dry cleaners in Boston

Maybe dry cleaners are this way all over the world, but did you know that it’s almost impossible to find out dry cleaning prices in the Boston area online? I mean … hello!?!?

Now I feel like it’s my mission to seek out all of the local cleaners and post their prices for the poor victim consumers who just want a freshly pressed skirt or whatever. I mean, they’ve got you, right, all the way there with your hands full of stuff to be cleaned. Are you actually going to leave and find another place if you find out once you get to the desk that they charge too much? How much is too much? The only way you’d know is to call all those cleaners up or drive around town and stop in at them.

So I did that. Well, not exactly all the local cleaners, but a couple at least. The funniest was Anton’s.

Anton’s is a chain that had some good reviews online – it came up in a “Best Boston dry cleaners” google search. People commented on clean items (I hope so!) but not so much on prices. Anyway, there was one pretty convenient to me, so I stopped in, my arms laden with shirts, sweaters, and even a down comforter.

When I plopped my stuff on the counter, the older teenager behind the desk looked over from where he stood chatting on his cell. A shorter pre-teen stepped up to do the work.

I look up above his head, hoping to see a menu like in Burger King. Shirts $1.00, Sweaters $3.00. Combo meal (shirt, sweater, pants) for $5.00.

OK, I’m allowed to hope, right?

“Do you have a price list?”

Pre-teen looks around nervously, not prepared for such an odd question. “Price list? No, we … hey, do we have a price list?” He turns to teen-on-cell.

“No.”

“OK, how much is it for a shirt?” I motion to the pile on the counter.

“They’re $2.20 each.”

“Really?” Sounds like a lot to me. “Can you just get them pressed, not cleaned? How much is that?”

Teen-on-cell and pre-teen look at each other. “No, I don’t think … no.”

No I need to dig deeper. “OK, so how much is a sweater?”

Teen-on-cell closes his phone. “Listen,” he says, “it’s really expensive. It’s like $6.50 a sweater. I wouldn’t bring my stuff here. You should go to, like, some small place.”

Are you for real? I ask myself, as I watch pre-teen nodding, confirming everything teen-on-cell said.

“OK.” I am unsure what else to say. “Thanks,” I tack on, as I pile everything back up and lug it back to my car. Wow, who knew?

On to the next joint! I had also read about a mom-and-pop place nearby that people seemed to like. Comments mentioned the friendly couple who owns and runs the place, and talked about how clean everything came back, and how reasonable the prices were. Ding, ding, ding!

The wife was there when I entered, and wow, the comments were right on. Super-friendly, and she helped me work through what would be the best way to treat some of the stranger pieces I had. Like pressing and not cleaning a silk shirt, and washing instead of dry cleaning a pretty dirty comforter. They were also much cheaper than Anton’s, that’s for sure. $1.40 for each shirt, and $3.95 for sweaters or pants. $20 for the down comforter – not bad. I’m picking stuff up later this week, so we’ll see how clean it all turns out! But so far it seems like the right choice.

I guess dry cleaning is usually one of those things that – once you decide to do it – it doesn’t really matter how much it costs. Would you drive across town to get something done for $4 instead of $6? Maybe not, if the expensive place is around the corner, and you only bring in one or two things at a time. And since none of them post their prices anywhere, how would you even know that it’s cheaper somewhere else? Riiiight …

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