I hate doing laundry. Which is perhaps why I don’t do it. In the past 20 years I have done perhaps three loads of laundry, two of which were emergencies thanks to some dog issue I’m sure. College was the last time I did my own laundry regularly, by which I mean I reached the point of inability to hide it in the closet, and there was no more room for just buying new socks, underwear and the occasional graphic t-shirt. Perhaps that was part of the problem, the task became so overwhelming that it was simply easier to just go shopping than to spend a half a day in a laundromat.
The outsourcing of my laundry has been handled over the years by both housekeepers and by fluff and fold at the local laundry. I find it oddly satisfying to simply drop off a bag of stinky gym clothes and come back the next day to a neatly piled stack of sweet smelling socks and t-shirts.
For years I used Birdies on Pico and Lincoln. I became friends with the staff there. I’d practice my Spanish with Ramon, and learn about life as a young black man trying to survive in this town from Jay. But alas, Birdies has gone the way of the Dodo, mostly thanks to the high cost of water I imagine and the required cutbacks thanks to the drought.
It was odd to see it go, as historically Laundromats are one of the safest and best investments one can make. It’s an all cash business, people need to come in regularly, there’s lots of disposables for sale like soap, softeners and properly managed it’s a fairly simple business to set up and run.
When Birdies closed I had to find a new fluff and fold, so I tried one in town, and in a Goldilocks moment, they used too much soap and it was too perfumey for my sensitivies. Then I found Clean People’s Coinless laundry. They’re actually the ones who explained to me that Birdies probably went out of business due to the drought restrictions.
I’ve been using Clean People’s for about four months now and I’m happy to share their excellent services. At $1.25 a pound for the fluff and fold, it works out to about the same amount of money that I would have to spend if I did it myself, but I get my clothes back all neatly folded, far neater than I would or could ever do. Plus I don’t have to wait around for a spin cycle, or a slow dryer.
As I was picking up my laundry yesterday I noticed that they have a couple dozen laundry bags with the JibJab.com logo on them, and individuals names. I was very intrigued, and it turns out that Clean People’s actually has several client companies that have arranged for pickup and delivery of their employees laundry. I reached out to JibJab to find out if they are picking up the tab, and I received a response from Alessandra Souers that it is in fact one of the benefits of working at JibJab. (I wonder if they need columnist…) What a great time saver and awesome employee benefit – kudos to them for thinking of their employees in this unique and useful way.
In the crazy days of the dot com boom, there were many benefits being offered to employees to either steal them away from competitors or to keep them happy. When I was working at GeoCities we had lots of food, fun, beer thrown at us. The idea of keeping the staff happy and well fed is an old one, and a good one, and if adding a concierge service like laundry makes an employee happier, and more likely to stay put, then I can see Clean People’s being able to pick up a few additional corporate clients in this town. As we continue to become more of a tech based, youth based economy, the service providers like Clean People’s can expect to see continued growth.
For my part, I like that we have companies that are thinking about what will make an employee’s life more comfortable. Because those services will filter through society, and make my life easier if I can take advantage of them, like having Clean People come to my office to pick up and drop off my laundry.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra