A Tale of George WashingMachine:
I took my old, front-loading washing machine to the scrapyard yesterday. It was a sad day. The old machine was a faithful, reliable friend for about 15 years. It always did a good job without any fuss or trouble.The old Whirlpool performed well right up to the very end. Right up until the other day when it fell off the back of the Ford utility pick-up I used, to move it back to the old house. I could not get the broken door catch fixed or even buy a whole new door no matter how much I searched, the machine was just too old; modern consumerism in practice. The expectation is that people don’t repair old appliances anymore and opt for shiny, new models with all the latest features. I would have liked to keep the old workhorse, but I did not have that option. So I bought a new washing machine.
I wandered all alone into a huge “discount appliance warehouse” and was immediately approached by a very young, very slim, long-limbed salesman. He was wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt and black tie. He also had a name tag on his chest that labelled him “George.”
At first, I sent him away with a dismissive, “Only browsing, thanks.”
But George obviously did not believe me and hung around in the background, watching my every move. He seemed very keen to engage, so I thought I might as well let him help; I really didn’t know what I wanted or was looking for. I told George that I needed a new washing machine. A huge smile slowly spread right across his entire pimple punctuated face. You could see his eyes light up and I had the feeling that I had just made his day.
George proceeded to totally bamboozle me with questions that I did not understand, let alone know the answers to. This kid must have gone to washing machine school or something. I was asked about multiple spin-dry speeds, delay functions, induction motors, energy ratings, eco-cycles, water ratings and many other features. George pointed out to me one particular machine that had 15 wash cycles. I pointed out to George that I had only ever needed one in the past.
“I always use the same cycle. Just chuck the clothes in, and then later hang them out to dry.”
But, no! George suggested that I may wish to do a load of delicates one day.
I looked George in the eye and said in a low voice so no one else could hear: “Do I look like the kind of bloke who would have delicates?”
Who has delicates? What are delicates anyway? I don’t even know what they are. Lightweight, flimsy things I suppose. Did George think I might want to wash my pantyhose or something?
Even if, by some quirk of fate, I did have any articles of clothing that could be accurately described as delicates, I feel fairly sure that I would not have a whole load of them. Almost certainly, not even half a load.
Really, to get a whole load of soiled delicates, I would need to dedicate an entire week to them, where I wore nothing but. People would talk:
“There’s that strange bloke whose always wearing delicates, again.”
“Man, he must really like those delicates.”
“Yeah, but he always looks so fresh and clean! I reckon he must have a bloody good delicates cycle on his washing machine.”
Anyway, I didn’t want to appear rude, so I let George go on. He enthusiastically continued, trying his best to excite me with the wonders of new washing machine technology. Then, he showed me another machine with 16 wash cycles. Wow, I thought! Probably two separate delicates cycles!
It suddenly occurred to me that George was a washing machine zealot. He was a washing appliance fundamentalist of some kind – the type who would readily embark on jihad to achieve world washing machine justice. Images of George wearing a gold, lopsided crown, carrying a plunger in his raised, right hand; a tartan cloak draped over one shoulder fastened by colourful, plastic pegs, with his foot resting on an upturned clothes basket and standing in front of an angry army of hundreds of front loaders, drifted into my head. I heard a Scottish accent, “They can take our land, but they can never take away our rinse cycle!” By this stage, I was not listening and finding it difficult to keep a straight face.
George resolutely soldiered on; blah, blah, blah,blah.
After about half an hour, I put an end to it all. I ended up buying a basic, front-loading washing machine with a reliable brand name that had reasonable energy and water ratings and without a thousand extra features. It even has a mechanical dial which I love. I do not need digital, push button controls or LED to tell me what I am doing. It was a discontinued model, so I got $119 off the already low, regular price. Bargain! I was happy.
George seemed a little disappointed, even crestfallen.
Then I happened to mention that I might be after a dishwasher as well. A huge smile slowly spread right across his face. His eyes lit up and I had the feeling that…