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Why Don't We Finish Anything?

Why Don't We Finish Anything?

Every once in a while I observe something in everyday life that makes me ponder things. I know, deep...huh?  Yesterday I was making a quick trip to the restroom and as I walked by our laundry department and noticed two 50 lb buckets of laundry soap.  One of the buckets had about one cup in it while the other had almost 50 lbs left in it.  Why not finish one bucket first...or dump the small amount remaining in it before starting to use the new bucket?!  I'm sure there's no way I could understand the pain and suffering involved with lifting the 8oz portion and pouring into the full bucket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast forward to this morning when I was getting a bowl of cereal and I noticed we had several boxes of cereal in the pantry...but most of them had less than one serving in them!  What the hell?!  I never leave a single Cheerio in the box or a crumb on my plate, or a single drop of beer or soda in a can.  Was I raised different?

As I'm writing this post, I started thinking about last night where I was working on our basement bathroom.  I spent several hours removing old lights and cabinet doors, etc... but then I didn't take the 90 seconds to return my tools to the garage where they belong?  Now, when I stomp around the house and complain about not being able to find my tools, I'll remember I left them in the basement bathroom and laugh at myself after first blaming my children.

 

How does all of this pertain to dry cleaning and laundry?  It doesn't...but it was bothering me.  

Pickup & Delivery

French Benefits of Being a Driver

It's getting warmer and the huge amounts of blue bags coming through our doors says it is FINALLY spring.  As I see all the bags piled up in our laundry bins, it reminds me of some of the funny/weird stuff our drivers see on a regular basis...and I'm sure they don't tell anyone about some of it!  In case you didn't know it, PEOPLE ARE WEIRD!!!  Some examples...

  • Answering the door naked or partially naked.  If I hadn't see it (or maybe I should say "them") myself I wouldn't believe it.  The one experience I had is one that I wish I didn't have! This woman showed me her boobs on accident and she is still a customer so I have to think about them every time I see her.
  • Our guys have told me multiple stories about women that answer the door in towels or bath robes that are open showing full frontal nudity. Really!?  That is why our drivers now wear cameras on their hats (just kidding).  First of all, our guys don't ring doorbells typically so the exhibitionist is laying in wait for the guys to show up.  Weird!  To date, I don't have any reports of dudes answering the door naked.  Probably because they don't have a fluffer to get them ready for the delivery guy.  Did I just say that?
  • We've helped people move furniture, start cars, tow their car out of their snowy driveway, catch runaway dogs, get tours of their homes, etc...  Most are just friendly things that you'd expect but some are flat out strange.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever done to a delivery person?  If you don't get offended easily you can do a search online for some examples.  The number of ladies that answer the door naked or partially naked is astonishing and it must be true because it's on the world wide web. 

Don't feel pressured to answer the door naked...but DO remember to leave your bag out for the Hangers driver.  

March was "Hug Robert Bixler" month.  Please report to me if you actually got to hug him.  If you did, I might even sing you a verse of "Big John" with the words "Big Bix" instead.  

Before & After

This blog posting reminds me of my first real job at DirectoriesAmerica...Sprint's (then United Telecom's) division that published telephone books.  For you young readers, a telephone book was a paper book with everyone's telephone number and address in it and it came out once per year with updated information.  Anyway, we had an advertiser that operated a hair replacement clinic and he wanted to put "before & after" pictures in his ad.  Well, we accidentally (at least I think it was an accident) flip-flopped the pictures so the before picture had a handsome, smiling man with a full head of hair and the after picture had a pathetic looking, melancholy (I mean, how could you possibly be happy if you are bald?) man with no hair.  At first, the advertiser was pissed but after it received all kinds of news coverage, he was the happier than the guy who had his hair replaced.  I digress.  

Last weekend, I'm at my parents farm and, of course, my dad pulls out a jacket that he's had since Carter was president and has never had it cleaned.  It had old manure (poop), oil, blood and all kinds of food and general soil.  "Joe, do you think your cleaners can do anything with this?"  I detected a tone of "this thing is toast but I'm an older man that can afford a new jacket but why should I spend a dime on something new if I can keep using this old thing?"  I'm sure you've heard that tone before from your parents.  I took it as a personal challenge to see what could be accomplished.  Look at the results!

Before

 

 

After

Kansas Environmental Tax

Oh, the drama...

Hangers has been open for 10 years and for 10 years we've never charged an environmental tax in the state of Kansas.  We were specifically given a waiver by the state because we don't do any cleaning in the state and we don't use any cleaning solvents like perchloroethylene, which is the nasty stuff that many other cleaners use.

On November 18, 2013 I received a call from a representative at the Kansas Department of Revenue.  The representative said he was calling in response to a competitor that saw one of our marketing pieces that stated Hangers does not charge environmental tax.  Gee, I wonder which competitor did that?!  Could it be someone with deep pockets and friends in Topeka and DC?

On December 2, 2013 I received a letter from the state of Kansas that rescinded our waiver to not collect environmental taxes.  Ironically, it was written by the exact same person that gave us the waiver many years ago! 

Hangers appealed the decision using what seemed to be pretty sound logic.  Here's an excerpt from our appeal:

As I pointed out in my 2007 letter and recently discussed on the phone with you, my company does all of the cleaning for our customers in the state of Missouri.  We do not own or lease any property in the state of Kansas so it would be impossible for us to contaminate anything in Kansas.  Per K.S.A. (Kansas Statute Annotated) “Any rules and regulations so adopted shall be reasonably necessary to preserve, protect and maintain the waters and other natural resources of this state and reasonably necessary to provide for prompt corrective action of releases from drycleaning facilities."

Furthermore, Chapter 65 of the statute (65-34,150) reads “Subject to the provisions of K.S.A. 65-34,152, and amendments thereto, there is hereby imposed an environmental surcharge in the form of a gross receipts tax for the privilege of engaging in the business of laundering and drycleaning garments and other household fabrics in this state." Again, we are not doing any cleaning in the state.

You mentioned that any drycleaning retailer that collects and pays sales tax in Kansas, which Hangers does, needs to also collect and pay the environmental tax.  I understand the logic but disagree with it.  Hangers uses the roads and infrastructure in Kansas to conduct our pickup & delivery business so it makes sense that we would have to collect and pay sales tax.  However, the same logic does not apply to the environmental tax since the money will be used to clean up contaminated sites in Kansas and we, without question, will never contaminate the state of Kansas with drycleaning solvents or other hazardous waste.

Unfortunately, on February 13, 2014 we received a letter from Kansas indicating that we lost our appeal.  Here is part of their rationale:

Currently, because you provide dry cleaning services to individuals in Kansas you are "engaged in the business of laundering and dry-cleaning garments...in this state." This surcharge is to be applied for the privilege of doing so and therefore the fact your business is not domiciled in the state does not exempt you from collecting this tax at the time of sale.

So, my interpretation of this letter from Kansas is basically that we can appeal and spend all the money we want...but we are NOT going to win.  Even if we got a judge or some other impartial arbitrator to rule in our favor, the Department of Revenue would simple re-write the statute to ensure they got their money. 

Sadly, we decided to give up the fight and are now charging an environmental tax on our cleaning, for Kansas customers only, that is neither environmentally harmful nor done in the state of Kansas.

Goldies Farmhouse Restaurant

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Having the strange brain that I have, I started giggling this morning when I put on my Doc Marten's shoes because of the similarity of the brand name to Dr. Martin Luther King.  I told Keri in our office about it and she tweeted it.  The pathetic part of this story is that I thought about telling her not to tweet it because it might offend someone! Then, I came to my senses and realized my dumb sense of humor was not based on any racist platform...so I grew a pair and agreed to let her tweet it. I'm sure we'll get grief for it.

Friday night I took my kids to visit my parents in Stewartsville, MO and my dad insisted on taking us to the new restaurant in town.  WOW!  I was impressed! The place is called Goldies Farmhouse Restaurant and it was incredible.  The woman who opened it was the chef at The Benton Club in St. Joseph, MO and her culinary skills are on display now in, of all places, Stewartsville, MO.  We had a family style fried chicken dinner with incredible rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and corn.  Then we had some awesome desserts to top it off. The service staff was outstanding and the prices are reasonable. If you are ever in Stewartsville you must give it a try.  

 

Business Neighbors

Let me start by saying I think my mom's advice of "always wear clean underwear" is very important.

We have some pretty awesome neighbors here at Hangers' main processing facility in Martin City.  I think we take them for granted most of the time but as I pulled up this morning I saw this shot of Farmland's spiral sliced ham factory - the largest in the world.  No kidding.  If the wind is blowing from the east, everything smells like bacon and who doesn't love that? Sometimes when I fart, I say "do you smell bacon?" and everyone takes a big whiff to see if they can actually smell bacon.  It's a trick that Mark Shrout taught me - althought he uses "do you smell popcorn?" instead.  Same result.  Try it sometime...it's fun.

A few years ago they had an ammonia leak that ended up being harmless but a lot of their employees came over to Hangers and hung out in our office for awhile.  No big deal.  Well, a couple days later, we received a box of enough spiral sliced hams for every one of our employees.  As Steven St. John would say..."it was delicious."

Across the street from us is Suburban Lawn & Garden's mulch factory.  Don't you love this business model?...you pay them to take your old branches, they grind them up and add some coloring to them, and then they sell them back to you in the spring.  When we first opened, they were grinding directly to the south of us and we get pretty strong southerly breezes that were blowing dust and mulch particles into our plant.  I called the owner, Bill Stueck, and he immediately shifted the grinding to the northeast so it wouldn't blow in our building.  That is a massive operation and he did it without prodding.  

Loving Arms Adult Day Care is just to the west of us.  They have a thriving day care for adults and treat us very well.  I grow zucchini at home and bring it to their owner, Debbie Hartsell and she makes us zucchini bread.  If you catch me somewhere in private, ask me to tell you the "woop woop" story.

Seville Home and our landlord, Eastbend LLC, let us use their loading docks, forklifts and other assets when we need them, which is all the time.  I'll have to test them and ask if I can use their bathroom.  That's how you know who your real friends are.  For example...

I feel sorry for my sister Betsy since she lives the closest to the Plaza of anyone in my family.  When the famous Runyan "pressure" starts to build it is usually followed by a rapid trip home to take care of business.  If the pressure is too much and the algorhythm your brain is calculating between toilet and "release" is coming up somewhere short of your home...it's time to stop at Betsy and George's since they are just off Ward Parkway. When it happens, no words need to be spoken upon arrival. It's a simple head nod between rapid, short breaths and the sweat dripping off the brow is a clear signal that pleasantries will be exchanged after the work is done.  The only real communication is a signal from Betsy as to whether the perpetrator is to go upstairs or the half bath by the kitchen.  Thankfully, she works at Indigo Wild so there is sufficient odor masking and remediation (good word) available at all times.  

Today's lesson:  Be good to friends, neighbors and family...you never know when you'll need them or their toilet!

Peplum & USPS

Peplum and Leather Touches

At the risk of having Jack Harry make fun of me, I DID say peplum!  Some of the clothing blogs I've been reading have mentioned that peplum is on the way out and leather "touches" are going to be "in" for 2014.  Two things...1) I'm thinking I should consider turning in my man card for mentioning "peplum" and "leather touches" in writing, 2) be aware that leather "touches" are VERY difficult and risky to clean.  They often bleed onto the surrounding fabric and can sometimes become stiff or even split (if glued in layers).  Just giving you a heads up.  

Postal Service

Check out what we received from the post office a few days ago.  I have no idea what it is/was.  Can you imagine if FedEx or UPS did this?!

Care Labels

I promised to talk about care labels and how confusing and frustrating they can be for cleaners.  My favorite that we get fairly frequently says "Do not launder. Do not dry clean."  Hmmm...what should we do?  Others say things like "Do not clean decorations" but the decorations are sewn into or onto the garment!  Here is a link ( http://www.textileaffairs.com/c-common.htm ) to common laundry and dry cleaning symbols since they can be pretty confusing at times.  Here are some funny care labels...

My dog wears t-shirts all the time.

 

Possibly my favorite.  This is good advice to listen to if you are a Hangers customer.

 

The world's best and brightest work in garment manufacturing, obviously!

 

Not PC...but who cares?

Mariano Rivera
I know I said I was going to blog about care labels and their bogusness...but I'm putting that off until next time. 

Those of you from Kansas City know (or should know) that the Royals just finished a series with the NY Yankees in which we were swept.  Yes, the dreaded and hated NY Yankees.  Ever since I had my 11, 12 and 13 year old heart broken by them in the mid 70's, I have hated that team.  Still do.

However, I read a story and then talked first hand with someone that experienced the class and thoughtfulness of Mariano Rivera.  Two worlds collided in KC this past weekend and the story is pretty special.  Let me begin...

First, the story of the Bresette family.  You may already know that the Bresette family lost their son, Luke, in a terrible accident at an airport in Alabama over spring break earlier this year.  Luke was huge baseball fan.  Luke's father, Ryan, is a friend of mine and he is also a huge sports fan.  Watching and imagining what the Bresette family was going through was difficult for me and for many, many others.

Fast forward to this weekend and the Royals vs. the hated Yankees.  I'm reading the paper Sunday morning about a nice meeting between Mariano Rivera and the Bresette family.  I thought how nice it was that Rivera (who I had heard was a great guy and, by the way, is the last guy in baseball still playing and to still wear #42 since it was retired for Jackie Robinson) was taking the time to meet with them.  The story went on to say that Luke was a huge baseball fan and then his brother Joe yelled "but he hated the Yankees!"  The article said that Rivera laughed and that is where the story ended. 


Ryan Bresette came into our business today (he is a customer) so we of course talked about the story in the paper and how cool we thought Rivera was.  Ryan said that Rivera was incredible and the story didn't do him justice.  Apparently one of the Bresette boys asked Rivera if he could have the ball if Rivera were to pitch in the game and that he would be behind the visitor's dugout after the game.  As fate would have it, Rivera pitched and got the save against our Royals.  The game ended on a fly ball so the Bresettes thought there was no way Rivera would get the ball back in his hands to give it to them, so they made their way to their car for trek home.  As soon as they got to the car, they got a call from one of the Royals PR representatives to let them know that Mariano Rivera was looking for them because he did, indeed, pitch in the game and he had promised to give the ball to one of the Bresettes.  Ryan Bresette then hustled back to the stadium to meet, once again, Mariano Rivera so he could fulfill his promise.

We hear lots of stories about pompous, self-centered athletes.  Well, Mariano Rivera is not one of them.

I still hate the Yankees just like my mom will always hate the Raiders...but Mariano Rivera is one cool dude and needs to be recognized for it. 



 
 
Shoe Shines, Jake and Big Tom
So we have built this business (or should I say we took over a business that was built by our government?) that has 11 store locations that we serve daily and thousands of homes and businesses that we drive by twice per week.  Our customers have been great and we appreciate the opportunity to do their dry cleaning and laundry but I'm always wondering what else can we do?  We've added personal laundry (like socks, t-shirts, undies, towels, sheets, etc...) and we recently added shoe shining.  Several of you asked if we could do it...so we partnered with Allen Mozee, world renowned (in my mind anyway) shiner.  Allen is an awesome guy and we want to keep him busy so send 'em in.

What else would you like done?  Please let us know...but it has to be legal.  If it's illegal, please send to my personal email address.  Just kidding.  Some things that have been suggested to us in the past...

  • Deliver dog food 
  • Cut keys
  • Offer cobbler service (not pie...fixing shoes)
  • ???? 


Ok...now a funny one.  My dad is a rancher so he is outdoors all the time, loves to hunt and loves wildlife in general.  He is also 80 years old so he's clearly not as hip as his 47 year old son.  One more piece of background information is that my dad's brother is named Tom and we refer to him as Big Tom and Big Tom has a grandson named Jake. 

So, it's turkey season and my dad sends me an email with an attached picture and the subject line reads "Jake watching Big Tom Breed West of my Garage" so the only image I can think of is the humans Jake and Tom...not the turkeys.  I sought counseling for that.

Next blog will tackle care labels and how bogus they are.  You bet.