April 25, 2011
Everyone who has ever worked in India will tell you : never assume some things needn’t be explained. Say it. And say it again. And again.
If there is one place where I never forget this, it’s at the dry cleaner.
I’ve had a few bad experiences with dry cleaners in Jaipur. One burnt a
motherfucking Prada very precious dress. The other one turned a white sari pink.
The one I use now, appropriately called Snowhite, is ok. But that’s because I’m not taking any chance.
I always, always tell Mr Snowhite how delicate and fragile my clothes are and can they please be extra careful. I always, always tell them not to use any starch and to never put any sort of red-hot iron in contact with the fabric. Steam – that’s what they are allowed to use on my clothes, and nothing else.
Oh, don’t worry, it’s all done in great spirit. They think I am nutcase but then, so do a whole lot of people.
Everytime I go to Snowhite Dry Cleaners, I dutifully repeat the same serenade, over and over again. I am convinced that the day I don’t, something awful is going to happen. And so I go on, begging them to look after my clothes as if it was their grandmother’s heirloom petticoat.
As I said, they are ok dry cleaners, but it also helps that I never bring into Snowhite Dry Cleaners any really, really dirty clothes.
Indeed the only time I did – a silk chiffon blouse with a huge BBQ sauce stain courtesy a Castiburger (= best burger in Paris), the blouse came back with a slightly faded but nonetheless visible version of the original stain.
I blamed it on the Castiglione’s
delicious nasty orange sauce but then the other day, while handing over my clothes, I watched them check for stains. And I had an epiphany.
In Europe, the dry cleaner checks your clothes for stains so that he knows what stuff to use, and so that you both agree beforehand whether there is, or not, a stain on your blouse.
But as I watched them I realized : these guys are not checking for stains to establish their existence with me, or to figure out which product to use. What they are thinking, and I can hear it loud and clear, is this :
…” Do we really need to clean that one ?”