1) Wednesday evening I dropped off a sport coat and three shirts at the dry cleaners. I wanted to take the coat and two of the shirts with me on my trip to the Midwest, so I asked that they be ready on Thursday. No problem. Later that evening, I remembered that I also wanted to have my blue blazer cleaned, so on Thursday morning I dropped it off and asked that it be ready that evening.
After work on Thursday I went back to the dry cleaners, presented my claim tickets. The clerk brought forth the blue blazer, but told me that the other jacket and the shirts weren't ready. "Can you come back tomorrow morning?," she asked.
"Can you be here at 5 AM?," I replied. I explained that the reason I asked for them to be done on Thursday was because I had to be at the airport early Friday morning. She declined to open the shop at 5 AM, and suggested I return before closing that evening. No dice, I told her, I've got a meeting tonight and you'll be long closed by the time it ends.
I asked why the order wasn't done. She explained that the machine with which they clean shirts was busted. "So," I asked, "is the blazer clean?" It was not; since it was on the ticket with the three shirts, it hadn't been cleaned yet. "So instead of cleaning what you could clean," I said, gesturing at the clean blue blazer, "and thus having part of the order done on time, you decided that it was better to have none of it done." She explains again that the shirt machine was broken.
Resigned now, I told her I'd pick them up on Monday. "I assume I won't be charged for this," I said pointedly. She offered to charge me only for the jacket. I explained that had they cleaned it on time, I would have been happy to pay for the jacket, but since it wasn't ready when they had promised it would be, I wouldn't pay for it. There was much hemming and hawing, and finally they relented. Victory is mine.
2) This morning I dropped off a roll of film at the CVS near my office. The clerk told me it would be ready around noon. I suggest to her that she is interpreting the advertised one-hour processing service somewhat creatively. She says that there are already fiften rolls ahead of me in the queue for processing, and they can't do all of them in an hour. Sounds like a personal problem to me, but I let it go and head to the office.
Around two I walked back to the CVS to pick up my prints. Sorry, a different clerk tells me, they aren't ready. The machine broke down and the technician just finished fixing it. Why, I ask, do you have customers put their phone numbers on the processing envelope if you're not going to call the customer when their order is going to be delayed? He didn't know. Now they'll supposedly be done around 3:30. I'll stop by after work, but I won't be surprised it they aren't done even then.