Re: Guest Post: DISRUPT! DISRUPT!

1

oy


Posted by: oy | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
2

Ha, I was going to mention Yo, and then I finished reading the post.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
3

If this works, it raises serious questions about the quarter to dollar exchange rate. There have always been spot markets (mostly at parking meters) where the 4:1 official rate hasn't held, but never futures contracts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
4

Lately I have found that leaving change in my wallet rather than obsessively paying in correct change to get change OUT of my wallet means I usually have enough quarters for laundry. Then I just have to once in a while leave a stack of pennies on a window sill somewhere because fuck pennies.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
5

Less egregious. This is actually useful. Worth it? Harder to say, but it's good for something.
(Working hours versus bank hours, ugh).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
6

It would probably be bad if I put too many quarters in our washing machine.

Anyhow I thought the disrupterati all used wash-and-fold places? I used one of those for a while. It was kind of dynamite.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
7

Also how common are laundromats where you buy a special card? The one I used in LA worked that way, so you didn't need quarters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
8

There was at least one of those around here but it abruptly went out of business, and people lost whatever value they had left on the cards.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
9

A few weeks ago, I went to a laundromat for the first time in a decade. The dryer policy was: 75 cents to get it going, a quarter for each additional 8 minutes.

I was annoyed by the buy-in, because I had to carefully watch the clock to make sure I checked the clothes before the initial 24 minutes was done, so as not to have to buy 48 minutes of heat. Otherwise I could have gotten immersed in my book and just checked the clothes when I noticed they were stopped.

Why can't it just be 25 cents/8 minutes?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
10

Oh, I thought you were saying it was 75 cents for 0 minutes just to activate then 25 for 8 minute blocks. I can imagine a business model there, you coordinate people's drying so that they pay you a part of the activation fee which you pocket by keeping things going in blocks of 8 minutes.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
11

I was thinking that it must be even harder to be a teacher these days now that "disrupt" is a positive word.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
12

wash-and-fold places

My favorite little lifestyle extravagance in NYC. Not a thing out here.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
13

Presumably one of your biggest challenges in running a laundromat is getting people to not leave their clothes in the machines for too long so you can turn over volume. Inthink the .75/.25 system was probably designed deliberately for that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
14

12: I mean, they exist out there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
15

because fuck pennies

Are those like ass pennies?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
16

I am so not clicking through to find out.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
17

I am still a little surprised every time I go to the bank and exchange a $20 bill for rolls of quarters and they don't charge me a service fee. It feels like New Deal-era socialism or something.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:34 AM
horizontal rule
18

I guess it depends on the bank and your hours and transit situation whether this is helpful. In my last city, I could walk to B of A and get quarters at lunch. Here it would be a hassle to get quarters during the workday because it would mean extra driving, but there are multiple branches open 9 to 6 and on Saturdays.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
19

16: Oh, you will.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
20

You don't have to get rolls of quarters at a bank. I sometimes get them from the customer service counter at the grocery store.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
21

So am I the only one who thinks this has to be some kind of practical joke? Granted it's hard to tell these days but I thought I saw some winks on their site, e.g., getting their one endorsement from "Cassidy, Pet Care Specialist" is just too on the nose. Also, change machines are a thing, and laundromats tend to have them (I guess smallish apartment building basement laundry facilities often don't; big market there, no doubt!).

Anyway if it is real, surely the First Citiwide Change Bank will get in on the game and undercut them.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
22

Don't you all have quarter machines at your laundromats? What's this going to the bank to get quarters business?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
23

"Yo" kind of reminds me of the "missed call" protocols people developed in Lebanon, where the cell service was egregiously expensive; you'd agree to missed-call someone when you were downstairs and ready to pick them up, or whatever.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
24

"Would you accept a collect call from Mr. Getmeatthegrocerystore?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
25

The general consensus I've seen is that this is the worst crime of capitalism. I looked into it a bit and it's a local kid (who codes sloppily) doing it on his own; his intent was to sell to people who live in apartment buildings with laundry machines but without change machines, who are unable/forget to go to the bank regularly (perhaps due to tight hours). I think it's not absurd that that's an annoying situation to be in (which I was in from end of college until, uh, a few weeks ago), but a solution where you're paying $5/month to not go to the bank periodically is.

He also said on twitter that he was paying $2.70 shipping on a $15 sale. Sort of absurd all around to send currency via post. (Especially if the company takes off--if you happen to see one of their parcels, you know exactly what's inside and it's the easiest possible thing to fence.)

I wonder if this could potentially run afoul of some sort of wire transfer service law.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
26

I totally did all the time that pre-cell phones when I was e.g. at camp or out somewhere and I wanted someone to call me back, you call 1-800-collect and say "call me at 617-234-5342".


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
27

For merely $3/month, I will send you a text telling you to go get quarters twice a month.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
28

Then again, maybe "apartment buildings with washer/dryer machines but no change machines" are another weird Pittsburgh thing, like nonexistent taxi service.

(And sure, you could go to a laundromat, but they're sparse enough here that you're either taking your laundry on the bus or driving, both of which are suboptimal. If you have the machines in your building, that's kind of galling.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
29

I'll do it for $2.50. The market produces efficiency.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
30

24: A couple of times in the Bay Area I made collect calls from Bartholomew that were intentionally rejected.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
31

Someone should make an app that tells you what days are recycling and who had a party over the weekend so you can go around and collect their beer cans and bottles for the 5 cent deposit. Then we can give cell phones to homeless people and save the world.
Actually I always wondered if you lived on the border of two states with either no/5 cent or 5/10 cent (Ohio/Michigan?) if you could make money buying on one side and redeeming on the other.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
32

28: The place where the Coop used to be in Greenfield is still empty. I keep thinking somebody should put in laundromat-six pack shop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
33

The two small buildings I lived in before moving to the present place (in Chicago) both had laundry machines but no change machine. I still can't imagine paying a 20% charge to avoid having to occasionally schlep to the bank.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
34

The two small buildings I lived in before moving to the present place (in Chicago) both had laundry machines but no change machine. I still can't imagine paying a 20% charge to avoid having to occasionally schlep to the bank.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
35

Many things that people think are specific to their cities aren't. No change machines in my last 3 buildings.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
36

stupid double posts.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
37

I forgot about apartment buildings with laundry rooms. Seems more reasonable not to have change machines there. I lived mostly in subdivided houses that either had free community laundry or I went to a laundromat.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
38

Apartment buildings should just use those Have a Quarter/Leave a Quarter dishes.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
39

35: I don't actually think it's specific to my city--I was just surprised that everybody brings up laundromats, and only them.

I agree with 33 and wouldn't patronise this service, even though I was in the habit of trying to structure my purchases to maximise the quarters I'd get in change. Which is a silly thing to do, but I was generally really bad at remembering to go to the bank when it was open.

And you're off--it's much worse, a 50% charge. $15 gets you a $10 roll of quarters. $2.70 (err, maybe it was $2.30, one or the other) goes to shipping, and the rest is profit plus other expenses.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
40

17 gets it right. The grocery stores around here will give you a roll if you buy something.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
41

31.2: That's a criminal offense in Michigan, though of course pretty difficult to enforce. They tried to force manufacturers to mark bottles sold in Michigan, but it got struck down as a (dormant) Commerce Clause violation.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
42

The guy's twitter feed is currently around 90% "it's totally serious, really!"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
43

Yeahh--I kinda doubt he expected it to take off this way. He did say shipped $30 in quarters, so that's, what, $7.50ish for him after shipping? Kinda doubt that's going to cover his server costs, yet alone his time.

I wonder if the local PNCs/First Niagaras are going to cut him off for being a nuisance customer.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
44

It would be even more profitable if you could find a source for cheap quarters.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
45

Wasn't there a country whose coins fooled quarter machines and the actual value of the coins was around 5 cents? Or just make metal slugs like they used to do to cheat the NYC subway.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
46

44: I've found a potential source.

We can probably do better than that. These are the stats on US coins; the Barbados dollar is pegged at $0.50 USD, and the Bajan 25-cent piece is fairly close to the US quarter. That's a 50% discount!


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
47

Pwned, but I've obviously thought about this harder than I should.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
48

You could be generous and say you were answering the question instead of being pwned.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
49

I once got a Mexican coin (2 peso, I think) from a machine that was supposed to be giving me a quarter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
50

I lived mostly in subdivided houses that either had free community laundry or I went to a laundromat.

Lucky! I live in a subdivided house and still have to pay about $4.50 per load of laundry in the basement. That really surprised me when I moved in; I was told "there's laundry in the basement" but never thought to ask if it was coin-operated because I assumed houses are not the same thing as apartment buildings. Oops.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
51

Korean 100 won coins are about the size of a quarter. I almost tried to spend one by accident the other day. Maybe I should try them in the laundry although I probably only have three or four of them so it wouldn't save me much.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
52

Way back in the early 80s my a couple of English friends of my parents would buy huge bags of foreign coins from (I think) BT and sort them by hand. They'd then take the sorted coins on jaunts across the continent, turning them in at banks in the appropriate countries along the way. It was terribly time consuming but they turned a profit and considered the time spent sorting the coins as a bit of fun like doing a jigsaw puzzle or something. I could totally get into doing something like that. Sorting through fiddly little piles of coins with a glass of wine and some good company seems like a wonderful way to pass an evening.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
53

I feel like I definitely would have paid a $5 surcharge occasionally to avoid schlepping to the bank back when I was in this situation. Apparently I am just about the only person in America other than the guy who started this who thinks this? But finding time to go to the bank when it was open and when my life was arranged that way was genuinely inconvenient! Probably $5 worth of inconvenience of time and/or extra bus fare.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
54

You might also need more quarters for bus fare.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
55

53: But why not get them at the grocery store?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
56

Yeah, I think this is a good business, but I also think Yo is a good idea, so don't listen to me.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
57

I did actually live in one place with no quarter machine in the laundry room. I thought it made much more sense to head to the laundromat and do all my laundry simultaneously, than chug up and down the stairs to the clausterphobic little apartment laundry nook. I basically like laundromats a lot, though. They're bright, they have nice big tables where you can fold your laundry, they sometimes have mindless television on, they're often within walking distance of other stores, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
58

I think laundromats may be different where you are. The two closest to my last apartment were both pretty terrible. The one didn't meet your brightness or your big tables qualification, the other was so dirty that if you dropped something on the floor you'd want to wash it again.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
59

Well, I don't like that kind.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
60

All the time our customers ask us, "How do you make money doing this?" The answer is simple: volume.


Posted by: First Citiwide Change Bank | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
61

Isn't there usually a "massage parlor" upstairs of the sketchy ones too?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
62

The Subway by my house has a sketchy massage parlor above it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
63

There's a bar/laundromat in my neighborhood.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
64

The main reason I think it is sketchy is because it's over the Subway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
65

64: Would it seem more respectable if it was above a Jimmy John's? A Quizno's?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
66

My neighborhood doesn't have a Jimmy John's or a Quiznos. It used to have a Quiznos, but it turned into a Super Cuts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
67

I'd go to a laundromat instead of use the machines in my building if I could walk to a laundromat, but it's not at all easy to park near the building entrance and I'm not going to drag my clothing around in luggage if I'm not taking a trip.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
68

If you work on a college campus, there's usually a bank! And they'll happily give you quarters for bills at no charge. That was usually my strategy. But I don't think I've ever lived anywhere without a bank in very convenient walking distance of either my house or my work.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
69

The laundromat nearest our apartment has two signs reminding customers not to deal drugs, so I go to the hipster cafe/laundromat a little farther away, even though it's also more expensive.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
70

I might be mistaken about the signs. It's some subset of: {"no dealing drugs", "no violence", and "the management isn't responsible for bad things happening"}.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
71

Just because it says that there's no dealing drugs doesn't mean that you can't buy your drugs there. You just have to be a bit more discrete than at the other place.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
72

But selling drugs is how I get my quarters for laundry.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
73

When I open a chain of laundromats, the machines will accept debit cards.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
74

55: You can get a roll of quarters at a grocery store? Why?!


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
75

To do your laundry with, obviously.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
76

55: You can get a roll of quarters at a grocery store? Why?!

Based on my expeience in DC proper, probably not there. OTOH, in medium-sized cities and every suburb: sure.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
77

I'm with FoxyTail. It seems like an absurd service because you send money and they send back less money, but the question is how much is it worth to not have to go get the fucking quarters your forgot when you already have to shlep your goddamn laundry to the laundromat. And the answer to that question is: one million dollars.

Now I'll go google Yo.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:09 PM
horizontal rule
78

Oh, peep, we'll be in Peepville tomorrow. I'll wave if I pass a bar/laundromat!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-20-14 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
79

heebs, you're tripping: laundromats are soul-sucking dens of evil and I would often buy new underwear to avoid going when feasible. having a washer and dryer I didn't have to pay to use was, for me, like that scene in "gone with the wind" where scarlett's all "I'll nevah go hungray again!" pittsburgh-dwellers: you are not alone in your sufferings, and e'erywhere's got apartment buildings with coin-operated washers and dryers in the basement and no change machines. x. trapnel: ironically, one of nyc's longest-running drug sales locations was called "the laundromat" and you'd think it would have been a former laundromat but it was just a bricked-up walk-up on the LES. mr. smearcase: narnia has, indeed, fucked pennies. we compute in cents but only have 5c coins now.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 06-21-14 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
80

It was in the East Village (7th b/w B and C).


Posted by: lambchop | Link to this comment | 06-22-14 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
81

Because it's always a BOGF story: we lived together in a duplex with no machines, so I went to the laundromat and did all our laundering. Mostly to have an excuse to leave the house. I did like it better when they opened a really nice one next door to Moby's Arby's (which has since closed, and has been shuttered for, what, 10 years now?).

CMU used these little plastic tickets in the laundromats* that were alleged to melt in the machines, but that story never made sense.

*in fact I just remembered that I used the CMU laundries for years after graduation, because they were cheap, decently clean, and I'd sometimes see people I knew, or maybe use the gym. I stopped partly because the nice laundry opened, plus the last people I really knew graduated


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 06-23-14 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
82

81.1: It was open when I moved into my office on the next block. That was less than seven years ago.

I'm about to nr moved to the fancy, Arby-less, end of Oakland.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-14 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
83

I keep hearing the "DISRUPT! DISRUPT!" part in either Dalek or Cyberman voice.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-23-14 4:33 PM
horizontal rule