“the view from your recession”

June 14, 2010

This from the great Andrew Sullivan.

This sign in this dry-cleaners shop in Oregon just works in so many ways. First of all, it’s generous and human of them. In fact, it’s kind. It shows solidarity. I’ve seen nothing like it in London.

Second, it’s great PR for the shop, because how much money do they stand to lose doing this? Not much. And what you make up in good will, making people happy and just being quite impressive is incalculable. If I passed them by chance in my neighbourhood, and if I wasn’t unemployed and had money for dry-cleaning, I might start going there.

And thirdly, I just think it shows a lot of insight. It shows that when you’re without work you are up against it in a hundred little ways you yourself wouldn’t even think of when times are ‘normal’. I’ve had interviews in the past few months in peak hours; it never occurs to most recruiters that the time of day might have a cost impact. I’ve had interviews scheduled so inconveniently (but presumably conveniently for the interviewer! And one just says yes, yes, because one is after all a professional) that they involve not only peak fares but also the need for something to eat. It can easily cost £15 to go into town for an interview. Scary stuff when you have no money coming in.

And that’s after you’ve navigated the what-to-wear thing, always more difficult if you aren’t doing it all the time. You’re hardly going to pay to get your best stuff cleaned if you’re already struggling to manage the fare, the time-filling coffee or whatever, and your plummeting low blood sugar when you come out. (Also, think about this: you lose your job in, say, February. Next thing you know, you’re going to interviews in April. Then June. The season has changed and what have you got?) These dry cleaners in Oregon are clearly superior people. And now all their customers, and all their passing potential customers, know it.

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