Desperate Times

I’ve been heavily involved in dry cleaning since I was 19 years old, and just when I think I’ve seen it all, it turns out I haven’t. This popped up on one of my social media feeds…..

I don’t know about you, but, the post absolutely disgusted me. How low can some business owners in this business go?

Previously I wrote about a drycleaner who called me asking what could he do to save his business after he lost his house and moved his family into the back of the plant. At the time, I thought that was pretty low, but apparently it wasn’t low enough. Now, during these desperate times, it appears one owner took the time to consider digitally begging for money to keep his business going. Worse yet, others apparently have set out their digital donations cup to raise desperately needed capital to keep their doors open.


I’m seething inside.

Look, I’ll admit, never did I expect that entire economies would be shut down in response to a global pandemic. I recall having deep conversations with my great grandfather learning about how the family came to Canada with little more the clothes on their backs and a burning desire to live a simple life. My Great Grandfather saw the settling and farming the prairies, rise and fall of communism, the Spanish Flu at the end of WW1, the wiping out of investments with the stock market crash, and then another devastating world war just as he was getting back on his feet. Adversity after adversity, and he didn’t even have a ‘stick built’ (wood frame) house until he retired, he and Great Grandma lived in a sod house with a dirt floor. Their whole lives had been a struggle against the natural elements, defying Mother Nature, crushing international politics, global wars, disrupted or destroyed economies, and through it all he either created and built what he needed, or he went without. Charity was often given, but never received.

Yeah, I get it. I understand how difficult it is to face the absolute disruption of your business and livelihood. But, you knew the risks the day you signed for your bank loan and signed the lease renting space. We all know that there is the ultimate risk of losing everything, there is no guarantee of success. But, considering actively begging complete strangers to drop a few dollars into a GoFundMe page?


A couple thousand dollars are not likely to save your business. But I know what will.

Rolling up your sleeves and getting on the spotting board, working the front counter, jumping on the shirt unit and processing a few hundred shirts, or knocking out a few hundred pair of pants on the legger will do more for you than spending a couple hours setting up your GoFundMe pitch. If clothes are not coming in, maybe spend a few hours a day knocking on doors and handing our your business card asking for work. Frankly, I’d rather see a cleaner begging for a few pairs of sweat pants and dirty underwear to wash and clean than begging for money because at least cleaning a few skid marks is honest work and EARNING the money.

Rather than spending hours crafting the perfect pitch to beg a few dollars, why not spend that time writing a sales pitch for going door to door looking for clothes to clean? Yeah, it’s old school, and it’s a lot of rejection, but its honest work and you are learning or refining skills that will serve you for the rest of your lives.

It’s not easy trying to scratch work out of an economy where demand has fallen off a cliff, but, if you wanted a life free of adversity, why didn’t you take a job? True entrepreneurs don’t choose the easy path, real business people find, invent, and create markets DESPITE the odds stacked against them. Well, at least the types of people I choose to associate and gather around be. I’m really not a fan of beggars, and prefer not to associate with such. Yes, I will pass by anyone on the street I see that looks like this……

Our industry is better than this.

About Darcy Moen

Darcy Moen opened his first drycleaning shop at the age nineteen. Over the next sixteen years, he built his first 600 square foot plant into a chain of 5 stores, creating and testing his own marketing programs along the way. Darcy is a multi-media marketer, working in digital signage, video, print, direct mail, web, email and is a social media expert certified by Facebook for Pages, Insights, and Ad systems. Please visit

Leave a Reply