Journals 2016

Christmas Wish List

Christmas column 2016

I know that I say this every year, and I’ll say it again.  I can’t believe that its December again and I’m writing my annual Christmas wish list.

Throughout the year, I come up with ideas and sometimes just passing thoughts about how to make a drycleaner’s job easier.  Are we missing some products that would improve quality, service or presentation of what we produce that would make our customers happier or our lives easier.  Sometimes, my dreams come true.  That’s exciting.  Years ago, I asked for an “on-board” computer to measure productivity on shirt units.  Unipress, among others, made that a reality a few years ago.  I wanted a more comfortable environment for pressers and Sankosha, among others, made that a reality.  I never forget about the maintenance guy and as a result, shirt equipment is much easier to work on these days.  Packaging and presentation are important to me and to your customer; much has been done to improve that.  The industry has come a very long way since I entered into it 4 decades ago.


Starch Levels in Shirts

Starch Levels in Shirts –

So what about starch levels?  I feel compelled to write about this today because today, like most days, I get a question about it.  Seems that so many of my clients, acquaintances and friends in this business handle starch as almost a company secret.  Here’s what I mean:

If you are among the 90+% that have 2 starch levels: yes and no.  (that is; starch or no starch), you may already be relieved to know that you are in the tremendous majority.  So many of my clients tell me that they have this company “secret” in a kind of apologetic tone.  Often the wash person will say in a hush-hush voice, “we only have starch and no-starch here.”  They are so happy to hear that I expected that.  I think that some of the employees in a lot of places think that management is deceiving the customers by seemingly offering 4 options; no starch, light starch, medium starch and heavy starch.  Some of the employees will tell the customers that they can’t have light starch.  They’ll pressure the customer for a yes or no answer.  Do you want starch or don’t you?  We don’t do light starch here.  These statements are probably unnecessary.  Few consumers will understand the reasons why the starch feel will vary from fabric to fabric.  They may claim to understand, but they probably don’t.  Most have no clue that starch is a rinse additive.  Let’s say John Doe brings in 4 shirts.  One is a 100% polyester, one is a 60/40 blend oxford, one is a cotton oxford and the last one is an all cotton broadcloth.  Pick any starch level that you like, but each shirt will feel different than any of the others.  You can even try some creativity if you like.  Heavy starch the polyester shirt and no starch the cotton oxford.  You won’t get them to feel alike.  Never.


Judging your own Quality

I was at a car dealer the other day.  The business manager sat at his desk while he dutifully went about his job.  All that I could see was his shirt.  It was awful.  It is virtually impossible to be kinder than that.  It was a (supposedly) white shirt with French cuffs.  He wore cuff links.  There were at least  three major pressing errors and the shirt was dingy and many shades away from white.  The French cuffs weren’t folded at the proper place and the cuffs themselves were hardly “off-white”, they were gray.  It was hard to believe that anyone would put that shirt on and wear it.   I can’t believe that I was such a geek to be paying that much attention.  But it really isn’t because I am in the garment care industry.  The shirt looked awful.  It was hard not to notice.  It was even a bit too small for him and that was most noticeable at the cuffs. I hate to mock this guy, but he probably felt like a pseudo big shot because he sent his shirts out to the cleaners.  His cleaner did him no favors.  I wanted to snap a picture, but I don’t think that the shirt would have looked as bad in print as it did in person.  So I will swap out the picture in exchange for the thousand words.  I was tempted to say, “Who does your shirts?”  But if I had asked him, chances are high that I would have heard of the cleaner (this occurred about 30 miles from my home) and I cannot imagine what my rebuttal to his answer could have been.  “Oh yeah, I know the guy.  He does a terrible shirt and you should be embarrassed.”  I was certain that whoever his cleaner is, he is definitely not a client because the shirt was pressed on an old-fashioned 3 piece unit and I don’t have any clients around here that still use a sleever, so I took some comfort in that.  Some of what was wrong with this shirt cannot be blamed on the cleaner.  It was old and spent.  I figure the shirt was 10-12 years old.  The lack of a good fit can only be attributed to the wearer.  So what were the defects?


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