Monday, October 8, 2007
Help Me Howard: Lynn's Veil
A Help me Howard that hits close to home. A priceless family heirloom lost in the wash at a South Florida dry cleaners. It happened to a lady you may have seen on Seven News, one Lynn Martinez, so who did she turn to for help? You got it, Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- You might know Lynn Martinez the newscaster, or maybe you have heard of Lynn Martinez that occasionally sarcastic girl from Deco Drive. But to Elle and Nicholas, she is just plain old Mom.
Lynn Martinez: "Being a mom is more fun. Sure, it's harder, less appreciated but more fun."
We went to Lynn's house to talk about a little problem that affected her and her daughter.
Lynn Martinez: "She has a mind of her own, I guess she's like me, and so we compromise."
By the way, the trouble also affects Lynn's mother who fortunately lives in the Midwest and doesn't know about it yet.
Lynn Martinez: "She's going to kill me!"
Kill her over the wedding veil her mother wore 45 years ago.
Lynn Martinez: "We're kind of a traditional family, very sentimental."
And Lynn thought her mother's wedding veil would be a great way for her daughter to carry out a family tradition.
Lynn Martinez: "I said, 'You know, mom, we really ought to preserve this wedding veil. Maybe Elle would like to wear it when she gets married,' and she said, 'Oh, yeah, go get it cleaned or whatever you want to do.'"
Elle never saw it. It was supposed to be a surprise.
And now she may not see it at all, after Lynn took it to the dry cleaners.
Lynn Martinez: "I said, 'I just want to have this cleaned and put in a black box and preserved.'"
You see where this is going? Let's let the mother and daughter tell you in their own way.
Lynn Martinez: "And we can't find the veil."
Elle Martinez: "They lost it."
Lost it ten months ago. The cleaners looked and looked.
Lynn Martinez: "They were really, really sorry, and they worked really hard looking for it, but she can't find it."
Lynn Martinez: "It was sentimental. It meant something to me and our family."
Lynn Martinez: "Money can't replace it. I don't want another wedding veil. It's not the same."
Now it's clear. Her mother's 45-year-old wedding veil is gone.
Lynn Martinez: "Do we not take things to the dry cleaners? Do we not trust that they will give it back to us?"
Elle walked away, so, Howard, walk in and give us an answer. Legally, what is a dry cleaner responsible for when a family heirloom is lost?
Howard Finkelstein: "Sadly, the law only requires a business to give you the replacement value of the veil. Of course, Lynn and any daughter would not be interested in the money. They would want the veil back. The law is of no help here."
When we talked to La Salle Cleaners they were refreshingly honest and blunt.
They told us the veil was taken in by the previous owners, that they had turned the place upside down.
That if there was anything they could do remake the veil, buy a new one, they would, but they understood this had sentimental value.
They hope, now, it went to another customer who doesn't realize they have Lynn's veil.
Bottom line, protecting your things at the cleaner takes a little planning.
Howard Finkelstein: "If it's expensive, insure it or make sure they insure it. If it's got sentimental value, consider waiting while they take care of it. Finally, remember we all take risks, and, in life, we all make mistakes, and that's what this was."
Maybe someone who had clothes cleaned at La Salle Cleaners in Coral Gables in the last year can check and see if the veil was accidentally placed with their clothes or packed away with their sentimental items.
So Elle will have the real veil and not have to play pretend with Lynn.
That's why Lynn comes to work. It's much calmer here ... yeah, right. Maybe at 3 a.m. on Sunday.
And, by the way, if a dry cleaner damages or loses your run-of-the-mill clothes, they don't have to buy you new ones, unless they were new. If it's old clothes, you won't get much.
Taken to the cleaners and hung out to dry? Need to find a solution? We won't give you the clothes off our back because we aren't snazzy dressers, and you wouldn't want them.
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