The Zen of Dry Cleaning

Finding Comfort in the Mundane

In a world fraught with big problems, most of which we have little influence, not to mention control, a person might find a bit of peace and self-affirmation in the small stuff of daily life.

And, really, aren’t the little things in life what have the potential to really amaze you? We mean, who would ever find joy in and rhapsodize about something as prosaic as dry cleaning? Well … er … we guess we would.

Shortly after moving to our new place, we did what everybody does; we searched for services. You know, the typical things: doctors, dentists, and the like. And a dry cleaners, of course, for who can live without a good dry cleaner?

One day in the gym, because where else is the best place to learn about your locale than the gym, we found Mike, the dry cleaner vice president, which was after we had commented on Mike the pharmacist’s starched shirt, stiff like in the “old day” when your mother would haul in the wash from hanging outside on a January day. A Cleaner World, informed Pharma Mike. And wouldn’t you know it, dry cleaner Mike was VP of A Cleaner World. So, off I went to A Cleaner World with a pile of clothing.

Why even mention your dry cleaner? Let’s see. You bring your stuff in in the morning—even late morning that’s a whisper away from noo—and they e-mail you at four that your order is ready for pick up. If you happen to be a very busy person, you can simply fill your blue laundry bag and drop it in the slot on your way to work. Their standard is same-day service everyday. They accomplish this little feat by performing all services on premise, as opposed to shipping your stuff off to a central cleaning plant or contracted cleaner. Your stuff comes back in any form you want it, folded and boxed or on hangers. Instead of the typical plastic covering, which they do use, many items, as a matter of course, come back to you in smart plastic bags with snap closures, sweaters especially, with vents to allow the dry cleaning chemicals to dissipate. Sport coats and suits, these come back with forms on the hangers to help jackets keep their shape. In short, they surprise and delight you with the unexpected. Nice.

Dry cleaning is a commodity service, with one provider like the next provider. Proximity usually determines who you use. But in a mobile society, read autos, it’s easy to go an extra mile for a service, if that service is superior. And that’s A Cleaner World’s niche.

Now, this isn’t a plug for them, unless you live in North Carolina or southern Virginia. But they do illustrate the old adage that if you build a better mousetrap, etc. (Incidentally, if you are interested in improving your own washing skills, check out the helpful hints section on their website. Small stuff, sure, but don’t you hate a wrinkled collar fresh from the wash? No, you don’t? And you call yourself an American, wow.) w/c