Part of my orientation program at Wash Cycle Laundry included folding.
Facility manager Tracey assigned me to fold once I got there, “Welcome! You can help Eric fold, but first: Do you know how to fold?”
In my head, I responded, “Duh, of course! I mean, I am an independent young woman in college.”
I was then stunned by the skills that Tracey, Kenny, Patricia and Eric have, and the love they put into each piece. Basically, you could say that I do not know how to fold.
Not all clothes are created equal.Each item has its own shape and fabric, and sorry to say, but they cannot be treated equal even if we want to. For example, there are special folding tricks to fold a dress shirt. Did you know that you need to button the shirt all the way up to prevent wrinkles?
The efficiency. I would conservatively estimate that for every shirt I folded, Eric probably had folded two. Matching socks was difficult -- no surprise there. The challenge was even bigger when there were at least a good ten pairs of socks, intertwined with numerous shirts, pants, towels and sheets. “Practice makes perfect” shows its value here. Eric gave me some tips, so I too got a lot faster and shirts still came out in good shapes. :D
Bagging. Ah, the tricky part that I never truly learned as a “smart college student”. Maybe I just lack the natural talent of understanding spatial relations so when I did it, it just did not look good. My reaction to my failure was, “How are clothes going to look good in this potato bag?!” When Eric did it, the bags looked like a perfect rectangular cube. “Start with the heavy item. Put piles that are similar shapes next to each other so that they would line up to be a rectangle.”
The proudest moment of my day. I learned how to fold a fitted sheet!!! (Music playing. Champagne opening.) Now instead of wrapping my fitted sheet into a burrito, I can actually fold it into a nice rectangle that takes a lot less space, and it looks PRETTY.
The love <3. Needless to say, folding requires love. In the end of the day, it is a service about human connections. When someone receives the bag of beautifully folded laundry, he/she is thrilled to just put away the laundry, feeling happy. It is a process about love, and I can say that everyone on 16th street that day showed me what it means to take care of clothing items and give them the right attention.
I learned some of the values of Wash Cycle Laundry: the emphasis on each sector of the company’s operation, the attention to details that makes our service great, every staff member matters. Washing and folding laundry plays an equally important role in the development of Wash Cycle Laundry, if not the most important part of our business. Inspired, I started to go on“field-trips” to facilities around Philadelphia as part of my journey with Wash Cycle Laundry.
Yue Xiang is a rising junior at Haverford College, a liberal arts college located in suburban Philadelphia. She currently works as a Marketing Intern at Wash Cycle Laundry this summer, where she has been going on "field-trips" to laundry facilites to learn about the staff members and our operational process. She will be writing more about what she learns and people at Wash Cycle Laundry.