Declined Service at Dry Cleaner... Sort of

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Sartorially Challenged, Jul 29, 2006.

  1. Sartorially Challenged

    Sartorially Challenged Senior member

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    I was at a dry cleaner dropping off my shirts to be laundered and pressed.

    The clerk there saw one shirt with thick buttons and said "We can't take this. When they press the shirt, all the buttons will break."

    "Excuse me?"

    "When they put the press on the shirt, these thick buttons will break."

    "You can't be serious?"

    "Okay, if you are okay with broken buttons, we'll send it."

    "Uh... That's okay. I'll take it back with me."

    I think this will be the last time I use this launderer. Does anyone have this kind of response before? Of course, I must say, this place has been breaking many of my shirt buttons, so perhaps I should've move on before.
     


  2. Carlo

    Carlo Senior member

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    Common.

    At least they were honest.

    What you need to do is what Jill does...

    "Honey, please wash and iron my shirts"


    NOTE: Find someone better looking than her laundry boy to try this on.
     


  3. kitonbrioni

    kitonbrioni Senior member

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    I've never had any of my Borrelli shirt double thick buttons broken. I guess the laundry is careful or whatever.
     


  4. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I've never had any of my Borrelli shirt double thick buttons broken. I guess the laundry is careful or whatever.
    The best ones will either wrap them up or remove them.
     


  5. Infinite42

    Infinite42 Well-Known Member

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    One place around me posted a sign that said something to the effect of "Cannot Accept Shirts with Thick Buttons" - of course with the word "with" capitalized, but I digress...
     


  6. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Far better that than to take your shirts and break them!

    Find a dry-cleaner that does his own work on premises. They'll be much more accommodating.
     


  7. Sartorially Challenged

    Sartorially Challenged Senior member

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    Far better that than to take your shirts and break them!

    Find a dry-cleaner that does his own work on premises. They'll be much more accommodating.

    But see, they have broken many of my "thin" buttons already!

    I don't think I am going to find a place that does its own laundry & press work. Every place seems to ship it out to some central location. The laundry business seems to have raced to the bottom due to the high price competitive nature as with many things.

    I'd pay more for a place that "takes care." But I don't seem to be able to find a place that does seemingly at any price.

    BTW, I always thought that the thick mother-of-pearl (?) buttons were much more break-resistant, no?
     


  8. Sartorially Challenged

    Sartorially Challenged Senior member

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    The thing that troubles me that among the shirts the place did accept for service, several actually have thick buttons also. I guess I'll see.
     


  9. Alfa

    Alfa Senior member

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    I also agree with the recommendation of soliciting a cleaners that has on-site service rather than a drop shop. These shouldn't be too hard to find and its much easier to form a relationship with them where they will know how you want your clothes.

    As for the specific issue, you can sometimes ask for hand pressing instead of a machine press. Typically, the cost is quite a bit more (I used to pay $3.50 per shirt for a hand pressing rather than the $1.50), but it is specifically so you won't ruin the buttons. I have also had the issue where if a shirt is a mixed blend cotton-poly or cotton-spandex they will also not do a machine press because it leads to puckering of the material.
     


  10. rdawson808

    rdawson808 Senior member

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    Yeah, be happy they were honest. I had a dry cleaner break three buttons on one shirt (that had been to the cleaners dozens of times). When I pointed it out she basically said, "that happens." I told her, No that doesn't and never returned.

    I guess, in the end, you'll have to do them yourself if you can't find someone more reliable. Sad but that's life I guess.


    b
     


  11. Earthmover

    Earthmover Senior member

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    BTW, I always thought that the thick mother-of-pearl (?) buttons were much more break-resistant, no?
    MOPs are probably much stronger, but more brittle than plastic. My guess is plastic can bend somewhat while MOPs remain rigid even when pressure is applied. The reasons for why thick MOPs may break more is apparent when you see a standard shirt unit. The body press is essentially a thin and wide mannequin that you put a shirt over, and have the back and the front pressed together by large, hot stainless steel plates. The heat/steam and pressure is what irons the shirt. There is padding on the entirety of the mannequin, so that there is some "give" for the buttons and fabric when pressure is applied. When a thin button is on a "fresh" shirt machine padding, they settle in nicely into the padding, unaffected by the pressure of the metal plates. The buttons break if (1) the padding gets old and loses some of its cushioning, allowing for less give; and (2) the buttons are thicker than the shirt machines were created for, which is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/8". Obviously, if the buttons don't settle into the pads completely, the pressure exerted on it by the metal plates will make it possible for them to break easier. Most of the time, the MOPs should be able to withstand this, but if you have a bad MOP button (with perhaps a weak point created by cleavage line in the button), or just a "bad" MOP that is brittle and prone to breakage. The same applies for plastic, although they usually bend a bit more, leading to less breakages. In the end, the ultimate problem is that the pads aren't replaced as often as they should be. because replacing the pads take time (lowering productivity), costs money for the new padding (around $80 here: http://www.cleanersupply.com/product...t.cfm?pID=2006), and it's a bit annoying to change. ... and that's why buttons break.
     


  12. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    Iron your own shirts if you value them.
     


  13. pkincy

    pkincy Senior member

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    Having been exposed to this problem for more years than most have been alive, I will comment that for years I thought my choices were to accept broken buttons or do it myself and I chose the broken buttons.

    However my current cleaners (moved to Scottsdale a year ago) has yet to break a button. They do them on site and for only $2.15 a shirt.

    So if you keep changing cleaners (I probably have used 20 different ones in my 45 years of wearing dress shirts) hopefully you, too, will find a good one.

    Perry
     


  14. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Seems more than a responsible thing to do if they believed that their processes would damage it.I suspect you would have been unhappy had they done so.
     


  15. wvuguy

    wvuguy Active Member

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    I'd pay more for a place that "takes care." But I don't seem to be able to find a place that does seemingly at any price.

    I'd personally think that's easier said than done. If one has the good fortune.....and I say that relatively-speaking.....to live in a major metro area like NYC or DC or Chi-town or LA, one might have a better chance to find a place providing a level of service (at a commensurate price) that one prefers/needs.

    However, if one was "stuck" in a smaller town......like, for example, myself as a resident of Cincinnati.....well, I know I wouldn't hold my breath trying to find such a place.
     


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