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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three Things To Look For

If you are like me, you get attached to your clothes. So when we moved, the thought of finding new everything, especially a new dry cleaner, did not please me. I found myself using these three categories as I searched for and tested new service providers. I thought they were applicable when looking for a new dry cleaner too.

1. Reputation - Ask folks you trust, and it's important to get more than one opinion. One person with one bad experience could sway you, and that one bad experience could be an isolated incident.
2. Service - Not just ready when you are told but does the staff take the time to know you? Do they listen and take notes when you have a specific concern? Is the overall experience pleasant?
3. Professional Standards - Is the staff trained and knowledgeable? Are the technicians certified? Is the business a member of a professional association?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Child Is Hard On Clothes

According to my mom, I wasn't terribly hard on clothes while growing up though I did tend to chew the lace off my dresses when I was a baby. My mom is incredibly meticulous about keeping things looking nice, so whatever issues that arose related to clothing were resolved quickly. That trait has carried on to me. I still like my stuff to be pristine, so I also take really good care of my clothes. But I have a 4 year old boy, and I'm trying to figure out how to keep his clothing looking nice as well as lasting longer. He's all boy. Translation--he's really rough on clothes. I can't tell you how many pairs of jeans he has with holes in the knees. I never put a white shirt on him--he's a messy eater and has now begun wiping his face on his sleeve. I try to catch problems quickly, but my salvage success rate isn't great.

So I'm trying to compile a list of ideas on how to combat my problem. Here are 2 things I've started doing:
1. Putting patches on the inside of his jeans before he starts wearing them.
2. Treating stains immediately.

Does anyone else have some good ideas they want to share?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thoughtful Office Staff

I share this story just so you get a sense for the kind of folks that work at A Cleaner World. While this happened a number of years ago, most of those folks still work at the A Cleaner World corporate office. Eight years ago today my sister was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. To make a long story short, the course of treatment was radical chemo followed by a bone marrow transplant. I had the honor of being the donor. One of the requirements was that I had to stay within a certain mile radius of the hospital starting the day before chemo was to begin. My sister's treatment was in Nashville, so I lived in an apartment with my dad across the street from Vanderbilt University Medical Center for two weeks.

The day before my departure the office staff assembled a lovely send off featuring a cake from Ganache Bakery and a box of wrapped gifts. In the box was a set of instructions. The gifts were numbered, and I was instructed to only open the appropriate package on the appropriate day.

We quickly developed a routine -- I'd get up early and run, then my dad and I would walk to Starbucks, then we'd walk over to my sister's hospital room where we spent the entire day. Each day I'd take the appropriate package and we'd open it. The items ranged from games to uplifting notes to M&M's and so on. It became a fun game - a crazy little highlight to an otherwise stressful and crummy situation.

Memories like these remind me of what a special place A Cleaner World is - a place filled with thoughtful and creative folks that care about each other and take great pride in what they do.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Three Favorite

For fourteen years, I had the privilege of managing the Give A Kid A Coat program for A Cleaner World. During that time there were a lot of unforgettable moments, but in David Letterman style here are my top 3 favorite:

Number 3 - In 2005, a woman called to thank us for doing Give A Kid A Coat. Her family had for several years donated to Give A Kid A Coat but this year instead of being donors, they needed to be recipients. Her husband had lost his job. They had 3 kids, and after the 3rd one was born she decided to stay home. They were living off some savings but it wasn't going to last too much longer. I so vividly remember the gratitude in her voice. And I appreciated her call very much. We, just simply because of the way the program is set up, don't often get to talk to those that receive coats.

Number 2 - Let me preface this by saying that I'm not at all diminishing coat donations. Every coat is important. But it only takes a few minutes to check your closet and then drop off unused coats at A Cleaner World. Just a few weeks ago, someone dropped off 56 hand knit scarves at a Greensboro location for Give A Kid A Coat. She said she'd spent the last year working on them. Think about the time commitment involved in knitting 56 scarves. All I can say is wow.

Number 1 - I know I've shared this story before but I think it spells out perfectly why we do Give A Kid A Coat. Several campaigns ago a Salvation Army representative was helping a family find coats when one of the kids squealed in delight when she found a coat with pockets. She now had a place to put her hands so they wouldn't get cold.

This year Give A Kid A Coat collected 27,817 coats. Thank you for supporting this important program. Lots of folks will be warm this winter because of your generosity.
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