Consider for a moment, the shirt. Seemingly simple. Just a piece of clothing with buttons and thread. And yet an infinite number of problems can arise. One of the more popular questions has to do with dry cleaning. Specifically, why do women pay more to have a blouse dry cleaned than man do for dress shirts?
It is a question that folks have been pondering and getting angry about for years. Heck, Slate did an exposé on the injustice back in 1998. Since then, however, dry cleaners have spoken up. On a message board from Slate, two dry cleaners argue that the reason for the price difference is that the shirts are not often treated the same way. Women’s shirts (most of ‘em, anyway) are “dry cleaned.” Men’s shirts, on the other hand, are “laundered.”
Ah, but why? Again, according to the message board, women’s shirts have to be dry cleaned for two main reasons. One, they have “different blends of fabric.” And two, most blouses are too small to fit on the presses used for laundering shirts. A dry cleaner’s official site offers a FAQ on this very topic. Shirts that may be laundered (not dry cleaned) “are pressed using a machine and then touched up with an iron by hand.” Apparently small shirts will tear if they are machine pressed. Quoth Accent Cleaners: “Shirts and blouses are priced according to the amount of work it takes to finish an item.” It’s just that women’s shirts typically require more work.
What do you guys think about the great blouse vs. shirt debate? Have you encountered this problem at your local dry cleaner? Have you asked about their pricing policy? Please leave a comment, outraged or otherwise, below.
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