One of the nation’s top uniform service providers is looking for a few guinea pigs — or, should I say, sweat hogs.

That may be a rather crude way of putting it, but that’s exactly what rus is searching for. The sweatier, the better (apparently).

Rus is inviting hvac contracting companies to apply to become field testers for its new T-shirts made of “H2NO” fabric. According to the company, this fabric uses a state-of-the-art design to “whisk sweat away from the skin, keeping the wearer cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.” The question rus wants to find out is: Can this new technology stand up to the pressure of real-life, real-work, front-line contractors?

If applying Arid, Secret, or Sure doesn’t do the trick for you, your technicians, and installers, rus wants you to enter its “We need H2NO now!” contest. You must tell them, in 100 words or less, why your company should field test its product. Up to six companies from across the United States will be selected to receive up to 10 free H2NO T-shirts each. Winning entries will be judged based on the sweatiest (therefore neediest) story.

Field-testing companies will then be asked to report weekly on the use of the high-tech shirts, with updates to be posted on rus’ website.

“Who better than hvac professionals, people who understand heating and cooling better than any of us, to test this technology in real-world situations,” said Mike Wallner, brand manager with rus. “We expect some sweat horror stories and look forward to reading some hot entries.”

The man has a way with words, doesn’t he?

What’s That Smell?

I’m not so sure how you want to go about writing your entry material. Do you really want to admit that your techs and installers sweat more than presidential candidates during a Florida recount? That you have to replace their uniform shirts every other week? That your firm has a smelly reputation?

Then again, sweat is no small stuff. It can be a sign of hard, honest work, and manly men. It could even rank up there with the bragging rights for the loudest belch and the smelliest…well, you get the idea.

The company swears this field test is serious. It insists that moisture transfer technology woven into H2NO shirts mean the fabrics dry 65% faster than all other blends “while still maintaining the softness and feel of cotton.”

“We’ve taken about the same moisture transfer technology that’s been worn by some cool cats on the golf course and in the latest advertisements,” the company says at its website, “Moisture is almost instantly pulled away from the body and evaporated into thin air!”

According to the division of Omni Services, Inc., initial research shows that the quality of the fabric holds up “incredibly well in the industrial laundry — lasting up to 50% longer than traditional T-shirts.” In their eyes, this material is well-suited for use by companies that rent uniforms. (If you are too embarrassed to enter this contest, rus is willing to offer the H2NO moisture-transfer T-shirt on a rental basis, too.)


In true David Letterman fashion, here are the editorial staff’s Top Ten reasons why you should consider entering this contest:

10.Your wife calls you “Stinky Puddin’.”

9. A skunk with a Parisian accent keeps following you around.

8. The boss keeps asking you what your dewpoint is.

7. When the Wicked Witch of the West screams “I’m melting, I’m melting,” you empathize.

6. There are salt stains on your van seat.

5. Your most annoying customer has stopped hanging over your shoulder.

4. You’re still an official Sweat Hog, even though “Welcome Back Kotter” has been off the air for years.

3. Stick a bay leaf under each arm, and you’d be makin’ soup.

2. You can’t lower your arms; the pits of your work shirts are too crunchy.

1. “Bubba” was accidentally entered in a wet T-shirt contest — and won.

Deadline for online entries is Jan. 15. May the best sweatshops win.

Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446; 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 12/04/2000