We need a new washing machine, but one does not simply dash out and buy a new machine these days, one first does research.
I know this because I tried dashing out and buying one without doing my research. The clerk asked how big, how powerful, how many cycles and how much I wanted to spend. All I could really tell her was my price range. She led me to a small portable machine on wheels that might hold two dishtowels.
Who knew prices had gone up since we last bought one 20 years ago? It’s a new form of money laundering.
Now, having spent weeks doing late-night reading, analysis and comparisons, I realize I did not study this hard for college exams.
Washing machines filling my brain has made me a thrilling conversationalist. I am happy to talk about cubic-foot capacity, spin vs. pulse agitation, front load and top load.
I can also talk about RPMs, but what shoppers really want to know about is SLPL, or Socks Lost Per Load.
Machines have grown more complex in recent years with some models now featuring apps and Wi-Fi connection. Your washing machine can text you the status of the laundry, setting off a ding on your phone or tablet. You then race through the house or rummage through your purse looking for your phone, which is so much more convenient than having to walk over and look at the machine yourself.
Full surrender to smart assistants like Alexa is only a short time away.
Alexa: Start my playlist.
Alexa: Turn on the lights.
Alexa: Check on the laundry.
Alexa: Live my life.
Until smart assistants take total control, we will continue to pore through online ratings and reviews and scroll through questions and answers on everything from light bulbs to shoes and printer cartridges. We all want to know what we’re getting and if it will last.
Both of our grown daughters have gone through two washing machines in their first 10 years of marriage, claiming nothing lasts like it should. Often when they are here, they look around the house and remind us to keep everything that is old. For a long time, we thought they were talking to us about each other, but they mean our old appliances.
We would keep all our appliances if we could, but we can’t. Our present washing machine is so rickety it rocks the entire house on spin cycle. That agitates the dryer sitting next to it, and then they both shimmy closer and closer toward the wall until we can’t get the louvered door in front of the dryer open. I can see the clean, warm, clothes, I just can’t touch the clean, warm clothes.
All we really want is a basic washer without all the bells and whistles that is reasonably quiet and stays in one place.
Alexa: Find us a docile washing machine. Then do the laundry.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.