You could buy a car for that!

Our washing machine has finally expired. It passed away noisily after a terminal illness brought on by repeated abuse from my mouldy cycling kit. In this world of throwaway commodity, repairing it was both undesirable and highly unlikely. Even if we could still locate a balding overall’d bloke further defined by tuneless whistling and sporting a stubby pencil behind a grubby ear, he’d have taken one look at the ruined bearings, pointed accusingly to my innocent person and declared “your husband? He’s fecked it”.

Obviously in this Internet age, we were spared the slack jawed base grunt and multiple pearcings of a high street sales assistant. Instead our trawling of the world wide wibbly resulted in a net full of complex variants each proclaiming to offer some USP or at least a nifty start button. Further delving rendered these choices irrelevant as all the brands are made by a single factory in Taiwan. Except the German ones which I was keen to reject on the grounds they may feel the urge to invade Czechoslovakia.

Eventually as with all these things and regardless of the selection process, we bought the most expensive one.£550. Five Hundred. And. Fifty. Pounds. For a drum, a few lights and a hole for water. I was aghast until it was cruelly pointed out that once I’d spent more on a set of forks.

For that much money, I assume it has a some kind of cosmic interface that connects it directly to the laundry basket. Continuing that theme, I’ll be mightily disappointed if a small robotic arm doesn’t winch itself out of the drum and collect the kids discarded and dirty clothing from around the house. Apparently the myriad of programmable settings – although I was disappointed not to find the “locate sock” one – requires more processing power than the space shuttle. I’m not sure I feel entirely comfortable with that fact but it’s certainly shifted any career aspirations away from astronautics

According to the – and I’m quoting directly here – “up to the minute logistically enhanced stock control system”, one of these beomoths could be delivered at the weekend for an additional£20. Seemed like a small price to pay for laundered smalls come Monday morning, but no in fact the system was representing a stock state last updated during the Vietnam war. We are anxiously (and I do not use that word lightly, I am pant counting as I type) awaiting a new delivery date having so far received nothing other than an electronic version of the sharp intake of breadth.

Remind me – is the secret of single pant longevity to turn them every day or to air them during my lunch hour? If it’s the latter, the whole property strategy of open plan offices could be thrown into disarray.

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