The One Hour Dry Cleaning Myth


Don’t ever go to Century Cleaners on Brookline Blvd. in Brookline.  They’re incredibly rude, unprofessional, and a bunch of false advertisers.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

We had a large amount of things going on this past weekend.  My wife’s grandmother passed away early on Thursday morning, her parents were set to close on their old house (her childhood home) & the new one on Friday, we were helping them move along with some extended family on Saturday, there was the viewing Sunday and the Funeral was Monday.

I had just worn my suit in a good friend’s wedding last Tuesday morning, which is another story entirely… but I needed my suit cleaned.  No one wants to be the smelly kid, & I had some wrinkles on the butt of the jacket.  I wanted it to look sharply pressed for the weekend.  Unfortunately, I only have one suit, and planned to wear it twice this weekend with a different shirt & tie.  With the frequency which I actually wear it, one has suited (pun intended) me well.  Perhaps another is in order.

Bethany had the day off on Friday to process everything going on with her Grandma, her parents’ move, & more… so she decided to use it to get some errands done.  I found what I thought to be a one-hour cleaner or at least same day service cleaners online Thursday night, as Model Cleaners (where regularly take stuff) doesn’t offer a same-day service.

I quickly came up with the Century Cleaners profile at the Dormont-Brookline Patch, and this is the description I read:

Dry cleaning establishments have long been a fixture at 1200 Brookline Boulevard and Century Cleaners has done business in this location for eight years. They offer same day service, as well as alterations, drapery cleaning and rehanging and wedding gown preservation. All of Century’s work is done on the premises.

  • Hours: Mon – Fri, 8am – 6pm; Sat, 8am – 2pm
  • Parking: Free lot, On-street: free
  • Services: Alterations, Dry cleaning, Ironing, Leather cleaning

These were among the photos that I saw at the listing…

Century Cleaners - False Advertising

Century Cleaners’ Blatant False Advertising (Photo Credit: Annette Bassett Sanchez, Dormont-Brookline Patch)

So, that little sign on the side advertises “SAME DAY SERVICE” pretty largely, right?  The neon sign right in the middle of the name above the door boasts “1 HR. DRY CLEANING“, right?

They clearly had no intention of providing either service on Friday.

My wife was there in the 9:00 hour, and asked about the 1 hour service.  This was the first of several local errands for the day.  Right away she was met with resistance, and asked what the suit was needed for.  At this point, what does it matter?  Whether it’s needed for a job interview, a funeral, a wedding, a TV appearance, for first contact with aliens at midnight, or just lounging around the house… urgent completion was requested.

She then asked about same-day service.  Again, “When do you need it by?”

Again, what does it matter?  Whether we’re meeting the pope and the president this afternoon or going to shoot a porn movie, what business is it of theirs?  She requested one hour service, is now deferring to same day.  It was 9:00am and the were open until 6:00pm.  The sign boasts that they do the work there & don’t send it out.  Surely that would be enough time to clean a suit… even if there were many other urgent cleanings ahead of us in line?

I could almost see being denied same-day service at 4:00 or 5:00pm, but 9:00am?  That’s just ludicrous.

Already harrowed from everything going on, and in shock from being argued with by someone behind the counter at a service-oriented business, she told them that we needed the suit for a funeral on Saturday, and they negotiated to a pickup first thing in the morning.  She asked what time they opened on Saturday and they said 7:00am, so that was that.  We thought.

We were to be at her parent’s old house by 7:30am that Saturday to start to help with the move, so 7:00 was cutting it close.  We stopped & bought donuts, got some ice for the water in the cooler, and were parked on the street in front of the dry cleaners’ at 6:55am.  A woman arrived shortly before seven, propped the door open, & went inside.  I gave her a few minutes to get settled then walked in shortly after 7:00am, ticket in hand.

The woman was in the back of the room behind miles of clothing hung on racks, and I had a few minutes to soak in my surroundings.  Paint and/or wall-paper of several different layers was peeling from the walls.  There is a cluttered desk by the front window that must serve as the office… not sure why it’s not behind the counter or the counter isn’t adjusted to make it fit.  It seemed rather unclean for being a professional cleaning service.

The woman wove her way up front and greeted me friendly enough.  I handed over my ticket and declared that I was there to pick up my suit that had been dropped off yesterday.  She looked at my ticket, and then at a ticket hanging by itself on a wire behind the counter next to a few articles of clothing that held their tickets.  She looked at the ticket hanging by itself, then back at me.  She asked what it was for.

I was exasperated at this point.  What does what it’s for have to do with anything?  Maddeningly irrelevant questions and repetition of questions are the two things that get under my skin instantly.  I remarked that it was for a funeral.  She said “oh, it’s not for a wedding?”

This has nothing to do with the location of my suit, or why its matching ticket was hanging alone on a wire behind the counter.  I reaffirmed that it was not for a wedding, but a funeral.  My answers undoubtedly became short and quiet at this point, but I remained polite.  Seeming to be the only one capable of asking relevant questions I asked “So, where’s my suit?”

At this point, the phone rang and she was asking someone about the suit.  I told her that my wife had been there at 9:00am the previous day, had requested one hour, then same day service… and was told the earliest we could get it was upon the shop opening in the morning.  She asked what time I was told we could get it.

Wow.  I reiterated that we were told it would be ready at 7:00am.  I’m sure I was visibly agitated at this point.  The woman looked at me like I was a bomb about to go off.

After a hushed conversation with the mystery person on the other end of the phone line, she disappeared into the mass of clothes hanging behind the counter.  She eventually popped back out with my suit.  It wasn’t on a hanger.  It was much more wrinkled than it was when Bethany had dropped it off.  It was apparently on the side of a bin or on the floor somewhere in the back overnight.

She stuttered as she told me that it hadn’t been cleaned and asked when I needed it by.

Really?

I said, “Well, yesterday.”

If I was going to be asked stupid questions, I was going to give stupid answers.

Pointing to the sign in the window, I asked how they could advertise 1 hour service if they clearly have no intentions of providing such a service.

The woman muttered something about it being an “orange” ticket and it meant it was a rush… but then it trailed off. She never even acknowledged my question.  She picked the pinned tags off of my suit and placed the rumpled mess on the counter.  I wasn’t offered any solutions.  I wasn’t offered an apology.  I wasn’t offered a free service.  I wasn’t offered a rush cleaning & delivery.  I wasn’t offered anything but my suit in a ball of wrinkles.

I never raised my voice.  I never uttered a curse word.  I never asked her how she was going to rectify the situation… because at this point I had absolutely no confidence in any service that they could possibly hope to provide.  The only acceptable thing at this point would have been for them to pay for one hour service at some other dry cleaner… but I’m sure that wouldn’t be an option to them.  They could offer me free dry cleaning for life at this point and it wouldn’t get me to ever drop anything off there.

Even if they had offered to clean it, they closed at 2:00pm, and with the move happening on the northern end of town, there was no way I could be back by then.  I mean, we had to go through a tunnel and over a bridge.  This is insanity in Pittsburgh.

I got back into the car and uttered something to the effect of “I can’t believe it, they didn’t clean my suit.”  Although, it was peppered with and punctuated by expletives.  My wife looked at me like I had just told her that I was Batman.  It was a look of utter disbelief.  She knew I wasn’t joking because I was quiet.  Generally I get quite quiet when I’m angry.  She said that she shouldn’t have left it there in the first place… but what were we to do?  They were the only place that advertised 1 hour or even same day service… even if they didn’t deliver.

We swung over to another local cleaner in Dormont.  They don’t advertise 1 hour cleaning or even same day service… but I thought it may be worth a shot.  They didn’t open until 7:30, and it was still only about a quarter after.  I had my wife call her dad because he had told us of a place in the north hills that does do same-day service as advertised.  That was the direction we were heading, so it was probably the only chance I had of getting a clean suit at this point.

My father-in-law recommended Don Royal Cleaners on Mt. Royal Blvd. in Shaler.  That’s where we went.  It wasn’t far from where they were moving, so it wasn’t too out of the way to make the drop-off.  My wife called the cleaners as we were en route to make sure they they did indeed offer same day service and what their hours were.  They were open.  We stopped.  The place was spotless & had elegant marble counter tops.  The girl at the register was friendly.  She took my wrinkled suit and smiled when we asked what time we could get it back that day.  I think they told us 2:00 or 3:00pm.  They were open until 8:00pm, so that gave us plenty of time to help her parents with the move & to swing back down to Shaler on the way home to pickup my hopefully clean & pressed suit.

The move went off without a hitch, and the suit was picked up without a problem.  We attended the viewing & funeral in Fairchance on Sunday & Monday and I was looking like a car salesman or like I was about to knock on your door & hand you The Book of Mormon or a Watchtower pamphlet.

Perhaps I should have had my weekend itinerary typed up for Century Cleaners?  Was it my error?  I could have pinned it to the suit or put it in the pocket.  I’m going to have to work on some amusing answers if I’m ever asked such irrelevant questions in the future.  What’s the suit for?  It’s for a a con scheme where I have to appear well-dressed and wealthy in order to swindle someone out of their money.  When do I need it by?  1:15am, on October 25th, 1985.

When you order a pizza, the person taking your order doesn’t ask what it’s for or when you need it by.  Can you imagine calling a pizza joint and them asking “Is this for a birthday party?  Can you pick it up tomorrow?”

How can these places advertize that they’re “1 hour” or “same day service” when they clearly can’t handle it, or don’t even intend to?  Do they think you’re padding when you need something by?  It shouldn’t matter.  You should get it when you ask for it to be done.  You’re paying them to provide a service.

I’ve run into this years before with a cleaner in Murrysville (They have a different name/owner now, so I won’t call them out).  They too never answered the one-hour question.  They just stared at me blankly.  I believe that was just a shirt & tie… not even a full suit.

Is this a conspiracy?  Does it involve the Freemasons & the Illuminati?  Should we call Brad Meltzer and the History Channel?

I see from searching online that another place nearby does offer same-day service… Has anyone dealt with Suburban Dry Cleaners?  They look rather reputable and they have a nice clean website… something Century Cleaners lacked.  Then again, I can’t find one for Don Royal either, and they were great.

So, how should they have handled the situation?  What should they have done as compensation?

Should I write them a letter or send them this blog?  Should I write & ask why they don’t provide 1-hour service?  I could call, but that’s not entertaining for the reader unless I can learn to record my phone calls.

Should I just put up a bad review on every review site I can find?

Should I complain to the Better Business Bureau?  How does that even work?  It’s only the cleaning of a suit, it’s not like they lost or destroyed it… or it was a thousand-dollar service.  It’s just incredibly aggravating.

Should I write to other dry cleaners and ask them how they would have handled such a situation?

Has this ever happened to you at the dry cleaner, or anywhere else?

How would you handle or how have you handled this situation?

Does 1 hour dry cleaning even exist anywhere?  How can they get away with advertising a service that they can’t or won’t provide?

14 responses to “The One Hour Dry Cleaning Myth

  1. I see it here, but never use it. Seems like if you’re going to have the sign you;d better be ready to come across with the service. Everyone screws up, but when you do, youve got to make it right.
    But what do I know, I have one less suit than you!

  2. First off, you were waaay too kind to the woman in the shop. I would have been livid. Secondly, Google Voice allows you to record phone calls straight through the phone you already have and it’s awesome.

    • Hmm… I may have to try Google Voice then. I bet a phone call could be entertaining.

      As far as the woman in the shop… believe me, I did want to scream, but I don’t believe she had anything to do with the screw up. She was just left there “cleaning up” someone else’s mess (and she didn’t do a very good job at that). She was already obviously flustered and I wasn’t even going off… I can imagine any harsh words would have reduced her to tears. I had assumed that if I remained calm, I would be easier to deal with & offered some compensation. Apparently I was wrong. Also, I can imagine being hit with that only a few minutes after walking in the door could make for a terrible day.

      I’m lost at what to do because like I said… the only compensation from them that would be acceptable this point is them paying for my service at Don Royal… and I doubt that will ever happen.

  3. I did some reviews…

    …where else should I post?

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  5. This company, Century Cleaners fours work for local Giant Eagles. His cleaning as dsy as I sm concerned is substandard. He seriouslydies not care.
    This company has an I don’t care attitude

    • Really? It’s odd that Giant Eagle would put up with substandard service. Perhaps they receive volume no matter what, so they’re not concerned about customer service.

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  8. Unfortunately things like that can happen, and they were very wrong to advertise 1 hour service. I own a dry cleaners and the best we offer is the next day in the afternoon. And, we only offer this if we are 100 percent sure it will be finished.

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