SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 11 IN MY RESUME OF CLIENTS, I HAVE A VIRTUAL CORNUCOPIA OF DRYCLEANERS. The hackers, the bang-n- hang types, high-end cleaners, boutique cleaners, and everything in between. It is not difficult for me to know which of these I would like as my garment care specialist. However, the concept of “you get what you pay for” exists. Wishing for a Mercedes Benz for the price of a Kia is unrealistic. Similarly, wishing for boutique cleaner quality and service at the cost of a one-price discount cleaner is unrealistic, too. There surely must be a point where a certain level of quality is expected regardless of the discount, regardless of the price. I believe this is the point at which doing a certain task correctly takes the same amount of time, skill and effort as doing it wrong. I always feel that just because I, personally, know how a high-end cleaner would do a certain thing, does not mean that my drycleaner should do things that way. I may not be paying enough, and, furthermore, my drycleaner’s average customers have no inkling that the level of quality or service they receive is only middle-of-the-road. Ignorance is bliss. So, it is important for me to separate the difference between what is possible and what is a reasonable expectation. With that in mind, here is why I fired my drycleaner. Remember the critical criteria: doing a task correctly takes no more time or effort than doing it incorrectly. It has been a bit of a challenge lately to find a drycleaner that meets my standards. HIGH-END SHIRTS There is a paranoia associated with high-end shirts such as the Robert Graham brand. The majority of drycleaners have an across-the-board rule about these shirts that dictates that they are all dryclean only. This is wrong. Certain fabrics are best pressed on a laundry press rather than steam-pressed on the drycleaning side. The best practice procedure is dictated by the garment itself, not the name on the label. I have one or two high-end shirts that are constructed of 100% cotton and have metal buttons; an overly cautious drycleaner drycleans and steam presses them. The result is very poor quality. Requests for starch are completely ignored. Why should I pay three to four times the price of a laundered shirt for an end product that borders on unwearable? All this happens because the drycleaner is not interested in paying a damage claim. To be clear, back in my plant days, an expensive claim was $50-$70. I would have been floored to get a damage or loss claim for $300-$500. I would have also been likely to err on the side of caution. Still, doing so is not synonymous with doing a poor job. It’s OK to be cautious. It isn’t OK to do a poor job. I have an exceptionally challenging Robert Graham shirt. The material is embroidered and has metallic fibers and shank buttons. This is not a laundry shirt. If it were constructed of more traditional fabric but had shank buttons, the proper finishing method would be to remove all of the buttons, launder and press in the usual manner, FE ATURE Why I Fired My Drycleaner By Don Desrosiers, Tailwind Systems, Inc. continued on page 12