I once spent the summer cleaning and what I saw there stayed with me forever. Who would have thought that a process mainly concerned with the removal of body fluids could trigger such extremes in human behavior?
Maybe people feel vulnerable because they actually air their dirty laundry in public. On the other hand, what really happens in the steaming depths of the back room can seem mysterious.
Of course, most dry cleaners are honest business people who are just trying to make a living. The industry has changed since I was a student, but here are my memories of being a dry cleaner. The incidents still make me shudder.
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0 The Sealed Bag
My first lesson was the sealed pouch. A customer will arrive nervously and tell you that they are in a hurry. They quickly leave their details and go out the door after dropping a plastic bag on the counter. The sack is always bound or sealed.
The first time that happened to me was the worst. I was not afraid and did not wear gloves when I opened the bag and unleashed a pulsating petri dish with human DNA. This is usually a combination of vomit, urine, clothing, and bedding. 
If you find out what you've received, the customer is likely to drive home safely someone else is dealing with their problem now. If you are wise, you will only allow this once.
9 The guilty secret stain
The next customer type is the owner of the "guilty secret" stain. Your approach is overly friendly and warm. They'll engage you in a conversation, ask about your day, throw your clothes on the counter, and then casually ask:
“Hey, um. . . I'm not sure what this stain is. Do you think you can remove it? “
There is a painful silence in the air. The customer needs you to delete all traces of his misconduct. Do you remember the dress that Monica Lewinsky didn't dry clean? It's often in that direction, though it can be lipstick stains, perfume, or even cigarette smoke that the customer needs to handle discreetly. 
Dry cleaners saw it all and can even keep a few guilty secrets to themselves. Before cleaning, we check all pockets in clothing. In addition to the peppermint candies and the crumpled receipts, there is a surprising amount of change.
We can keep your secrets well.
8 Criminal Evidence
What was weird was that I occasionally destroyed evidence of crime scenes. I always remember when a nervous guy who barely spoke came into the store. He shot out the door after taking off a jumpsuit baked with thick mud and fresh blood spatter.
My boss took a look at it and calmly told me to brush off the mud before I put the overalls in the machine. Of course, there was probably a perfectly rational explanation for this. But at the time I noticed that homicide officers rarely consult dry cleaners. Maybe they should. 
7 Stain Braggers
The stain brags are much more fun. Customers told me the exact vintage of the red wine stain on their tie and waited for my reaction. A customer thought I should know that it was a splash of borsch from a famous gourmet restaurant on his shirt.
An employee with a minimum wage has no thought about it. They are just food stains. Although it helps your dry cleaning if you can identify the stain, we really don't need to know how much it cost you. 
Interestingly, the most difficult spot to move is not. t ever caused by food. It's good old fashioned ink. And there are some stains, mostly oil-based, that just can't be removed.
6 Precious owners
Precious clothing owners arrive and weigh their object like a newborn. They give specific instructions on how to treat your garment differently (with a gentle touch) and how to store it separately. It is always best to smile and nod when they reluctantly let go of their valuable piece, as if it were a child on their first day of school.
The truth is that all clothes go together in one big machine. So your favorite garment will rub shoulders with a sweaty sports kit. In the world of dry cleaning, all clothes are the same.
Valuable people may also be shocked to learn that the solvent used to clean their clothes is a carcinogen called perchlorethylene (also known as "Perc"). This wonderful substance is highly toxic to humans and the environment. 
Dry cleaners who are constantly exposed to Perc vapors may experience side effects such as dizziness, nausea, and skin irritation. Long-term exposure can lead to certain types of cancer and damage to the central nervous system. It will surely make you think twice before inhaling the scent of your freshly chemically cleaned clothes.
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5 smoke and mirrors
Doing dry cleaning isn't cheap. There are expensive machines to maintain and a lot of overhead. This means that they have to get really creative with their terminology and promote the popular business myths.
To begin with, the process is not dry at all. Your clothes are still drenched – but with toxic perc instead of water – and then thrown into the machine. The process cleans the surface of the clothes. Without water, however, it cannot penetrate deep enough into the fibers to remove these unpleasant sweat stains.
Now look at the constantly recycled wire hangers that may have been in and out of other customers' closets. Then there are the cardboard inserts for pressed trousers, which we sometimes fish out of the trash can to reuse. If you break everything down, it's a long way from the fresh scent of a spring meadow. 
4 Ugly Wedding Dresses
Every bride feels like a princess on her wedding day, but some of her dresses are really terrible. As soon as your big day is over, send your dream dress for cleaning. If it's really ugly, bored employees will recognize it and laugh. Sometimes they try it on and laugh even more.
The same applies to bridesmaid dresses and ball gowns. If you're interested in historical reenactments or thematic events, an employee is almost certain to have put on your costume and may even have the photos to prove it. 
If you have a police uniform or a police uniform doctor’s white, someone has probably danced around in these things too. It helps pass the time and explains why dry cleaning sometimes grins when you pick up your clothes.
Then there is the secret of the non-returnees. For some reason, customers drop off an item – which can sometimes be expensive or unique – and they never return.
Some people forget the item or lose their ticket. In other cases, life gets too busy. The saddest legacy of the non-returnee is the "lonely wedding dress", an undesirable reminder of his owner of a broken marriage. 
State laws differ, but most stipulate that dry cleaners should not be claimed for items up to six months. The dry cleaners are then expected to contact the customer to inform the person that they will dispose of that person's property.
The clothing is finally donated to a charity or to a landfill (depending on its value). Once they are finally unloaded, it is certain that the original owners will appear at the counter to request the return of their old items. For this reason, a liability disclaimer is attached to every cleaning. You can silently refer to the disclaimer when the customer starts screaming.
2 Lost property
Dry cleaning is only human. From time to time mistakes happen. Perhaps a customer will get someone else's clothing and decide to keep it because it's much nicer than their own. Tickets can be switched and pinned to the wrong item. Clothing can be damaged by the aggressive chemical process. In this case, the customer is legally protected – but only until now.
According to the Fair Claims Guide published by the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute, the industry standard is to offer the current value of the item rather than the original price paid. In general, for an article that is one year old, you get 40 percent of its value. For an item over five years, you may only get 15 percent of what you paid for. 
Some dry cleaners may not even admit liability. Instead, they prefer to shift the blame to the manufacturer. It's really worth being nice to be cleaned.
1 The worst
Here comes the worst part that everyone secretly suspects. Sometimes when the business is very busy and the customer is waiting, we don't clean your clothes at all. It's amazing how a dash of steam and a flawless plastic wrap can create the illusion of freshly cleaned clothes.
But do not boycott your local dry cleaner as it may not be there forever. Fast fashion and the popularity of casual office clothes have got the industry in trouble.  Some of them may have happened to all dry cleaning customers everywhere. But maybe not. Support your local dry cleaning.
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