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How the “magic” happens…
My first experience with a dry cleaning service involved my mother shoving our winter coats through a drive-up window. A young girl smiled as she received our coats, handed my mother a small piece of paper and we were on our way. I remember thinking to myself, I really liked that winter coat and couldn’t for the life of me think why my mother would try and get rid of it. I asked her how the cleaners would know which coat was mine and I was very concerned that I would never see that coat again. She simply smiled at me and said, “It’s magic…”
For years I believed just that, that whatever was happening behind the scenes at a dry cleaner was indeed magic. However now, I’m fortunate enough to spend my days working behind those scenes at Heider Cleaners and I’ve learned that it’s not magic — it’s numbers.
From the moment you drop your pile of dirty laundry off, to the moment you pick it up there is a number associated with each and every piece. A system of colored and numbered tags is attached to each garment and then attached to a corresponding invoice (with a number) that is linked to that customer. The items process through the dry cleaning plant and at the end of the day they are reunited with the original itemized bill. In the end the garments are inspected the pieces are counted and then counted again for accuracy. Finally, they are bound together and racked on a numbered storage conveyor where they wait to be picked up.
So I guess it’s really not magic.