Higher Than Usual Dry Cleaning Bill? Blame Those Wire Hangers

First of all, let’s all agree that it’s impossible to read/write the phrase “wire hangers” without thinking of Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest shrieking, “NO WIRE HANGERS!” It’s those same despised devices that could cause your dry cleaning bill to go up, however, as they’re becoming more expensive. That’s enough to make anyone start shrieking.

According to CNNMoney, wire hangers are a big expense for dry cleaners and will be even more of a financial burden after the U.S. imposed new trade penalties on hangers from Vietnam last week.

The U.S. claimed that Vietnam’s government was unfairly subsidizing wire hanger exports, and announced it will impose a trade penalty of as high as 21% on the hangers.

Many dry cleaners are reliant on hangers made in Vietnam –Â the U.S. imported $31 million of Vietnamese hangers in 2011, up from $19.5 million in 2009, says the Department of Commerce. Part of the reason Vietnamese hangers are so popular are the punitive tariffs that were levied against Chinese hangers in 2008.

If dry cleaners have to pay more for those Vietnamese hangers, no doubt many will be forced to pass those costs on to customers. One business operator says she’ll have to add on about $0.30 to $0.55 to each cleaning bill to cover the expense.

Your dry cleaning bill’s about to get worse [CNNMoney]

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  1. axhandler1 says:

    I went to the dry cleaner last week to bring in a suit. I had it on a hanger and tried to give it to the woman, but she said they do not accept outside hangers and gave it back to me. Wouldn’t accepting hangers from customers help cut their costs? Or is the type of system dry cleaners use require a specific type of hanger? I’m not very familiar with them.

    • That guy. says:

      Was it the same type of hanger that they would give you? Or one of your own, a different style?

      If it was different, maybe it would throw off their system (somehow). I was just thinking (posted below) that I should bring back all the wire hangers I’ve accumulated, but perhaps they won’t want them back for sanitary reasons.

      Then what do I do with them? I don’t have a metal recycling bin.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Yes you do. Do you think all your cans are aluminum? Nope. Some are ferrous metals, like you hangers.

        • That guy. says:

          Ah, so that’s not specific for metal that contained beverages?

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            You can also put cans food came in. Many of those, like for acidic things(pineapples and tomatoes) are not aluminum.

      • axhandler1 says:

        Yeah, in this case, the hanger came with the suit, so it was not one of the standard wire ones. I got the feeling they wouldn’t accept those either though.

    • j2.718ff says:

      I wonder what they’ve had said if you brought a wire hanger that was given to you previously by the same dry cleaner, from an earlier job.

      • who? says:

        The last time I was getting things dry cleaned regularly (it’s been years), they would give me credit for bringing their hangars back to be reused. They wouldn’t let me bring in any random hangar, however.

    • Reno Raines says:

      Why would you trust the dry cleaner with the nice heavy wooden hanger that comes with and is made for a suit? I’m sure they don’t take it so that there is no complaining later when your suit comes back with a different hanger.

      There is no upside for the cleaner to accept your suit on your hanger.

  2. That guy. says:

    Wow…I’ve accumulated so many that I’ve started just throwing them away. I should just be eco-friendly and bring them back to my dry cleaner.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      I know several dry cleaners who are almost begging people to do just that. They welcome such a donation.

    • Kitteridge says:

      That’s what I do; once they pile up I bring them in with my next order. I imagine some stores could get all the hangers they want if they offered a small percentage discount if you bring in at least 5 hangers with your next order. Just a thought.

  3. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    OK, I have no comment, but had to post SOMETHING because of the Mommie Dearest photo.

  4. DevsAdvocate says:

    As usual, Uncle Sam is fucking things up for businesses in the USA. “Economy in the shitter? Unemployment too high? Let’s just make it harder for everyone to meet their bottom-line!”

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Free trade agreements are a huge part of why the economy is in the crapper.

    • astroworf says:

      Or maybe more hangers made in the United States will be purchased, creating more jobs here.

      • DevsAdvocate says:

        While also hurting those who want to get dry-cleaning done cheaper. Meaning less dry-cleaning, meaning less dry cleaners. You’re trading small business performance for the possibility of increasing menial production jobs elsewhere.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      But imposing an import tax, they are actually helping domestic businesses.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        Yes, they are helping domestic businesses, and yes, they
        are helping businesses again at the expense of consumers.

    • wagnerism says:

      Is there a single wire hanger factory left in the United States? How are they still in business? the cheap prices from overseas probably closed them down long ago.

      Does it take tariffs and trade penalties increasing the cost of imports to make domestic production feasible?

      • damicatz says:

        Mercantilism does not work.

        Manufacturing jobs will NOT be coming back to the United States until the corporations and unions are reigned in and returned to a level playing field (e.g no state coercion to negotiate, no corporate or union welfare, no crony capitalism).

        Even if wire hangers were made in the US again, they would be ridiculously expensive unless you could find someone to just use robots to make them.

        “Free trade agreements” are anything but. They are nothing but mercantilism in disguise created by crony capitalists (e.g the two Bushs) who used the power of the state to enrich their own pockets at the expense of others.

  5. cybrczch says:
  6. SkokieGuy says:

    My dry cleaner will “accept” hangers and pitches it as eco-friendly recycling, but provides no financial incentive.

    Give me some sort of token, a coupon, a discount, something.

    Sort of like the self-check out, if I help to reduce your costs, share the savings.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I agree it would help…but the biggest incentive is to GET RID OF ALL THE DAMN HANGERS IN MY HOUSE.

    • Mrs. w/1 child says:

      I agree! I refuse to use self check out unless I get a discount (so far no store has offered). What’s next? Do I have to empty one box of stock and face the product on the shelf before I can buy any items?

  7. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    If your in a career that requires dry cleaning, i’m guessing the .30 to .55 cent increase would be barely noticed. However, that along with the fact that EVERYTHING else you purchased today also went up, that hurts..

  8. Martha Gail says:

    My dry cleaner has paper on their wire hangers with their logo. Maybe they could give a price break or coupons for people who bring them back. That way they save money on hangers, the paper keeps them sanitary and the customer doesn’t feel ripped off.

    • wagnerism says:

      Paper probably makes them less sanitary. I don’t know what can live on only wire hangers, but it probably would not survive a boiling – if they bother to do that much.

      • Martha Gail says:

        Er…they would take the paper off and put a new one on for the next customer. Paper has to be cheaper than metal.

  9. adlauren says:

    My dry cleaner throws around hangers like some kind of Vietnamese Daddy Warbucks. I mean I appreciate that they remove the sashes from my dresses and press them but I feel like each one doesn’t need its own separate hanger.

  10. 4Real says:

    Im a costume manager for a Theater and our Dry Cleaners rip us off all the time. none of the prices are the same and we have to throw out the hangers we collect.

  11. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    All my dress shirts and slacks are wrinkle-free; I wear ‘em right out of the dryer. And ties? When do they ever need to be dry cleaned? Here’s a hint: never. Run an iron over them once in a blue moon and you’re good to go.

    Dealing with the hassle and expense of dry cleaners is one reason I won’t buy anything that requires dry cleaning.

  12. ScandalMgr says:

    In related news: Today, the Amercian Plastics Council announced success of its lobbying arm to impose a tariff on all non-plastic imports, including wire hangers from Viet Nam.

    The stock of Dow, Monsanto and others nudged between 0.2% and 0.6% and stockholders were thrilled, but the Amercian Landfill and Recycling lobby warned the price to dispose of plastic would go up accordingly.

    • Peter V says:

      I think we can all blame Romney for the Amercian Plastics Council. What’s next The Magnited States of Amercian will be a place where yer-you are FREE to TEXT in a THE-A-TER!
      Well Thanks A Lot Romney!

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    The quote is: “NO…WIRE…HANGERS…EVAAAAH!!!”

    I got rid of all my wire hangers. Those things tangle up so bad it’s not even funny. I got all plastic hangers. If I could afford it, I’d buy the ones with the no-slip fuzz on them, because the plastic ones don’t hold anything with wide shoulders, and they’re too fat for clothespins. I should have saved one or two for skating dresses.

  14. eezy-peezy says:

    As an aside, I could never understand that part of “Mommie Dearest”. If mom did not want wire hangers used, why were they in the house? It’s not like the 8 year old kid was going out and buying them and sneaking them in to her room.
    When I was a kid I used what hangers were provided for me.

    • aloria says:

      She had expensive dresses that were obstensibly dry cleaned. She failed to transfer the dress to a non-wire hanger when it came back from the cleaners.

  15. aloria says:

    DON’T FUCK WITH ME, FELLAS! …this ain’t my first time at the rodeo.

  16. Coelacanth says:

    Am I the only person to believe that if Vienamese hangers are the only ones that are facing tarriffs, and US businesses only purchased $31 million – why the heck would this even be a significant issue?

    It’s just another reason to pass an absurdly small cost-of-doing increase to justify a meaningful increase in costs to consumers.

    $0.30 to $0.35 per article?! Please.

    • who? says:

      Agreed. It’s a bunch of FUD. In the article, the guy who sells hangars in bulk is charging 5 cents per hangar. A 21% tariff would raise the cost of hangars to 6 cents. So hangar guy is going to raise his price to 9 cents, and the retail price at the dry cleaners is going to jump by 30-55 cents? Somehow I think they’re blaming the tariff for a lot of other problems that are completely unrelated to the evil tariff.

  17. elangomatt says:

    Maybe dry cleaners should start giving a 30 to 55 cent discount or something if you bring hangers back in when you drop off your clothes. Kind of like the discount some grocery stores are giving if you bring your own re-usable bags in. The hangers would have to be similar to what the cleaner uses, but that shouldn’t be a problem if the customer is a regular that usually uses the same exact shop. It would be environmentally friendlier since it appears lots of people just pitch the hangers, and the shop wouldn’t have higher costs due to the cost of new hangers.

  18. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Actually its: no more wire hangers