People seem to like this one

I took my old front-loading washing machine to the scrap yard yesterday. It was a sad day. The old machine was a faithful, reliable friend for about sixteen 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 day it fell off the back of my friend’s 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 just don’t repair old appliances anymore and opt for shiny, new, modern ones with all the latest features instead. I would have liked to keep the dependable old workhorse but I did not have that option. So I bought a new washing machine.
I wandered all alone into a huge, cavernous, self-proclaimed “discount appliance warehouse” and felt utterly lost as I searched for the washing machine section. I was immediately approached by a very young, very thin, long-limbed salesman with a short-back-and-sides haircut and black rimmed glasses. He was wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt and a thin black tie. He also had a name tag on his chest that announced, “Hi. I’m George.”
At first I sent him away with a dismissive, “Just browsing, thanks.”
But George obviously did not believe me and hung around in the background, watching my every move while continuously smiling at me. I began to feel a little self-conscious. He seemed very enthusiastic and keen to engage, so I thought I might as well let him help; I did not really know exactly what I wanted or what I was looking for, anyway, so I told George that I needed a new washing machine. His hitherto polite smile slowly extended sideways and spread right across his entire pimple punctuated face. His eyes widened noticeably 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 fifteen 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 later, hang them out to dry.” But no, George suggested that I may wish to do a load of delicates one day.
“Yes, delicates.”
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 man 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 ever had a whole load of them to wash. Almost certainly, not even half a load.
Really, to have a whole load of soiled delicates, I would need to dedicate an entire week to them where I wore nothing else. Or be a cross-dresser. People would talk:
“There’s that strange bloke who’s 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.”
I didn’t want to appear rude so I let George go on. And on. He enthusiastically continued, trying his best to excite me with the wonders of modern washing machine technology. Then, he showed me another machine with sixteen 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 white goods appliance fundamentalist of some kind – the type who would readily embark on discount retailer jihad to achieve world-wide washing machine justice. Images of George wearing a gold, lopsided crown on his head and 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 army of hundreds of angry front loaders that were all vibrating furiously, 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 anymore and finding it difficult to keep a straight face. George resolutely soldiered on; blah, blah, blah, blah…
After about half an hour I finally put an end to it all. I finished up by buying a basic, front-loading washing machine with a reliable brand name that had reasonable energy and water ratings, but without a thousand extra features. It even has a mechanical dial that 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. He even looked somewhat 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 noticeably widened and I had the feeling that…



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