Monday, March 06, 2006

The Shirt Off My Back

A few weeks ago, I took eight, loud, Hawaiian shirts to the local cleaners. Winter's a good time to clean your summer shirts.

I've been using the same cleaners for 15 years or so. Now, it seems, they're under all-new management.

Unfortunately.

When I went back to pick them up, the owner first tried to convince me that I must have taken my shirts somewhere else. When I showed him the claim ticket, he made a show of looking around, and then showing me that the one number in his spreadsheet of jobs that had all the columns blanked out was mine. "Probably you got a ticket but never left your shirts here. You look around your house. Probably you'll find them."

I figured he'd lost them or sold them or destroyed them, but I certainly wasn't getting them back. I thought about small claims court and Tom Martino, but was saddened because the shirts had sentimental value: most had been gifts from friends and family.

I made a token call to the Better Business Bureau, who told me I wasn't likely to get any satisfaction; their records showed the business already had an "unsatisfactory" rating. Still, they told me what information to email them, should I want to. I did.

Well, now.

Saturday, the owner called and said he'd gotten some mail from the BBB, and then he'd remembered that my wife had brought the shirts in, and of course he had them, and I should come and pick them up.

I'm not married, but I didn't argue. I quickly went down and picked up my shirts. He had the grace not to charge me. Perhaps it's because there were other customers in the shop.

It's ironic, in a capitalist sort of way, that the BBB has no competition. If they did, I could certainly recommend them.

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