Monday, August 25, 2014

Adventures in Dry Cleaning

So, there I stood with a fist full of receipt/tickets waiting in a rather long line (especially for the day of the week and time of day) to pick up items being dry cleaned and others being pampered some other way. 

The 2 counter clerks seemed to be in a tizzy, running in circles and making
excuses to the customers being served as to why their items couldn’t be located. OK, this isn’t one of those same-day quickie cleaners, they take time and do a very good job. I  have all my dress shirts, kilts, tuxedo, vestments cleaned and pressed there as do many clergy in the area.

What was bothersome to the customers was that the items were to have been ready a week ago and they were nowhere to be found. That chain-link mechanical snake and carousel thingy (how’s that for a description) was almost in constant motion as they went round and round spot-checking ticket numbers.  All to no avail.

Each question by the clerks like “were there special instructions for these garments?” was met with teeth-clenched, irritated answers. Nothing special, just ladies evening dresses and men’s suits and dress shirts with French cuffs. This was going nowhere fast. 

The rather translucent clerks finally asked the customers to stand aside so the other waiting customers could be served.  They refused to budge.  Charming people.  It was all about them. Everyone else can wait. So, there.

With that, a few customers ahead of me emitted  groans and left the store. There were 2 of us left standing behind the 2 - now obnoxious - customers who were practically crawling all over the countertop. 

Suddenly the store owner arrived with a new batch of garments and as he wheeled them in to be placed on the snake belt, the clerks practically knocked him down trying to get at those hangers. They eventually found missing garments, but the customers were anything but happy. They didn’t want to pay the bills.

The owner - calmly smiling all the while - told them they didn’t have to pay, but the garments would not leave the store; they could leave whenever they wished to leave. They stared at him with eyes wide. What did he mean?

The owner produced the original ticket with special instructions, including removal of certain stains that required a lot of TLC. The two customers must have enjoyed one hell of a party because his and hers were quite a difficult mess to clean up.  The point is, the cleaners DID the job and as the man said, “after working that hard to get the garments looking like new, they’re not going anywhere for free.”

At this point let me say that I have no idea of the relationship between these people; if married, why separate receipts? By their attitudes one could tell they weren’t from around these parts. So all that will (blessedly) remain a mystery.  I’m just sayin’. 
New version of the Utility Kilt.

The person who had been next to me suddenly remembered something in her car and ran out the door. The cheap-ass whiners finally coughed up the cash and when they said they’d never be back, the owner said over his shoulder, “great, thank you” and they were gone.

It was finally my turn. I know my stuff was in because they told me it would be delayed because of the Kilts. The owner returned to placing the new items on the belt as my slacks, shirts, jackets, and kilts are hung next to the counter.  The already frazzled counter clerk looks at the kilts, then at me and said “oh, another problem. These were a nightmare to press properly, please don’t bring them back again.”

I looked at her in shock. They’ve always done kilts and not just mine, but the rental ones from the Formal Wear store across the highway. (Having just witnessed a fierce battle I wasn’t in the mood to fight.) As I mentioned this the owner came over with an exasperated expression, about to cover for her, when the other customer returned from her car. 

Seems she had forgotten 3 girl’s school uniform skirts in the car, and guess what?  They were pleated skirts. The other clerk stopped in his tracks and rolled his eyes, the owner stopped breathing, the clerk handling my transaction let out a sigh and as I started to laugh, I heard, almost inaudibly - - “shit!”  

These poor folks were clearly having a very bad day. That’s not my problem.

I paid for the cleaning and as I turned to leave I said, “I’ll see you when these need cleaning again, or what?” The owner smiled, resigned to his fate and said, “sure, but I know we’ll see you before then.” I must make a point of visiting the cleaners again while wearing a kilt. Show off their fine work, and all that. My bad?

I'm thinking I might just wear the kilt to the post-Labor Day party at the Irish Pub next Monday.

And so it goes.


  1. Your description of this event is too funny. I had a similar experience in a Kohl's store recently. After the problem customers left the poor cashier looked at me, thanked me for my patience and said "you know some customers think it's their world and we just live in it". (I agreed and we both laughed.)

  2. Just to complete the picture, and for our own satisfaction, we need to see you wearing that kilt. An 'empty' one does NOT suffice. If we can't see it 'in operation', even in an oldish pic, the anecdote remains unfinished, which is very tantalising.
    (I doubt if you'd be able to walk 100 yards wearing one around these parts without getting some cutting remark - or worse - this being much too far from Scotland for it to be considered as not worth commenting on.

  3. I got my first kilt back in January. A black utility kilt. I've worn it once. I like it.

    1. Mine is 9 or 10 years old. Also, black. If yours looks like the one pictured, it is similar to mine. They don't change much, just add more snaps and useless extra smaller pockets. They are very freeing. Careful, you may get to like it a lot. Thanks for the visit.


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