True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

The unvarnished truth behind bar coding your fine garments

Bar codesSo you've been told that your cleaner is a true quality cleaner.

But have you ever noticed that their definition of true quality cleaning has very little to do with the quality of the product they produce? And that their definition revolves mostly around their service and conveniences? Such as their friendly service representatives, their same day service, their 24/7 bag drop off system, their 24/7 order retrieval system, their drive through service, their pickup and delivery service, etc.

No doubt they also touted the bar coded labels they glue onto all your garments and household textiles as an indicator of true quality cleaning.

Really?

The real question here is not whether they glue bar coded labels onto your fine garments and household textiles. You know they do. You've seen those bar coded labels glued onto the care labels, brand labels, waistbands, inside pockets and side seams of your fine garments and household textiles.

The real question is why they do it. And the answer to that question will give you great insight into the cleaner's overall philosophy to garment care.

One word of caution: when evaluating that answer make sure to distinguish between the disclosed motivation (the spin) and the hidden motivation (the reality).

Here's my take on bar codes: a true quality cleaner would never glue bar coded labels anywhere on your fine garments and household textiles

And the reasons?

First, they're your garments and household textiles. They don't belong to me. You entrusted them to me for restoration to like new condition. Not to have bar coded labels glued onto them without your permission.

Second, glued on bar coded labels are typically used by high volume/low price, highly automated cleaners where the operational focus is on getting your garments into a machine, onto a press and into a bag. ASAP. At lowest possible cost. They're in by 9:00 and out by 5:00; or picked up on day 1 and delivered on day 3.

Third, and most importantly, a true quality cleaner would never glue bar coded labels onto your fine garments and household textiles because they move and assemble your fine garments and household textiles by hand. NOT BY AUTOMATED MACHINE.

FedExTo understand exactly what I mean visualize, for a moment, a Fedex or UPS sorting facility with a web of conveyor belts and bar code scanners strategically mounted above those conveyor belts. Further, visualize letters and boxes of all shapes and sizes, all imprinted with a bar code, shuttling along a conveyor belt from point to point.

Now, instead of letters and boxes, visualize your fine garments and household textiles, suspended on hangers, being roller-coasted around a drycleaning plant from point to point on an automated moving and assembly system.

Bar coded labels are the foundation of such an automated system.

It's a concept borrowed directly from the uniform rental industry.

Here's some background ...

UPS deliveryWe're all familiar with the uniform rental industry. We see their products on every Fedex and UPS driver. To ensure that those uniforms are "cleaned, steamed/pressed, assembled and delivered" at the lowest possible cost, the cleaner must, among other things, bar code all garments and utilize a highly automated moving and assembly system to shuttle their garments from point to point.

Along comes the ordinary cleaners. They figured that if the system works for the uniform rental industry, it'll work for them too.

But does it work for you?

Can you picture your fine garments and household textiles being shuttled around a drycleaning plant from cleaning to steaming/pressing to assembly to bagging? Can you imagine your easily wrinkled, delicate and/or fragile garments such as your silk, linen and cotton blouses and shirts being crushed between heavier coats, sport coats, blazers, trousers, slacks and sweaters? All in the name of maximizing efficiency and minimizing costs.

So, next time you see bar coded labels glued onto your fine garments and household textiles consider this: Do you want your fine garments and household textiles to be treated like uniform rental garments?

I wouldn't think so.

Careful handling of your fine garments and household textiles through the entire garment care process is just one sign of true quality cleaning. Bar code labels glued onto your fine garments and household textiles is just one sign of ordinary or "bang and hang" cleaning.

How can I help you?


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