Letter: Commercial businesses taking over Laundromats after Sandy

Hoboken411 reader John noticed an interesting trend after our epic late October cyclone. That laundromats all over the effected area are being hijacked by commercial businesses (like area dry cleaners that offer wash & fold).

Is this just capitalism at work (i.e., the strongest, quickest survive) or do you think there is something unfair about it?

“Our home was flooded due to Hurricane Sandy which resulted in the loss of our appliances. We have been traveling to laundromats to wash clothes. However the laundromats are so full we are unable to get our clothes washed.

Why? Hoboken’s commercial cleaners and laundry services are going to retail laundromats with hundreds of bags of laundry for their clients and taking all the machines.

Is this fair? That a paying customer should be penalized for a person overwhelming resources for profit? Essentially they are trying to force storm victims to do business with them to get a basic life need.

Basically it is tantamount to a post Storm price fixing scam. If you want to have clean clothes you need to pay the higher price at the dry cleaners and they take it or else you’re stuck.

The owners of the laundry said “hey they come here and pay just like you, wether they are making profit or not. We can’t tell them not to come in.” I replied “I can not come back in as a customer” to which the reply was “that’s fine”. Because they know they have people captive from the storm.

Namely Shipyard cleaners and Bubbles 3 laundromat in JC Heights.”

John added that even though he saw one particular bag in the pile, he suspects it’s probably most cleaners in Hoboken.

Is this just an innocent laundry crisis that’s to be expected after a big storm? Should John be expected to pay extra because he’s blocked out? How would you handle it if you were in the same position? Or a laundromat owner? Is “first come first serve” sufficient?