Saturday, August 28, 2004


Another (Non-Blog) First

You may have seen me talk about ties and other fashion stuff recently. But I never did talk about laundry. Or ironing. Which is a pain. So I went ahead to my local clothes washing and ironing establishment to see what the deal is there. I had no clue what to expect, because I’ve never had someone else do laundry for me.

They can do it. I think the turnaround is fast enough that I won’t be left hanging with empty hangers. And the price was right. Or at least right enough. I should tell you at this point that I am not a millionaire. I don’t have my FU money yet. So how do I know when a price is right?

It’s a simple calculation. I can look at my pay stub and determine the value of one hour of my time, at least as far as the company is concerned. Then I just compare that baseline to the paid service in question. This is modified by the pleasure or displeasure involved in the task in question. And modified by my cheapskate nature. If I would spend two hours on a task, I compare the cost of the service provider to two hours of my pay. But maybe some concrete details would help.

Recently I made a cake, decorated it, and took it to share at an office potluck. I spent probably three hours total because it was an involved project. I could probably get a prettier cake that wouldn’t taste quite as good for twenty bucks or so. On straight dollars, I should buy the cake somewhere. Pleasure/displeasure? Well, it was important to me to make it myself. Ask me later if you need details about why. Cheapskate factor? Overruled by the pleasure factor.

And then there’s my laundry. Ok I could put it in the washer, then the dryer. I only measure the in and out since I can do other stuff while the washer and dryer are doing their thing. Maybe five minutes there. But add an hour for my substandard ironing skills. Hanging them up? Maybe that would bring the total to ninety minutes. On straight dollars, I should pay. Pleasure/displeasure? I hate doing laundry. I would pay more. Cheapskate factor? Same as pleasure/displeasure. So it looks like I’ll be taking my laundry in every week.

Or they’ll lose everything and I’ll never let anyone touch my laundry again.
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