National Clothesline
National Clothesline
How touch-up can make it worse
Touch-up is killing me! A lot of people that call me say these exact words, sooner or later. They talk about touch-up percentages in the ballpark of 50 to 100 percent.
I am flabbergasted, but eventually, still more stunned when I see that they are right and sometimes even conservative at their estimated touch-up rate!
Well, let me tell ya, touch-up is killing me, too. I am becoming more and more convinced that touch-up people are their own worst enemies.
Let’s get right into the visual portion of our program and look at Photo 1. Yikes!
There is a lot going on here. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words… ya think? The electrical cord is hanging in the way, the fabric is very carelessly laid upon the board, and an extraordinarily poor press job… wow!
I am becoming more and more convinced that touch-up is more likely to ruin a shirt’s appearance than enhance it. Photo 2 is another example of what you see in Photo 1.
Touch-up is killing me! And you! So what happens is something like this: A shirt comes off the press with some sort of pressing defect. The Inspector (this could be the same person that does the touch-up) rejects it and proceeds to touch it up.
The iron applied to the fabric doesn’t do the same sort of “pressing” that the shirt unit does, so you end up with an unevenness in the garment, a bubbled area. You might not be able to describe it, but you’ll know it when you see it.
The handling of the garment might not be as careless as what you see in the pictures, but you get my point. There are some types of cotton fabric that get very wrinkled just by touching them. The touch-up procedures — even careful ones — will doom the appearance of these shirts.
The lesson may certainly seem to be simply “be careful while doing touch-up lest you turn a small defect into a catastrophe.”
Perhaps, but I think that the true path to a solution is to fix the real problem which clearly is at the shirt unit itself. Well, it ends there anyway, but could be caused by the steam supply, the air supply, the pads/covers, the equipment itself or the employee’s skill set.
It will remain true that the carelessness that you see pictured here is improper and self-defeating. Still, it makes immeasurably more sense to work on the real problem than to berate, reprimand and criticize the touch-up person.
Go stand by your shirt unit right now and look at the shirts that are “hot off the press.” How do they look? I bet that they look better than you expected. When the shirts are hot, it doesn’t take much handling to make a mess of hot cotton fabric.
Will it make your day to learn that your shirts are coming off the shirt unit better pressed than your touch-up person has caused you to believe? You may be in for a pleasant surprise. But for every defect you find, work backwards towards a solution. Find the root of the problem. It’s a far better use of your time.
I hope that I made your day!
“If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got!”
Don Desrosiers has been in the drycleaning and shirt laundering