tax free money, undeclared. I’ve been told today, they can earn anything from $200-$400 a day!! With the odd beer, wine, pill, joint given to them from stupid drivers. They distract the traffic flow. Especially when people like me…get out & chase the b@#tards for kicking my car! Why? Because I said NO? He still did it? And abuses me then kicks my car? It SHOULD BE illegal in ACT like other States. They’re probably on the dole as well as what they make?! More than me….more than most of us!! WTF? Went to Police – Can’t do anything cause its not illegal !!???

Muttsybignuts Muttsybignuts 12:44 pm 20 Jan 10

A friend of mine works in Dickson, not far from where Ian ( Northbourne/Antill Dickson side) plys his trade. Her daughter was collecting foreign coins for a while and every time windowwasher dude gets a foreign coin he brings it up to give to her to give to the daughter.
I’ve had a few conversations with him and sure, he can sometimes stink a bit however he is very interesting to talk to. Always found him polite and have never seen him abuse anyone.
Hindmarsh/Melrose on the other hand is a piece of work. I work near there and often see him trying out different poses while drinking water to see what makes his muscles look bigger! I assume he is practising so he can throw one out when a Pretty young Thing pulls up at the lights.

s-s-a s-s-a 10:07 pm 19 Jan 10

Mr Hindmarsh/Melrose has traded his shearer’s singlet for a shirt with SLEEVES and a HAT. How upmarket! Or maybe he got sunstroke in the last heatwave? Will the reduced view of his bod impact on sales I wonder???

The Brad The Brad 4:41 pm 19 Jan 10

I don’t really…..but I should.

The Brad The Brad 4:40 pm 19 Jan 10

I keep an A3 poster size message in my car for these occasions. It reads
“I said NO. Now **** off.”
And slap that onto the windscreen when they start washing it against my wishes.

damien haas damien haas 2:10 pm 19 Jan 10

I saw another junkie scam aimed at old people at the dickson shops. the carts need a coin to be used. they follow old people to their cars and ask if they can take the cart back for them. they then get the coin.

DavoDavo DavoDavo 1:25 pm 19 Jan 10

Isn’t there some law or statute on the books somewhere that says something like ‘every citizen is entitled to free and unfettered access on the Queen’s highways’?
These so-called windscreen washers are nothing more than highwaymen who try to intimidate people and rob them by making them feel bad so they will give in.

Don’t take crap from anybody! If you say “No” say it like you mean it and DO NOT PAY THEM!

Maybe a sticker at the top of your windscreen that says “What Part of ‘NO’ don’t you understand?”

Having just bought a nice car I don’t want anybody squirting anything anywhere near it – who knows what crap they use as ‘cleaning fluid’. The other thing you have to watch out for is that the sponge or whatever they use could well have grit embedded in it, hey presto – instant scratched windscreen!

burkes08 burkes08 1:05 pm 19 Jan 10

I usually get my windscreen washed by the Hindmarsh/Melrose guy. Its pretty dirty and whilst he isn’t fantastic the window is always better than it was. I have always found him really nice. Well, actually he is a little too nice now. Because I chat to him while he cleans he now asks me every time if I will come and have a drink with him. Ahahahaha, dunno bout that.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:53 am 19 Jan 10

I got “cleaned” by one of these pricks on Northbourne/Girrawheen after I had clearly said “No” to his offer. These guys really shit me, if they continue to practice their services against the wishes of motorists they should be banned.

motleychick motleychick 10:47 am 19 Jan 10

When I worked in the city I had to deal with one of the Northbourne washers on a daily basis, and the guy washed my windscreen every single time even though I flat out refused because I hate people touching my car – I’m very particular about how I clean it. I always gave him money because I felt bad. One time at Christmas I gave him $10 just because it was the festive season, and he saw my packet of smokes on the passenger seat and had the audacity to ask me for some cigarettes. Never went back there after that, I’m not a big fan of people who aren’t grateful.

Helen Helen 9:35 am 19 Jan 10

I’ve never had trouble with Mr Hindmarsh/Melrose, I went through that intersection every weekday for over a year. But I was usually going through it at about 4.30pm when there were plenty of other people there for him to harrass. He did clean my windscreen once after I said no, but he did such a fantastic job (and it was pretty filthy) that I gave him all the cash I had – $2. He was so grateful it was kinda embarrassing, not to mention depressing.

Mr Northbourne/Antill is the one that really gets to me though. I try to avoid that intersection as much as possible because everytime I’m stopped he washes my windscreen, no matter what I say. Even with my boyfriend in the car. I’ve never paid him because he doesn’t do a good job, but he’s never abused me either… he just kinda stares long enough for me to get uncomfortable before walking away. I do feel I have my death stare down pat though (enough for the Civic junk-ette in the check coat to leave me alone) so maybe I turn that on him without realising…

s-s-a s-s-a 8:53 am 19 Jan 10

Mr Hindmarsh/Melrose has always stayed away when I shake my head.

About 10d ago he was working at 2pm on one of those days it was a gazillion degrees. He must be frigging crazy! It was about the only time I’ve felt inclined to give him money, wouldn’t have wanted the window washed tho.

sloppery sloppery 8:47 am 19 Jan 10

I always say no, and occasionally one will wash my windscreen anyway. I say thanks but don’t give them money.

Frankly, they’re a public nuisance and sneed to be removed. The fact that they pick on women and the elderly makes it worse.

Maybe next time someone should stop at the lights while they’re up the other end and deliberatly knock their bucket of water over. Small and petty, but maybe they’ll get the message that they’re not wanted.

misshelly misshelly 1:29 am 19 Jan 10

I was unfortunate enough to be the first and only car to pull up at the Hindmarsh/Melrose intersection recently, and to have my window down. After refusing the window wash, the guy started chatting to me about my car. For ages. Oh and he called me “babe”. I was praying for the lights to change QUICKLY lol

The ones on Northbourne and at Dickson always wash my window when I say no, but I’ve never paid them and they’ve never been rude about it. Seems like there’s a lot of mixed stories about their attitudes though!

Beserk Keyboard Warrior Beserk Keyboard Warrior 6:38 pm 18 Jan 10

Thought I’d run a search on RA to see if anyone had had any negative experiences with our mate in the blue wife-beater who makes a living at the Hindmarsh/Melrose interesection. And I’m not surprised to see they have.

My frail old dad (who is recovering from a recent heart attack) was sitting at the lights there earlier today with his window down. When he politely said “no thanks” to this grub, to his astonishment he was called a f**king c**t. I really had to hold myself back from going straight down there and dropping this tool like a bad habit. But revenge is a dish best served cold they say…

bilby001 bilby001 10:29 pm 04 Aug 09

The thin guy at Northbourne/Barry Drive had Woolies no-name dishwashing detergent last time I looked, which does wonders for your duco. Always seems to go for the women alone in their cars. He tried to wash my window once, but after yelling no I took off my seatbelt and made to open the car door. He backed off in a hurry. Better memory than a goldfish, never been harassed since.

Genie Genie 9:16 pm 28 Apr 09

Hey rob_phill: Next time you’re in touch with him tell him to put some fcking SOAP in the water he’s using to ‘clean’ windscreens.


I complained about this guy early on, purely for the fact he has cleaned my window at least a dozen times and not ONCE could I see out my window when he was finished…

Mr Evil Mr Evil 5:33 pm 28 Apr 09

Davo111 said :

Special G said :

If they approach my car I wind the window down and tell them I will get out punch the shit out of them should they touch it. Works every time.

How about spraying them with a can of that wasp killer – you know, the stuff you can pick up from Bunnings that has a range of about 10m?

I wouldn’t let them anywhere near my car (if I had one!) because most of the time they use sh1t like Black and Gold dishwashing detergent in their bucket, and a $2 squeegie from the Warehouse.

peterh peterh 5:25 pm 28 Apr 09

PigsFly said :

el said :

On a positive note, the window washer that hangs out near the Ford dealer (Hindmarsh/Melrose) seems really good, always asks,


Ditto. Never a nice word or action from this jerk.

TP 3000 said :

Back in January ’09 I saw an incident at the Hindmarsh Drive/Melrose Drive lights where the person said no to the guy. But they didn’t pay & he squirted the washing liquid all over the windscreen & the lady had the use the windscreen wipers.

EXACTLY what happened to me but in late March. I felt like keeping a water pistol in the car solely to squirt at him should he dare to hurl abuse at me again.

fill it with citric acid. that’ll learn him.

AngryHenry AngryHenry 4:51 pm 28 Apr 09

To quote Mr T…


I’ve always told them ‘no’ and never had a problem. You’re well within your rights to be rude and abusive if they don’t get the message.

Most of them are pretty withered and frail from their various addictions and quite easy to take if the situation escalates.

Having said that the guy at the lights on Northbourne near Dickson is a decent enough fella.

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