Did I just get taken to the cleaners?

by Kevin Burton  

   You get a card in the mail from a cherished friend, don’t you just love that?

   Warms the heart. Don’t you just grin in anticipation?  Can’t wait to read it!  

   Many days, maybe most days, you stick your hand in the mailbox and pull out a fist full of nothing. Grocery fliers, political liars, bills and bollocks.

   But some days, you get a card in the mail, pull it out of the envelope and read, “We miss you.” 

   We got such a card from our friends at In the Bag Cleaners. Big-hearted corporate sweet talkers.  Four convenient locations near me.  They do dry cleaning. 

   We hadn’t had as much dry cleaning done lately.  Hadn’t been in as often. I open the card and inside it says, “It’s just not the same without you!”

   There is a letter of sorts underneath.  It reads, “Have you moved, been on vacation? Changed jobs?”

  “Whatever it is we miss you and we want you to come back to the In The Bag Cleaners Family.”

   “So just bring in this card to save 33 percent on your next order!  It is our way of saying we miss you.”

   It’s signed, “Most sincerely, Dave.”

   So I took the card into my nearest location on a Monday for my discounted dry cleaning. The clerk said my order will be ready the next day after 6 p.m.

   I come back the next day and get a bill that is quite a bit higher than I anticipated.

   “Did you give me my discount?” I ask.

   Yes, I gave you a ten percent discount,” she said.

   The little card said 33 percent, but I didn’t argue with her. I took my pants and went home. My wife says I should have said something and upon further reflection I agree. Guess I didn’t have my big-boy pants that day.

   The receipt just gives the total, without itemizing unit cost or discount.

   So here is my question. Isn’t a 10 percent discount better than nothing?  Shouldn’t I be happy with paying less?  After all, they don’t have to give me any discount.    

   Discount coupons are a common business inducement to customers though. This one clearly promised a discount of 33 percent, not 10. 

   Now if they had sent me a card that said I would get a 10 percent discount, or five even, I would not have torn it up in disgust because it wasn’t 20 percent or 33.

   So did I just get taken to the cleaners?

   Interesting question in a glass half full or half empty sort of way, isn’t it?

   So the company lied and got some business. But I got a 10 percent discount.  Should I be happy or mad?

   What would you do?  How would you feel? 

   Since it is football season, I pose the question this way. Did I just lose the big game 33-10 or did I win it 10-0?

   Keep in mind the service is good. That’s why I am a regular customer who gets love letters in the mail.

   If you Google “Who owns In The Bag Cleaners?” the answer reads in part, “In The Bag Cleaners is family owned by Dave Coyle, a Wichita resident for more than 20 years and a giant fan of good manners and good neighbors.”

   Since his card asked a few questions, I will pose one. I know it is difficult to quantify the terms “good manners” and “good neighbors” and have it come out as exact a concept as say, “33” or “10.” But what would be your definitions for those terms?”

   Or maybe Google had it wrong? 

   So many questions I will be sending to the e-mail address on the card. I will let you know what response I get, if any.

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1 Comment

  1. I’ll be interested to see what sort of response you get. I think since they advertised a certain discount, that’s what you should get when you bring in the card. Now if it said you had to do this by a certain date, that might be a bit different. I think people will have a lot more confidence in the business if they get service as advertised.


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