“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


The Price Of Clean Bed Clothes

Friday, February 17, 2006

All right. Enough talk about me being crazy. It's Friday, and Fridays, with their promise of the weekend to come, tend to to wonders for my sanity. Today, instead, I would like to rant a bit about the outrageous price of cleaning linens.

Last year, I finally purchased our first down comforter. The Geek and I have been married for 13 years, and we have never had a comforter. We're still using the old worn blankets people gave us for our wedding and they're about 75% thinner than when they were new, so it takes three or four of them to keep me warm. I've always just been too cheap to plunk down $200 for a new down comforter, so I never got around to buying one.

That changed when my very favorite fabric outlet had an amazing sale last year on down comforters. I got a king size comforter for $50. I saw the coupon in the paper and I simply had to have one. I knew I would never get another chance to get a new comforter for this price.

One thing I knew from the beginning was that I would eventually have to have the thing cleaned. See, we have cats, and anyone who has ever had cats knows what they do on beds, or floors, or furniture, or wherever they might happen to be at the moment their finicky stomachs decide not to continue to hold their contents. It's a fact of life when you have a cat (or two, or three or...). I knew it was only a matter of time.

We put the comforter on the bed in the fall. I was waiting in dreadful anticipation, nearly every day expecting to find a mess on our beloved new comforter. Every day I was blessed with the discovery that they had not made my nightmare come true. I still expected the inevitable. I knew that it could not continue this way, so I asked Blond Girl about how to clean a comforter. I had no idea what water would do to the down and I knew my washer was much too small anyway.

She explained to me that the best way to do this is to take it to a laundromat, wash it in one of those big giant washers, and dry it with six tennis balls to make it nice and fluffy. (Great advice by the way for anyone who didn't already know this little tidbit.)

As fate would have it, when I arrived home that very day, a (not so) lovely surprise was awaiting me. Actually, my Geek had found it first and taken it off the bed. The only reason he ever takes linens off the bed is if they need cleaning due to feline regurgitation (what a horribly ugly word!), so I knew immediately what had happened.

Blond Girl warned me that I would need to have plenty of quarters on hand, since it would likely take a while to dry, so I loaded myself up with a roll of quarters and headed to the laundromat, figuring I would have plenty of quarters left when I was done.
Arriving at the laundromat, I took a look at the big, beautiful stainless steel washer (serious appliance lust here people!) and tried to figure out how to use it.

The little LCD screen had the number 20 in it. "20?", I thought. "20 what?" It's been a while since I've been to a laundromat, so you must understand the shock I suffered when I discovered that it meant 20 quarters. It would cost me $5.00 to simply wash the thing! That's
just to wash it! BG hadn't warned me about the price of washing. Ugg.

I popped in my precious quarters, one by one (do you have any idea how long it takes to put 20 quarters into a machine?!), and settled in to read Sense and Sensibility for a while. I've discovered Jane Austen makes a lovely laundry companion.

By the time the comforter was clean and dry, I was out about $8.00. Well, at least it was less than $10.00. Yes, that's my feeble attempt to look on the bright side.

A few days ago, one of the cats decided to once again empty their stomach contents onto my nice cozy comforter. I wasn't overly thrilled with the idea of spending another evening waiting at the laundromat for my comforter to wash. I had some dry cleaning to pick up, so after paying my $15 for having a tweed blazer and a cashmere sweater (which I will be posting about soon) cleaned, I asked. "Oh, by the way, what would it cost me to get a king size comforter cleaned?" I was thinking maybe somewhere between $15 and $20. Highway robbery, sure, but possibly worth the price to not have to spend my evening at a laundromat again. the clerk checked her computer and the looked at me with a professional smile. "That would be $40.00."

$40.00?????!!!!! You have got to be kidding me!!!!!

Of course, I didn't say this out loud. I didn't even let my face say it. I simply thanked her for the helpful information and left the building.

Last night, I spent a lovely evening with Miss Austen again at the laundromat. She does make the time go much faster. Shortly before I left, a couple came in looking much different from your typical laundromat fare. They were young, good looking, well groomed and very well dressed and I just knew, even though I'd only been there twice myself, that they did not spend much time at laundromats. I heard the young man catch his breath behind me as he approached one of the smaller washers. I waited for it, and I was not disappointed.

"Miss," he called, and I knew he was talking to me since I was the only one nearby. I turned around. With a look of shock on his face and disbelief in his voice he asked, "Is it really $2.00 just to wash a load of clothes?"

I gave him a sympathetic smile and answered simply, "Yes, it is."


At 2/17/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger yellojkt wrote:

When you look at the lifetime cost of some items it's ridiculous. Sometimes it costs more to clean something than to replace it.

At 2/17/2006 2:29 PM, Anonymous HolyMama! wrote:

$40 at the dry cleaners! That's awful. I bought a goreous suede Liz blazer on ebay for $9 last year, and thrilled at the bargain of it. Then my cat peed on it and it cost $61 to get cleaned. It's no longer a bargain, obviously.

At 2/17/2006 2:52 PM, Blogger Susan wrote:

Hi! Your blog makes me laugh so hard! Found it off Holymama's site! :)

At 2/18/2006 10:33 AM, Blogger Rabenstrange wrote:

Your post makes me want to start a coin laundry.


Post a Comment

I'm having trouble with word verification so all comments will now go through moderation. Don't worry. I check my email often so it won't take long before your comment shows up.

<< Home