The letter request:
I just had the most bizarre experience with the dry cleaner, could you write to tell him that he’s an idiot?
I write in relation to our recent altercation. I’ll remind you of who I am because I suspect that you are the type to have altercations with customers so often that they all become a blur.
Me (pretty lady with long eyelashes)– You lost my belt? Really?
You (grumpy man with bad attitude)- Yep.
M- Oh dear. What are you going to do now?
Y- Wait a week or so and see if it turns up.
M- Well, I can’t wear that coat without a belt.
Y- (Bored yawn)
M- I catch public transport so I need that coat this week.
Y- Have you searched your car?
M- No. You already said that you lost it. (getting a little angry by now, I must admit) What will I wear to work? I only have one coat.
Y- Hmmph. I don’t believe you only have one coat.
M- I do only have one coat!
Y- God, if this is stressing you, you must lead a pretty charmed life! Why don’t you turn on SBS tonight and have a look at people who have real problems.
Oh Drycleaner. Surely seeing this in print you can understand this ethos is a) ridiculous, b) making your customers think you are an arsehole, and c) not appropriate for someone in the dry cleaning industry. In case it’s not obvious, let me explain how your philosophy could impact on your own livelihood.
- You undervalue the product you are offering. If a customer can’t expect to deliver a piece of clothing to and have it returned in superior condition then what exactly is it that you do? Is your shop just a front for an underground drug trade?
- Encouraging customers to reflect on the fact that they are paying a shiteload of money in exchange for the cleaning of a delicate garment that they paid a shiteload of money to own is not a good idea. Trust me. You will lose out.
- Pointing out to customers that they should be considering things in life more important than the service you are offering is sending them into a very black hole. My list of things more important than my trench coat is not limited to ‘what’s on SBS news tonight.’ In fact, if I were making a list, I think even ‘watching Neighbours’ would rate on my list of things more important than dry cleaning. As would plucking my eyebrows, reading junk mail and talking on the phone to market researchers.
If you were a paediatrician attempting world-first surgery on craniopagus conjoined twins and I called you to complain about my missing belt it would definitely be appropriate for you to point out that some people have bigger issues. If you were my close friend, in the midst of a devastating break-up and I was harping on about the wide and vacuous tent that my trench coat had become without the essential cinching around my waist you may be forgiven for being unimpressed with my superficiality.
But no. You are my dry cleaner. My dry cleaner who returns my clothes to me missing vital appendages.
I was going to drop this letter off to you on the way to the supermarket to buy some food for the week but I happened to catch a news item about the impact of climate change on crops in Tuvalu and I realised that really I shouldn’t worry about eating. Some people don’t even have food.