Breaking Bread with the Dry Cleaner


Just so you know, my dry cleaner's name is Raj. He owns the place, along with his father (who has terribly stained teeth from chewing tobacco by the way). His wife Rania works there, too, but only from 9:00 to noon, because she has to be home to meet their two daughters after school. Raj is thinking of going into the fabric business because he can get really good deals on silk from India. He has a friend there who can make window treatments cheaper than they can be made here. Raj also owns the Great Wraps franchise nearby and if I just mention his name when I order, they will give me 10% off. My husband thought that he heard on the news that their dry cleaning business had been robbed and that one of the workers got grazed by a bullet, but it wasn't them. It was another dry cleaner on Peachtree Street and Raj knows that because his sister's neighbor knows the person who got grazed. I guess the dry cleaner world is pretty small.

Eleven years ago when I moved to a very large metropolitan city from a very small town in the Midwest, I soon learned the customer service here is severely lacking. OK...let's just be honest. It stinks. I'd get frustrated at people who were supposed to be in want of my business. I tried complaining, but it didn't seem to work. Eventually I learned I had to get to know them, because quite frankly, there's nothing people like better than talking about themselves. And every once in awhile I'll interject a little about me. And before you know it, we've got ourselves a nice little friendship going. And as a bonus I get some good service...

The lady who does alternations for me recently brought her mother her from China. The hardest thing for her after she moved here were "all the cars. They scare her!" And no, she does not eat at the Chinese restaurant two doors down, even though she has carry-out menus in her alterations shop. She knows the people and her son goes to school with their daughter, but she prefers to cook her own fried rice.

Phillip, my nail guy, recently brought his mother her from Vietnam. He hasn't mentioned that she's afraid of cars but she has told him on no uncertain terms that she is not interested in learning English except for "How are you today", "Do you want a pedicure" and "What color polish?" I've told him that I think she should try to learn the language, because if she asks what color someone wants and they say "Raspberry Twist" she needs to be able to turn the nail polish bottle over and read the little names on the bottom.

The gal at the coffee shop that hands me my $5 latte at least once a week rides Harley's and goes to school full-time. She's "over 40" and trying to lose some weight.

And then there's Mindy who gives the best eyebrow wax this side of Texas. Oh, for the love of tweezing, she's up and moved away again. First she left me for love to follow her boyfriend of less than 3 months to Florida. I told her she probably should give that a second thought but she did it anyway. And then she came back. She was studying to be a yoga teacher in addition to putting hot wax on people's faces and then ripping out their hairs. I guess she needed a calming profession to balance all that torture. But the yoga thing didn't seem to work out. And now the girl is gone to California - just up and moved on me.

Now I'll have to find another waxer to befriend.

Maybe Raj's sister knows someone.


Amber Kay :

LOVE this post! It cracks me up and honestly I totally agree with you: If you want good service, get to know the people!
I always make a point to do this, plus I just like finding out unique things about people.

Susan :

Cute and different post, Jill. Oh so true. People are people and just want to know we care or at least are interested.

Dianne :

You are SO right in how getting to know people gets you better service, or at least noticed! I found a quote from Dale Carnegie YEARS ago..."You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." It didn't take long to realize that there is HUGE truth in that quote!

This is a great post...thanks for posting the truth so humorously!

Vader's Mom :

My hubby is the same way. He can tell me all about the people at the shipping place (where they call him Obi-Wan), the photo lab, the dry-cleaners, DHL, FedEx, the list goes on and on. He loves to chat with all of them and learn about their lives. It's so funny to hear what he know about them and how little they really know about him.

justabeachkat :

So true! I think so many people treat the staff at the dry cleaners, grocery, nail salons, etc. so rude. They never look them in the eye or even talk to them. I always try to get to know them too and to let them know I appreicate what they do for me. It really helps! Me and them. Good post Jill.

Sonya :

LOL! It's so funny that you have this kind of relationship with these people! I think it's great! We sort of have the same kind of relationship with the Mexican guy who opened a restaurant across from our house a few years ago. He talks to our children in Spanish and they try and pick up on things since they've only learned a little Spanish. It's really cool though. I enjoy getting to know things about him and his that he LOVES football (soccer) and it's big in Mexico. Relationships are funny aren't they?!!!

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