Thursday, 26 May 2011

An Epiphany in the Mall Parking Lot

G has football on Thursdays.  I am not sure where you live, but we have been the victim of many rainy Thursdays this season.  So much so, that today's e-mail indicated that football has been moved indoors, to the gym of a defunct high school.  At first I was inconvenienced because the school is a bit out of my way, but then I figured I would drop him off and do a few errands in the neighborhood and then pick him up.

Found the school, dropped him off, parked.

Opened my wallet to find not only do I still have my receipt from the dry cleaners but lo and behold, the cleaning is to be picked up today after 4pm. And here we are, today, after 4pm.  And here I am, parked, in the lot next to the dry cleaner.  Chills go shooting down my spine.

I stride to the cleaners with all the confidence of someone who actually has her claim ticket.

"Hello." says very nice young dry cleaner guy.

"Hi." I say, putting my paperwork on the counter, expecting a standing ovation.

He takes my tickets and walks over to the rack of clothes.   Looks a bit puzzled.

Comes back, checks the tickets.

Returns to the rack of clothes and presses the button to bring some new garments into view.  "Hmmm."

Scratches his head.

Wait a second.  This isn't supposed to happen to people who are in the right place at the right time.  People like me, receipt bearers.

He returns victoriously clutching one measly suit (not that your suit is measly, honey, I'm trying to make a point here).  He puts it on the counter, and looks at the receipt. "Hang on", he says, "didn't you have five suits?"


"And, looks like you had a few dresses too.  And a coupla shirts."

"Yes, I do."

"They'll be ready tomorrow."

"Doesn't the ticket say Thursday?"


"So, aren't they supposed to be ready today? After 4pm?"

"Yeah," he says.  "The thing is, my father put them in the pile of stuff due tomorrow, so like, they'll be ready tomorrow.  Sorry 'bout that."  Smiles nicely.  "I'll talk to my father."

"Ugh." I tell him. "I was so excited.  I was feeling so efficient."

He smiles understandingly, as if he too, had a kid whose football had been rained out three weeks running and he too had to drive him to a defunct high school and pick him up an hour later, and he was also just trying to get to the Post Office before it closes.

He was so nice.

I smiled back.  "That's okay," I told him reassuringly, "I'm not in a rush.  I'll be back in this neighborhood next week and can pick up my clothes then."

Exhaled.  Letting go.  Feels great.

I could have told him I was inconvenienced.  I could have said this was their mistake and what were they going to do for me.  I could have asked for a discount, a raincheck, a coupon.

I'm sure Superman and Spidey feel the same way - sometimes the pursuit of justice is exhausting.

And sometimes, people just make honest mistakes, like putting the Thursdays' suits in the Friday pile.  Sometimes people show up to pick up their clothes on the wrong day, or bring the wrong receipt to the wrong dry cleaner.

Apparently, sometimes people completely misplace their dry cleaning receipts and expect the nice young dry cleaner guy to search high and low with only a vague description of "I'm pretty sure they were black pants".  

Sheesh.  Some people.


  1. I've heard about those people and see them in action frequently at that mall... Good thing we are never those people!
    Great post. Should be required reading for some.

  2. im enbarassed to say i think i was those people, and i never had my reciept...which is why now i have a dry cleaner that picks up and SO spoiled!

  3. he deserved your wrath. your job is to rip him a new one, Amy -- come on!!!