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Laundry Casualty

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Laundry Casualty

I'm in the midst of dealing with a laundry casualty, but first I guess I should talk about how laundry is done around here.

We don't have our own washers and dryers, we have a "laundry service". This takes a little getting used to, and I was blessed to have a couple girlfriends over here who could explain how laundry works here. Nonetheless, I STILL didn't come completely prepared.

You drop off your laundry at a drop off point, not dissimilar to dropping off dry-cleaning. You fill out a form and the attendant counts out the items you have and itemizes them on a ticket. 72 hours later, you can pick up said laundry.

From 2009 01 10 Southwest Asia
From 2009 01 10 Southwest Asia

The already-folded non-uniform clothing, plus uniform socks, fitness gear and t-shirts comes back in a somewhat-vacuum-sealed bag, while uniforms come back on a hangar.

At first I thought, "This is great!" Those who know me know my disdain with laundry. For 90 days I'll have no worries -- clean clothes presented to me! WOW! And it's the Doha Marriott hotel doing my laundry...that's a good thing, right?

This laundry service is brutal on my clothes and I'm glad I didn't invest in much more than Target-caliber undies, sports bras and white socks for this trip. I'll show you why right here:
From 2009 01 10 Southwest Asia

See that stupid little sticker? It's a cloth sticker with a number inked onto it. The example you see is on one of my green uniform socks. The fabric on the sticker is similar to a what's on a cloth Band-Aid, except a little more stiffened. The number sticker is stuck to each article of clothing...somewhere.


Who knows...front, back, waistband, top, bottom, inside the article of clothing, outside the article...

So when I get each batch of clothing back, I go through and peel off the stickers. So I have to undo the folding that someone at the Marriott had already done -- just to peel off those stickers...if it's on the outside of a uniform item then it can't be there, and if it's on the inside of the article of clothing I end up annoyed by the little sticker. So I just peel them off...always taking a few sock, underwear, sports bra or t-shirt fibers with it.

In addition, the stickers leave (a) a sticky adhesive residue and (b) ink bleed-through. Since I didn't bring my best stuff, this isn't too horrible, unless it's bleeding through my already-thin AF fitness shirts. And I'm starting to get annoyed by that.

The clothing is boiled during its rinse cycle. So no colorfast or high-quality lingerie. That's fine, I don't have anything in either category here with me anyway.

Back to the original topic: yesterday I experienced my first laundry casualty -- at pick-up time, the attendant opens up the bag of folded laundry, counts out the items, then carefully puts it back. Yesterday a pair of my AF Fitness uniform shorts were missing. The attendant caught it right away (which is a good thing), marked up my receipt that we were short one pair of shorts and told me to come back in 48 hours. "Strays" go into some pile somewhere and I can check to see if the shorts come back as a stray. Otherwise, they will reimburse me.

And I sure hope it resolves soon. Like I said before, there's a 72 hour turnaround, and I figured a minimum of 6 of everything (i.e., white socks, sports bras and AF fitness uniforms) would suffice. It does, but barely. I have exactly 6 sets of AF fitness uniforms. So when I'm short a pair of fitness shorts, I'll run out before the next set of laundry is available unless I keep VERY clean (not likely here, I work out daily)...

Therefore, while I enjoy not having to run my clothes throught the washer and dryer, the laundry service here is so brutal on your clothing -- you can't expect better when they're processing THOUSANDS of servicemembers' laundry -- I probably won't be able to use much of this stuff when I get home. The elastic will be decomposed, and they'll be peppered with adhesive spots and ink stains.

Paul, if you're reading this: recommend 8 sets of PT gear!!

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At Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 7:23:00 AM CST , Blogger Paul said...

Eight sets of PT gear, got it. One or two pair of shoes? I was thinking a spare set of trainers wouldn't hurt.

I'll also leave my delicate lingerie at home and stick with Fruit of the Loom. So much for "dress up night" :(


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