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WTF, Columbia: Laundry Edition

How Bwog feels doing homework in the laundry rooms

How Bwog feels doing laundry in the laundry rooms

In this installment of WTF, Columbia, Bwog reveals a tramatic experience with the notorious laundry system.

Two days ago, I spent my morning attempting to open a washing machine with a metal squeegee. Why, you ask? What could have possibly driven me to such MacGyver-esque (though admittedly crazy) behavior? The star of many a nightmare: Columbia laundry.

Let’s rewind. When I wandered down to the Schapiro laundry room at 10:30 am, the timer on the washing machine said my clothes had one minute left. Five minutes later, there was still one minute left. After ten minutes, I started suspecting that either a) the Schapiro laundry room had somehow broken free of the time-space continuum or b) something was fucked up.

My suspicions started to lean toward the latter when the washing machine started violently shaking. After attempting to bodily hold it down and force the door open with my superhuman strength, I decided to be an adult and call maintenance. No answer. Considering the possibility that my jeans would be forever stranded in the laundry netherworld, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

One minute in Schapiro-laundry-time twenty-five minutes later, I had tried everything from unplugging the machine itself (FYI not possible) to using the aforementioned squeegee (found on top of a dryer) as a lever to force the door open. Defeated, I started counting the change in my pocket and wondering if I had enough quarters to buy a new pair of jeans. In one last fit of frustration, I gave the washer a kick, slipped in a puddle, and ended up on my ass.

As I sat in that disguising, slightly-soapy-but-mostly-just-dirty puddle and watched all my pants get slowly eaten by the Washer From Hell, I had an epiphany: I should not have to physically wrestle a washing machine in order to get clean clothes. Doing laundry should not be this way.

Yes, yes, I’m sure almost every single Columbia student has come to this conclusion at some point or another (when you have to dry your clothes four times, when over half the machines are out of order, when you see a cockroach in a dryer and decide there is no goodness in the world – take your pick). But after a certain point, we’ve come to lower our expectations so dramatically that we’re excited when a dryer actually does its job. News flash: dryers are supposed to work on the first try.

To be honest, I can’t tell if our laundry machines are ridiculously fragile or they’re haunted by vengeful spirits if they never actually get fixed, but the outcome is the same regardless. The entire process – wash, re-wash (because you accidentally chose the one that doesn’t spin and now everything smells like mildew), dry, re-dry, triple-dry, run out of money – takes up way too much time and energy. Not to mention valuable quarters you could be spending on half a subway ride or a fourth of a beer.

I mean, at least people aren’t shitting on our clothes like at Yale, but I feel like that should really be a given.

So I ask you, Columbia: WTF is up with the laundry situation? Every week (or two weeks if you’re lazy/ have a lot of underwear), the entire campus has to go through the same ordeal. Is it too much to ask that we have machines that work?

 The struggle is real via Wikimedia

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  • Anon says:

    @Anon Agreed. I should be able to do my laundry in a three-hour between-classes gap without having to put it in for a second dryer round because the first one didn’t dry and then take it out of the dryer 20 minutes early so that I can run it up to my room and still have time to get to class. In my two past rounds of laundry (just one load each time!) the machines have eaten a total of $3.75.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous stop complaining, this just happens when you put in too much detergent

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous it just takes longer (to wash out all the extra detergent) but your clothes come out fine when the cycle finally finishes.

      1. Anon says:

        @Anon No but there’s def a bigger issue here

      2. Really, bro? says:

        @Really, bro? Did you just reply to yourself? You know there’s a track button, eh?

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Um yes, I was elaborating on my initial post by supplying additional information…?

  • BSGS says:

    @BSGS Welcome to doing laundry in NYC. It won’t change when you’ve gotta do the same in your apartment.

  • You're not doing it right says:

    @You're not doing it right Clean the lint filter before putting it in the dryer and it dries… magic!

  • Seems to me says:

    @Seems to me that the issue with the dryers is actually an issue with the washer. Their spin cycle is so bad that the clothes come out dripping wet (even on super small loads). No dryer can handle that shit.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous HEAD’S UP!!! Hogan dryer #3 takes your money but doesn’t recognize that the closed door is actually closed (so it won’t let the dryer start), and dryer #7 spins the clothes and appears to be working, but doesn’t actually dry them. I had the great thrill of getting to try to use BOTH of these dryers within the past 2 hours…

  • Alum says:

    @Alum Be careful what you wish for — I wish I had access to machines newer than 10 years old that are open 24/7… instead I pay $3.00 per load with a cash card that perpetually both refuses to reload and requires tweezers to pull out of the machine.

  • Alum2 says:

    @Alum2 Ah, I remember the good ol’ days of the washers and dryers costing $1.00, but because of the clever trick of flicking pennies through the coin-return and having them count as quarters, effectively only cost 4 cents per cycle.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I hold a special hatred for the Nussbaum laundry machines, which require you to put money on a card that only takes increments of $5. As the laundry costs $1.70, the only way Columbia doesn’t get money for free is if you do an exact multiple of 50 loads.

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