Have you been to a Laundromat lately? Not that I recommend it, but just for the sake of perspective on the multiple blessings so many of us enjoy, you might want to visit one and check it out.
Not too long ago, after my ‘holy discipline’ mentioned in a previous post, I had to take our clothes to the local Laundromat. I was SHOCKED! If you ever want to talk about price gouging, or about a RIP-OFF… just try doing laundry for a large family at one of these places.
I was there for no other reason, but that we had nothing left clean in the house, and my machine was broken. It was a total and complete necessity, and so, with my young kids in tow, we hauled about 14 bags of clothes into the mini-van for wash day. I thought I was being clever by going during the week when everyone “should” be working. You know, avoid the Saturday crowd so I could use up all the washers at one time…then put everything into dryers simultaneously. I figured, we could wash everything in a couple of hours then spend time at home folding. Boy, was I wrong???!!!
I knew I was in trouble when I saw a couple of ladies pushing several kids from the local apartment building in a confiscated grocery store shopping cart. Sure enough, there were PEOPLE in the Laundromat that Tuesday morning….who knew? As I systematically sent my little helpers to grab as many of those rolling carts as they could find to bring to the mini-van, it began to dawn on me that this was going to be a complicated day.
It seems that the other patrons of the Laundromat didn’t really care if their laundry wasn’t all on the same row. Some genius decided to use every OTHER machine to wash, which left the rest of us scratching our heads and continually peeking in the machines to make sure our clothes made it home with us and not our neighbors.
Like a good wife…before arriving at the Laundromat, I went to the bank and asked for two nice, clean rolls of quarters, just like the college days. I even bought a new bottle of Tide, Snuggle fabric softener, and Dryer sheets. We were ready!
After my army unloads all the clothes from the van, to the 6 rolling carts they had gathered, we filled up every OTHER machine I could get my hands on. Do they even KNOW what large capacity means around here? Then, came the kicker. I instructed my 6 kids I had with me to put the quarters in each of our 20 (small capacity) machines. There were 4 slots for quarters, so everyone was given a dollar per load. We each pushed the money in almost in unison and… NOTHING HAPPENED!
WHAT? Is something wrong with these machines? Who runs this joint? Is there a manager nearby?
No one came. No one works there. Now what? Twenty dollars in quarters down the drain. Then, upon closer inspection, I read the fine print that had been scratched off the worn out machines. $2.75. WHAT? $2.75…PER LOAD??? Are they KIDDING ME?
I looked around at all the other patrons who were mindlessly folding clothes and watching As the World Turns on the TV. After looking at the large dryers and how much they cost…$1.25 per load, I quickly did the math. $4.00 PER LOAD! Really?
I had 20 washers already filled and $20 already invested in them. It was going to cost me $80 plus another $20 for supplies…ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS JUST TO DO OUR LAUNDRY for the week!
I wanted to stand on the large folding table with the skinny legs and in the spirit of Sally Field in Norma Rae shout out to all the laundry drones in the room and say, “PEOPLE! Wake UP! They are RIPPING US OFF!” I could buy the machine of my DREAMS with that kind of money if I just had my family wear potato sacks for a couple of months. SHEESH!
Needless to say, I did NOT stay there. I picked up my proverbial ‘ball / laundry’, and went home. My kids did not understand what happened to me that day. They just saw steam coming from my ears and my face turn bright red from outrage.
And they all wore stinky clothes.