Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Laundry Revelation

I got back from school a little early today and desperately needed to do laundry.

Let's preface this story with the fact that I hate having to do laundry. It's not that the actual physical labor is particularly tough, or that I don't know how to wash clothes, fold them, or anything like that.

I have a few definite things I hate about the laundry:

1 - The fact that it takes up so much freaking time. 43 minutes per wash cycle, 50 minutes per drying cycle, adding 10 minutes for travel and changeover time, plus another 10-15 minutes to fold. That's around 2 hours for the whole process. That's a good two hours I could easily spend blogging, doing homework, or watching Jon Stewart's latest CNBC rant (after taking down Crossfire years ago, and going after CNBC now, I wonder what the next target will be)

2 - The fact that I need to get a bunch of quarters. Aren't we at the point where just about every convenience store has a credit card swiper for even the most trivial purchases? EZ Pass has made all our highway travel much more convenient. My Chicago Card is great for the CTA. How has this technology not filtered down to our laundry rooms yet? Is it that complicated??? I don't like having to carry around $5 in quarters

3 - The lint trap in the dryer is never clean. I always try to clean it, but it seems like no one else ever thinks to. Last time I went down there I found two dryers whose traps were completely full with sheets of bright pink lint. Maybe it was a ballet dancer or the pink panther or something.

Anyway, my discontent with laundry is likely to continue long after I leave Chicago, given that I'll be moving to NYC, where I believe the concept of an in-unit laundry is still unheard of.

But today's laundry story is one of happiness, surprisingly.

I went down with my two loads of laundry as I always do, and went to a pair of machines (out of the 20 or so we have in the building). I started putting my laundry into the two machines, and looked at the control panel which displays the price.

As usual, each one read, $1.25.

However, I pushed a couple of buttons on the machine, and switched it from warm water to hot.

The price $1.00.

I tried the same thing on the second machine, but there was no change.

I tried another machine down the line, again, no change from the standard $1.25 machine.

Which means I found a malfunctioning or improperly set machine...and got to save 25 cents

Multiply that by the number of times I do laundry (estimated at three weeks), and you have yourself an annualized savings of a little over $4.00, assuming I can get the machine every time and no one from maintenance notices and/or fixes the problem.

Of course I can't figure out why this has gone unnoticed. Plenty of people in my building do laundry, and I'm sure they've used the machine in question. Given that, one would expect that machine would always be the optimal choice for laundry-does...

But it doesn't appear that way.

Maybe it's because people feel that a machine that charges a lower price will provide a lower quality wash...

Maybe it's because people never change the settings on the machine, and no one but me has noticed...

Or maybe it's just because no one gives anything about a measly 25 cents.

Oh well, it's their loss. I saved 25 cents today and they didn't.


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