(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The phenomenon of abandoned cars is a common one in Qatar, especially those left behind by people who have had to move out of the country on short notice. Now, some laundries in Doha and elsewhere are facing a similar problem - that of "abandoned" clothes.
Over the past few months, a number of customers have not returned to collect their clothes and the pay their dues, say laundry operators. As a result, the outlets are struggling to cope with financial losses even as cloth stocks pile up and occupy more and more space in the shops.
In some cases, customers have not come back to collect clothes that were given as long as six months ago for ironing, dry-cleaning and other purposes, sources have told Gulf Times. Queries have revealed that most of these customers have left the country for good, "abandoning" the clothes.
Corroborating this, a laundry operator who runs two shops said one of his outlets has "abandoned" clothes and blankets, leading to pending dues close to QR8,000. "My enquiries over the last two months have found that their owners and their families have already left Qatar owing to different reasons," he added.
Concerned over the trend, some laundry operators are now thinking of changing the way they do business. One of the options is to take cash advance from customers to prevent or minimise losses that may occur if they leave the country without collecting their clothes and paying the dues.
A laundry owner said he had never thought of taking cash advance until now but his "bitter experience" over the past few months has forced him to do so. Besides, he is finding it difficult to keep these clothes for long to owing to space shortage.
At least two other operators in the same area echoed similar views. One of them said his shop had stocks of such clothes, amounting to pending dues of around QR5,000.
While some operators do not keep old stocks in their shops after a certain period, others hold on to them for a while as there is always a possibility of customers returning and claiming their clothes, the sources point out.
It is a bigger problem for small neighbourhood laundries as their transactions generally do not include specific clauses on the period for which clothes will be kept. "Generally, it is not mentioned anywhere in writing that customers must collect their clothes within a particular period or will be charged for keeping them in the shop for a longer period. This applies particularly to smaller laundries, which run mostly on oral assurances and personal relations," said a laundry supervisor.