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Monday, March 27
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by Tumbleweed Smith

I own a white silk sport coat. It's beautiful and I wear it sparingly. It can pass for a dinner jacket. A few weeks ago I was to speak at an event where most of the people at the head table would be wearing dinner jackets. I got out my beautiful silk coat and showed it to my wife and asked her if it looked OK, since it had been in the closet all winter. The coat looked OK to me, but my wife found a spot about half the size of a pinhead, maybe even smaller. She suggested I send it to the cleaners to freshen it up a bit. Being one to follow my wife's suggestions, I dropped it off at a local cleaning establishment. The girl who took my coat told me it would be ready the next day. That would be a Wednesday. I was to wear the coat for a speech on Saturday. When I went to pick it up at about 3 o'clock on that Wednesday I was told the coat wasn't quite ready, but I could get it the next day. I explained to the girl about needing the coat in just a couple of days and she assured me it would be ready on Thursday. No problem.

At this particular cleaner, when you pick up your cleaned items, the person delivering them at the drive-thru opens your back door and hangs them on the built-in hook. The customer doesn't have a chance to inspect them. On Thursday around noon, I got the coat, paid the cleaning bill and brought it home. I took the coat out of its cellophane bag and showed it to my wife. The spot was still there.

I took the coat back and told the man at the counter that I wanted my money back because the spot was still there. He looked at it and said, "Somebody else worked on it besides me. I can get it out." I told him not to bother, and to just give me my money back. He insisted I leave it so he could try his hand at getting rid of the tiny, hardly noticeable spot. I reluctantly left the coat. He told me it would be ready in a couple of hours.

When I went to get the coat this time, I looked at the coat before the clerk had a chance to hang it up by the back door of my car. The spot was still there and in addition there were some black smudges on the coat. I pointed out the new spots. She said she was sorry, that accidents happen. I told her she had ruined my beautiful silk coat. I asked to speak to the manager. It was the same guy who said he could take out the spot. I pointed out the new black spots, which were quite noticeable. He took the coat and said it would be ready tomorrow. That would be a Friday.

You know what's going to happen next. The spots remained and there was a new spot on the lapel. In addition to the horrible black smudges that looked like someone had taken a print cartridge and rubbed it on the coat, there was a noticeable pink area apparently from a cleaning substance. I just decided to make a game out of it now. I took the coat home and vowed never to go back to that dry cleaner. My wife looked at the coat and said, "Why don't we just paint tumbleweeds on it?" I figured she was making a game out of it, too. She look the coat, got out some cleaning supplies, worked on it for about 30 minutes and removed all the spots, including the original one. What a gal. I wore the coat to the speech.

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