Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ironing board covers

I have what could be described as an “irreverent” sense of humor. I find things that make me laugh in the oddest places, almost everyday. From my perspective, as a quilt shop owner, nothing I do is really a matter of life and death, so I might as well learn to laugh – or at least smile - about life’s oddities. On the other hand, I do strive for perfection in my work and I spend a good amount of my time writing instructions and fretting over the wording and how you will interpret what I have written.

Recently I was shopping for new covers for the ironing boards we use at the store. These poor boards are used daily, the covers get scorched, things are mistakenly fused to them, the irons leak on them, this probably borders on ironing board abuse. I replace the covers every 4 to 6 months.

Flipping through the selection at our local Wal-Mart, looking for the least offensive floral print, I noticed that the covers were now available in a graduated scale of “light” to “heavy” use. Hmmm, they all appeared to be 100% cotton and made from the same poorly woven goods; I couldn’t help but wonder what the difference was.

According to the ironing cover experts that are employed by Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, “Light Use” is intended for people that do “occasional ironing”. I am pretty sure this reference is directed toward my youngest daughter. She believes that little gremlins live in our dryer and it is their job to make sure she is wrinkle free. If her things come out of the dryer wrinkled, she simply turns it on again in hopes that the gremlins will hop to and do their job. If they don’t, there is a very good chance she will leave the house wrinkled. I hate to burst Wal-Mart’s bubble, but that same daughter’s method of “light” ironing involves running her curling iron over her shirt while she holds it away from her body. No special covers are required.

Obviously for the shop ironing surface that is going to be slaving under a steam iron for possibly several hours each day, I had to kick it up a notch. I went directly to the top of the line “Heavy Use” selection. Much to my surprise, the package read, and I quote: “Heavy Use, For those who iron twice a week.” TWICE A WEEK? I immediately scanned the entire 8 foot section of ironing board covers for a peg hook marked “Industrial Strength”. No luck, “Heavy Use” is premo, top-of-the-line, as good as it gets, in the ironing board cover world, according to the buying experts in Arkansas.

This presents quite a dilemma, considering that I iron something almost everyday. 95% of my ironing is squares and triangles, not dress shirts or pants, but I think it still qualifies as “ironing”. Ill bet I plug my iron in 300 out of 365 days a year. According to Wal-Mart I could be considered an off the charts ironing geek, although I would prefer the title “Pressing Professional”. Gee, I hope overuse doesn’t void the Guarantee on my new “Heavy Use” covers. I read that part of the package too. It clearly states, and I quote:

“7 Year Fit Guarantee: This cover and pad is unconditionally guaranteed against any defect in fit for seven years from the date of purchase. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with the fit within five years of purchase, simply return the cover and pad to …….”

Don’t you love that the guarantee covers “fit” and not “function”. They graciously offer a SEVEN year guarantee, but you have to return it within FIVE years if you are unhappy with the product. I can’t help but wonder what happens if you are “not completely satisfied with the fit” in year 6? Why so many years? Wouldn’t you notice that your cover didn’t fit the moment you put it on? It’s not like your ironing board puts on weight as it gets older. What would make it shrink? Laundry? If you are one of those people that actually launders your ironing board cover instead of just buying a new one, I think that there is a good chance that you wouldn’t wait 7 years to do it!

My calculations say that these new covers are intended to last through a total of 208 days of ironing which works out to about 7 months. Now I just have to figure out how many hours Wal-Mart calculates are in an “ironing day”. Just for fun I think Ill email them and ask. If they are going to write silly things on their packaging, they deserve to waste their time answering silly questions…….