power of a name

Warning: This story is about laundry. Sort of.

The first time I went to my laundromat was a Sunday, where I did my wash myself. It took roughly 25 minutes to figure out how many quarters I needed, and another 10 to lock the door properly. I ended up putting softener (not detergent) in the batch, and when I came back, the lady that worked there said she had put soap in for me, and sort of laughed.

Since then, I’ve dropped my clothes off. Sure, it costs some extra dollars, but one of the “luxuries” I provide myself is to not worry about doing laundry on the weekends, and just drop it off instead. I’ll take it.

So I started dropping my laundry off back in October, and every time the lady who works there fills out my slip, she says “Your name, again?” The “again” is nice, for it shows she remembers my face (I mean, I’m the girl who put a cup of laundry softener in the machines without any soap and spent 10 minutes trying to bang the door closed), but she never remembered my name. After a few months, I wondered if she’d ever remember. But she didn’t.

So I tried something. A few weeks ago, when I dropped off my clothes, she filled out my slip and said, “your name, again?” This time, I said, “Laura. And your name?”

Stacey’s smile was enormous. I thanked Stacey by her first name again as I left, and was amazed at how a little thing made my, and maybe even her day.

And so yesterday morning, as I’m fumbling into the laundromat again with my half-broken bag of mostly sweaty running clothes and a dozen mis-matched socks, I plopped them on the scale and went over to Stacey.

She got out the slip: “Laura, right?”

My smile may have been bigger than Stacey’s the week prior. And I think it’s safe to say were pals, now. 

Next up? The man who sells me copious amounts of seltzer and ginger-ale. I bet he has a name. 

About Laura

marketing director at Possible. formerly at Greatist. Still running, finding zen, and searching for the perfect bloody mary.

Posted on March 30, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. One of my goals in NYC is to walk into a bar and they bartender will know my name (like on Cheers or Friends)! I feel like you have “made it” as a New Yorker now. LOVE THIS STORY.

  2. jocelyn–me and you…we’re going to start going to a bar once a week (pref w/ a cute bartender) and we’ll keep going till they have our names down.

  3. This made me tear up a little (I know, it doesn’t take much….but this is what it’s all about). Great story! xoxo

  4. heh, figured it would 😉

  5. Kathleen Kiernan

    Oh for the days of wheeling my dull aluminum shopping cart to the laundromat to have it done! Laura, your story made me smile for more than a few reasons. The “nameless” people who make up the reliable routines of life are many times the inspiration we need to stick to the humdrum while we are waiting for the huzzah, huzzah! This is inspired writing, dear one . . . luv a.k.

  6. thank you 🙂 xxo x

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