I bought my heavy winter coat at a 'pay by the pound' thrift store in 2020 just before Covid shut everything down. I can't remember exactly how much it cost, but it was well under $10.
I try hard not to buy anything that needs to be cleaned. When I got it home I realized that the care label said Dry Clean Only, but since I didn't pay a lot I just consider the yearly cleaning to be part of its cost.
A couple of decades ago I got so busy when the weather heated up that I forgot to clean our winter outwear, and when the first cold weather showed up in the fall we had to put on the dirty stuff or freeze. Since that time I've made a point to get everything washed and ready as soon as there isn't a need for it anymore, so earlier in the week I dropped the coat off at a branch of a large local dry cleaner chain. They do a good job, and I can always find a coupon to bring the price down a bit.
However, for this coat it's a crap shoot just how much the cost will be. Some years they consider it a plain garment. Some years they say because of the fake fur they have to price it as a premium garment (which costs four times as much). Of course I would prefer to pay the cheaper rate and keep the rest of the money in my pocket, but since the coat only gets cleaned once a year I just grin and bear any additional cost.
This year I won the cheap cleaning price contest. I went up to the counter with my coat and the latest coupons. The clerk looked at the care label, which says nothing about special treatment, and handed me a scissors to cut out the $4.65 Plain Garment coupon. She wrote the price on the receipt and told me I could pick up the coat today.
When I picked it up the clerk who assisted me said that Drop Off Clerk had made a mistake. I should have been charged the non-coupon price plus two dollars. When I asked how much that would have been, she said $7.
I wonder which clerk was correct? And I wonder how much I should budget for next year?
Five years ago today: Behindhand