Thursday, March 09, 2006

Brutally Honest Rant - 03/08/06

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: What Pisses Me Off (Laundry Special)
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)

Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.

One of the really neat things about doing my own audio rant isthat I pretty much have an open field of things that I can talk about. Sometimes it’s about politics, sometimes it’s about the media, and sometimes it’s just a sounding boardfor things that just PISS ME OFF!

Well this week it’s the stuff that piss me off. And there’s quite a bit of stuff out there, but for right now, let’s talk about doing the laundry.

We’ve all had to do it at some point in our lives, right?I mean, not all of us can afford to buy new clothes, or pay tohave someone clean our clothes for us. I learned before I went tocollege that I was going to have to do this stuff by myself. So I learned! I had help, of course, but at least I figured it all out BEFORE I went off on my own.

Unfortunately not everyone did. And the first month or so of the fall semester at my college was usually the most hilarious time for me, because I watched the guys who had absolutely NO IDEA how to do the laundry try the first time.

You know the stuff you see on TV about the guy who puts in too much soap, or throws all of his clothes in the same machine? That’s not just the stuff of fiction… that’s frigging REAL! I’ve seen guys do that, and then wonder why their white shirts are pink and why their washer is spewing soap suds all over the place. And of course there were also the really lazy bastards that either had their girlfriends do their laundry for them, or they just bundled it all in a bag and took it home for their mom to wash. You know, that’s one of the things that my mom was very thankful for… she was glad that I figured out how to do my own laundry so that she wouldn’t have to do it herself.

But at some point, we all have to do it. It’s one of those things that HAS to get done, and if you don’t have your own washer and dryer, then you gotta go to the laundromat. And I’m going to blow a few minds when I say this, but I personally believe that home economics should be a required course for everyone in school, not just an elective for girls! Come on guys, unless we get married right out of high school, we’re going to have to spend SOME time in our lives by ourselves! It’s good to figure some of these things out! We’re just not going to know all this stuff by osmosis.

Now here at the Brutally Honest Command Center, I’m fortunate enough to have a laundry room that’s just a brief walk away. I really lucked out on that, because the closest laundromat is several miles away. But that still means that I have to head on down there and hope that there’s an available machine for me to use.

And when it comes to doing the laundry, there are quite a few things that just PISS ME OFF! And they’re really stupid things too.

Now before I get any further, let’s get brutally honest here… when I start talking about rules or requirements, I’m NOT talking about LAWS or REGULATIONS or having THE GOVERNMENT on ANY level step in and try to resolve these little things that piss me off. That’s not my game. Laundromats are private businesses, and they obviously rake in a good coin otherwise they wouldn’t be around. But I happen to think that these rules are pretty much things that should be dealt with by the management of the service, whether it’s a laundromat or the apartment management.

Now of course it goes without saying that the most common pet peeve is when you have a machine that isn’t working or it just eats your money, but that peeve is something that gets resolved relatively fast. That’s a management problem, and the law of economics usually corrects that particular peeve. But these other things that piss me off are a little more difficult…because they involve OTHER PEOPLE!

Here’s the biggest laundry pet peeve… LaundryDeadbeats! This happens every so often… and it really pisses me off. Someone comes in, they drop off a huge load of laundry, they take up as many machines as they can, and then just leave. I don’t mean leave and then come back after a half an hour or however long it takes a machine to go through it’s cycle. I don’t have a problem with that. No, I mean these deadbeats show up, fill up as many machines as they can, get them started, and then leave and not come back for SEVERAL HOURS… sometimes even overnight!

A great example of this happened this past weekend. I haul my ass out of bed EARLY every weekend to do the laundry. I know that if I do this, I’ll have just about every machine available. I’m usually there, done, and out in about two hours, and that’s the way that it should be! But this past weekend, there was only ONE dryer available Plenty of washers, but only ONE available dryer. Now only one other person was there before me, but all of the other machines were taken up by people who simply dropped their stuff off and then left them… overnight from the looks of things.

Now I’m a nice guy. I’m not a rude bastard when it comes to laundry deadbeats, although by all rights I should have just emptied a couple of machines on the chairs and played dumb if the deadbeats showed up. If I was an insensitive prick like those deadbeats were, I would have done that in a heartbeat. But no, I’m a nice guy… so I waited for one of the more attentive people to kindly empty her machines when she was finished with them so I could get my clothes dry.

So here’s a good workaround for management… because this kind of stuff also affects their bottom line. The more people that can use those machines, the more money they make. So this is what the managers do: you stick a sign up in English, Spanish, and whatever other language you wish that goes something like this:

"These laundry machines are for the use of ALL patrons. These are not YOUR PERSONAL machines. We are not responsible for any unattended laundry. It is your responsibility to use these machines, operate them, and to remove your clothes from them in a TIMELY manner. Any unattended laundry that interferes in the timely use of these machines will be declared abandoned and will either be donated to charity or else auctionedoff on eBay."

Trust me, a few well-known incidents of laundry being auctioned off will solve THAT annoying problem really quick. How would you like to explain to your spouse or to your child how you were the dumbass who lost his or her laundry because you couldn’t keep track of it?

The next things that piss me off are the Mystery Gift-Givers. Those are the folks who forget to empty their pockets, so they leave things in the washer or dryer. Sometimes it’s money… loose change, the occasional dollar or two… it’s rather nice when that happens. But more often than naught, what gets left behind is not money. Sometimes it’s a rusted paper clip, sometimes it’s an extra sock, or sometimes it’s the gooey remains of someone’s packet of partially-melted breath strips. Or at least you HOPE that’s what it is and not something that requires a visit from your local hazardous materials unit.

Or sometimes they pour a whole bunch of either bleach or detergent in an empty machine after they took their own clothes out. I don’t know… are they trying to be helpful or something? Did the box just accidentally spill into the machine? All I know is that nobody really wants to use that machine once the mystery gift is in there and you don’t know what it is, and you certainly don’t want to find out. That essentially takes a machine out of circulation until it can get cleaned up, unless you want to spend some coin to run it through a cycle and hope it gets worked out of the system.

Then of course we have the Sneaker Cleaners. These are people who think that just because they can put their dirty sneakers in the wash that they can also put them in the dryer. I’m sorry, folks, but it doesn’t work like that. The water does a good job washing the sneakers clean, but it also cushions the sneakers as they move around in the washer. The dryer doesn’t have that. The dryer has nothing but hot air… hot air that can melt plastic and superheat any metal rings, and a door that can get kicked open pretty easily from the inside. In other words, the dryer’s not a good place for shoes!

Look, do us all a favor and just let the sneakers dry the old fashioned way. If your kids can get along without them for two hours, then they probably could go without them for a little longer until they dry out naturally.

Last but not least we have the Litterbugs. These folks are no-brainers… they’re the people who think that the best place for dryer lint and the dryer sheets and empty detergent containers… is the floor! They won’t really empty out the lint traps, and if they do they’ll just drop it on the floor. You know that these are people who really don’t give a damn. They know that SOMEONE will just come in and clean it up at some point, and they don’t have the time to walk a couple of steps to the trashcan.

Meanwhile, of course, you have parents that bring their kids with them, and you know that kids love to sit around and play in whatever mess they find. And then you have all sorts of people who are trying to do their laundry, and trying not to have anything that was already washed hit the floor, because then it’ll pick up whatever crap you leave behind! You know there is no eternal maid service showing up at these places. You’re lucky if you just have an attendant at one of these laundromats, and it’s even worse for the laundry room at a dormitory or apartment complex. All you’re doing when you leave crap everywhere is just being a dick.

I think that the key point here is something that was already mentioned in this rant… when you’re dealing with either a laundry room or a laundromat, you have to realize that these machines are NOT for YOUR EXCLUSIVE and PERSONAL use! You don’t OWN them. They’re not YOURS to do with as you wish. All you’re really doing is RENTING them, and even that’s for a relatively limited time.

Makes you wonder, though, how they would see things if some of their personal stuff would be used and abused by complete strangers day in and day out. Do you think they would be nonchalant about having deadbeats take advantage of their stuff? Probably not.

(Computer – some more good stuff that you have to hear to appreciate)
(Fade Music In – "Who Am I?" by Peace Orchestra)

I know that some of these little things seem a bit trite, but they also play a much larger role in the overall scheme of things. The little things that piss us off that goes on at the laundromat gets piled on top of the little things at work, and the little things that go on during our commute, and the little things that go on at the grocery store… and so on and so forth… and then we wonder why people snap.

Plus, you hear moralists get all in an uproar over an exposed boob or pimp-talking in our society, but you don’t hear these people talk about some of these little things. And while I have yet to hear anyone snapping over an exposed boob… I HAVE heard about people fighting over a washing machine.

I don’t know about you, but I think we have our social priorities mixed up.


Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 sayinggood night, and I’ll speak with you soon!

(Fade out)

(Computer – Ending/"End of Recording")

[End of program]

No comments: