Monday, July 16, 2007

1.35 - Elf Service Laundry

MONKEY ISLAND, AUGUST, 2002 - Specialty shops abound here on the island. When catering to the tourist dollar, it's wise to have plenty of variety. There are Italian restaurants, English pubs, Irish bars, and roadside diners. There are Kebob take-out stands, dirty-water dog carts, pitarias, and sno-cone stands. We've got the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, as well as more T-shirt shops than Key West. And as required by law there two Starbucks located on every other block, each on opposite sides of the street.

And those are only at the ferry landing.

Then there are the laundries. You see, our unusual laws prohibit residents from placing washing machines in their homes. The reasons are arcane, and lost to history, and most people feel it's better that they take their apparel out to be cleaned. But that need for variety remains, so mere Laundromats don't suffice; Monkey Islanders want choice.

So there are hand laundries and dry cleaners, and regular laundermats for the obsessive-compulsives who can't have anybody touching their clothes, and even a 'green' dry cleaner, who doesn't use the usual chemicals.

But if islanders are particular about how their clothes are cleaned, they're even more particular as to who does the cleaning. There are Chinese hand laundries and French dry cleaners, all-American coin-op laundermats, and drop-off laundromats. (The difference in spelling is the result of another arcane law here. If you want to wash your own clothes you go to a laundermat; if you want someone else to clean them you drop them at a laundromat.)

But the ultimate specialty service has to be the business pictured above. This is where Monkey Islanders of smaller stature bring their clothes to be cleaned by even smaller people. Obviously of limited appeal, it's the only one of its kind here.

Truly a market with no potential for growth.

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