“You have delighted us long enough.” ~ Jane Austen
As the outside temperature bumped 103°, Sara Sullivan had listened to just about enough of the cutesy customer commentary.
Sara’s the third generation of her family to manage a local dry cleaner in my hometown. They are an anomaly in the world of small business surviving the ups and downs of a fickle economy over the last 54 years.
Their local enterprise serves about 150 customers each day.
It’s not exactly a white-collar career, and the conditions aren’t always delightful. You see, the process for dry cleaning clothes starts with a heat-generating machine called a boiler. And there’s not an air conditioner in the house. It makes you sweat just thinking about it.
It’s hot enough to peel house paint in Arkansas this week. Today’s forecast is for a high of 104° and I suppose we’ll break out the sweatshirts when it cools down to 99° on Monday.
Take triple-digit heat, no AC and boilers, and the dry-cleaning business becomes a sweatshop. And did I mention the shop’s internal temperature typically runs 25° to 30° higher than the outside temp? Conservatively, that means the temperature in Sara’s business yesterday ran at right about 128°.
And so the customer commentaries at Sara’s shop this week haven’t been exactly original.
“Good grief, it’s hot in here,” they’ll say one after another.
“Really?” Sara thought to herself after so many days. “I didn’t know that.”
Enough was enough.
She took the initiative, and prominently displayed the sign you see here in this post. It’s hilariously brilliant.
“So what do you say to the customers who come in and remark about how hot it is in here?” I asked Sara during a quick interview.
“Well I’d like to tell them if they really want to know how hot it is they ought to take a look at the sweat running down the crack of my a**,” she said.
I do believe I touched a nerve with that question.
For related commentary on this post, check out one of my additional blogsites at: http://wp.me/p2wzTk-S
(Blogger‘s Note: Capturing this great story would not have been possible without the storytelling of my work colleague, Jim Jackson. He returned to work after a lunch errand yesterday and told the story about the sign. He was laughing so hard I couldn’t resist running out to take a few photos, doing a quick interview and putting this on the blog.)