One of the nice things about being a consultant is that I get my hand in a lot of different industries, and it's fun to pick up stuff you'd never know as an ordinary consumer.
Some time ago I helped my local dry cleaner install a few computers, and though it didn't really require that I know anything about the business per se, I always feel that I'll do a better job supporting them if I know more about how they work.
So I got to see how stuff is done from start to finish, and though I didn't run the cleaning equipment itself, I learned about job checkin, how stuff is sorted, the flow through the system to make sure stuff doesn't get lost. It was fascinating.
My interesting tidbits:
When a new dry-cleaner starts up, how do they train their workers, tune the equipment, and make sure that the flow, flows? The answer was one of the best win-wins I've ever seen: they get a truckload of used clothing from Goodwill!
It's all checked into the system as if it were from a regular customer, they train the workers on all aspects of the system, make sure the equipment is adjusted properly, pressed, bagged, and racked. This can go on for a coupla weeks as the bugs are worked out.
But they don't immediately send it all back: on opening day, customers see racks full of clothes (empty racks would not inspire confidence). Some time later, the laundered or dry-cleaned clothes are sent back to Goodwill in several rounds, presumably for sale in their thrift stores.
I love a good synergy.
They find all kinds of strange stuff in pockets, and though they try to reunite things with their owners, some stuff falls to the bottom of bins. They had recently found a pacemaker in the bottom if a bin - gotta wonder if the owner is missing it...?
If you want to be nice to your dry cleaner, undo every button when you take your stuff in and turn it all right-side out; if you don't, they do, and after checking in a lot of clothes I will tell you that undoing the cuffs and collars and fronts of a coupla dozen shirts is not nice on the fingers.The worst is if a guy pulls off his long-sleeved button-down shirt over his head, turning it inside out but still fully buttoned. Ugh.
- If the back room of a dry cleaner is dirty, then they probably won't do a very good job on your clothes. If you really want to find out, ask to use the restroom. If the place is a dump. take your clothes elsewhere.