Simply Blake and The Dry Cleaning Nazi

Until a few months ago, we used the same dry cleaner for years . . . over ten years, actually.  It was (well, is) of the Mom & Pop variety.  “The Mom” is a seamstress.  If you need cuffs hemmed or a button replaced, simply leave it with her and she’ll take care of it.   “The Pop” is responsible for the overall operation and is the primary counter worker.  I don’t know their names, but after all those years, we certainly became familiar with each other.

Generally, it feels good to do business with folks who you feel you know.  If, as a customer, you make it to Norm status (remember Cheers?) then you’re practically considered family.  While my husband wasn’t Norm status with our dry cleaners, he was certainly on friendly terms.  When he’d walk in, The Pop would say “Hello”, my husband would hand over the ticket (if he had it) and The Pop would promptly retrieve the items.  I, on the other hand, did not enjoy such a relationship. When I entered the store, The Pop would greet me with a gruff “Telephone number”.  I would hand him the ticket, (politely) rattle off the number, and he’d retrieve the items then place them on the hanger bar.  Most of the time, he would turn without a backward glance as I collected the items and said thank you (good manners are important, whether or not they are reciprocated).  For the record, I have absolutely no idea what I ever did to inspire such cold responses from him.

About 6 months ago it all changed . . . for the worse.  Our relationship as Elaine (me) and the Soup Nazi (The Pop) was solidified(surely you remember Seinfeld).  One day this past spring, I stepped in to pick up some items that my husband had dropped off a couple of weeks prior . . . . Okay, ideally we’d have picked them up earlier.  Life happens.  And I didn’t have the ticket (it was in Hubby’s car).  But, hey, it wasn’t the first time.  Besides, they should’ve had a record of it by our telephone number, right? . . . . Per usual, I walked in and The Pop said “Telephone number”.  I rattled it off and explained that I didn’t have the ticket.  Maybe I imagined it but I swear he glared at me as he proceeded to the carousel.  I waited . . . and waited.  Oh no.  He couldn’t . . . find . . . the order.  The Pop turned to me and said rather rudely “It’s not here.  Your husband must’ve picked it up”.  I was a little taken back by his tone, but in a controlled manner said “No, that’s why I’m here.  He told me he forgot to pick it up”.  The Pop begrudgingly looked once more.  Nada.  As I grabbed my phone to double check with Hubby, The Mom said something to The Pop.  The Pop looked on another rack and, viola, there was the order.  Looking put-out, he shook his head and placed it on the hanger bar.  He shook. . . his . . . head.  Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a pretty laid back kind of gal.  But once you push that button . . . .  I couldn’t help myself.   With a sassy bob of the head I said “I knew it was here” (and in my mind, I gave him 3 snaps in a Zorro formation a la In Living Color).

After that, I all but refused to grace the door of said dry cleaner.  We plodded along with them for a couple more months.  I swallowed my pride and did a few drop offs and pick-ups. It was clear that neither The Pop nor I would forget that day.  Then, finally, Hubby agreed to try the dry cleaner across the street.

We have been quite happy with the new dry cleaner.  The guy at the counter is quite friendly . . . to both of us.  Hubby feels that they do a better job on his shirts AND they have a drive-thru, which I used just today.  As I got close, I noticed a van parked just beyond the drive-thru with the driver’s door and back hatch opened.  I stopped far enough away so I could pull around after my pick-up.  As The Guy approached to help me, a man skirted quickly between us. I realized it must be the van’s driver.  As he dashed by, he glanced up with an apologetic look and said hello.  As I replied the same, our eyes met with a flicker of mutual recognition.  Lo and behold, I was busted!  For the van’s driver was none other than The Pop!  (What in the world was he doing at “the competition’s” place?)  He didn’t miss a step and neither did I.  He went straight to his van and pulled away, and I rattled off my phone number to The Guy.  The Guy placed the items on the hook above the side door window with care and said “thanks”.  I smiled, replied “thanks” (and in my mind I winked), and happily drove away.

Leave a comment


  1. Oh, man — I’ve encountered people like that. Some are just rude for no reason, despite you giving them business. It gets under my skin, but like you, I’m polite — until there’s a final straw. There’s *always* a final straw.

    I’m glad that you found a better dry cleaner who treats you decently! 🙂

  2. Yeah, don’t make her “open a can.” I love it when things come full circle. Even better when you are there to see it 🙂

    • Karma is a powerful thing! And yeah, don’t make me “open a can”. I have the capacity to startle even the toughest of college football players. 😀

  3. LOVE it! Too funny.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: