Sleeping on Wrinkle Free Sheets

Excerpts from Online Shopper
The New York Times
Published: March 22, 2007

“To get to the bottom of the mystery of wrinkle-free fabric that stays wrinkle-free, I phoned Cotton Inc., a trade organization, which researches fiber as part of promoting the interests of cotton growers.

Wrinkle Free Sheets - 100% Cotton - 600 Thread Count“To get wrinkle-free sheets, the fabric should be finished the same way as for wrinkle-free khakis or wrinkle-free cotton shirts,” said Lee Snyder, the associate director of technology implementation, who has been working on specialized wrinkle-free finishes for Cotton Inc. since 1974.

He said you treat the cotton with resins so that the hydrogen bonds in the fabric stay flat, instead of getting all wrinkled up.

“Does the chemical treatment wear off?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “It should last as long as you’re using the sheet.”

That’s all I needed to hear. Eagerly I rushed to my computer, typed into the keyword search box and prepared to elevate my bedding to the next level.

“The source for innkeeper supplies and linens since 1952,” the site announced, and the rest of the text on the site — phrases like “innkeepers only” and “wholesale supplier” — made it clear that retail orders weren’t encouraged.

I decided to investigate anyway. That’s how I stumbled upon a product description of 300-thread-count wrinkle-resistant sheet sets, 100 percent combed cotton with a sateen weave, available in four colors (sage, white, blue and cream).

I phoned Susan Sternthal, the site’s co-owner, and told her my story.

“This happens to people all the time,” she said. “I had my own nephew just stay in a hotel. He said, ‘I want those sheets.’ I said, ‘If you don’t tell me the name of the hotel, I won’t know what sheets they used.’ ”

“If I tell you the name of the inn where I stayed, will you sell me the same sheets?” I asked.

Ms. Sternthal said: “We had a retail linen store for 53 years in Pennsylvania, but we closed it last year, and now we’re not looking to sell to the general consumer. I will tell you that now.”

She paused.

I felt a glimmer of hope.

“But we will still take retail phone orders,” she said.

Then she added: “No returns. That’s because my manufacturers aren’t going to take it back unless it’s really damaged.”

Before she could change her mind, I said, “The inn where I stayed was called Cornucopia at Oldfield.”

Ms. Sternthal said, “Let me see what she buys.” She looked up the information. “She buys the 300-count sheets for the twin beds and the 600-count sheets in king size.”

“I slept in a king-size bed,” I said.

“Then the 600,” she said.

“I don’t see them on the site,” I said.

Ms. Sternthal said: “There was a change of who was manufacturing them, and for some of our customers, if the color didn’t match, they had issues. So we still stock some of the 600-count sheets for people who ask. But they aren’t shown on the site.”

I said, “While I have you on the phone, can you tell me what blanket they had on the bed at Cornucopia?”

“She bought the waffle blanket cover, the 60-40 cotton blend,” Ms. Sternthal said.

“I’ll take that, too,” I said.

“I’ll have one of my sales reps call you with retail prices,” she said.”

Our best selling 600 thread count ‘wrinkle free’ sheets are available in limited quantities, but more are on the way. Get your orders in now to be assured of shipment on “innkeepers’ most popular wrinkle free sheet style”. To order , please contact us at 267-354-6020 or toll-free at 1-800-877-INNS (4667).

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