Laundry Is a Problem That Will Never Be Solved
Humanity has yet to solve the problem of making our clothes dirty and having to wash them over and over, until we die, but in the meantime, there are some dudes who think they have a new idea that will save everything, or, barring that, at least make them rich. According to Jessica Pressler’s profile of them in New York Magazine, they are like, demolishing laundry:
Metzner scoured TaskRabbit, the website on which the broke and eager underbid one another for the chance to do tasks for the moneyed and lazy, to see what services were most in demand. A lot of people, it turned out, wanted someone to do their laundry. “That spoke to me,” says Metzner, whose father sells discount clothing to retailers like T.J. Maxx and bestows on him a great deal of overflow, a luxury that inevitably becomes a burden. “I hate doing laundry,” Metzner says. “It’s my worst.”
What if, Metzner proposed to Dulanto, they started a service where people could order their laundry picked up and delivered on their smartphones? Kind of like, he said, “the Uber of laundry?”
My first thought is, doesn’t this already exist? There is a laundromat in my neighborhood whose website I have bookmarked despite the very convenient URL: COMECLEAN.IT. It is expensive but the nice man comes to my door and we talk about the weather and he replaced my laundry bag when it broke once. There is no app, though. I have never exactly wanted an app for this. Opening up my computer to demand someone come to my home and pick my laundry up never seemed like too much work, but what do I know?
Here is what they have to say about that:
In urban centers like New York and Chicago, many places offer delivery already. But: “The laundry and dry-cleaning industry, it’s all, like, old people,” says Dulanto in the nose-wrinkling manner of someone for whom aging is still an abstract concept. “They’re not tech savvy, and they still put up those really ugly stickers with that ’90s clip art.”
I mean yes but WHO CARES? I am not paying this kind man to design a website. I am paying him around $30 with tip to carry my laundry to his car, drive it around the block to his laundromat, and do my damn laundry. What I do not want, out of sheer principle, is to pay is a middle man with access to Photoshop (even one that gives me cookies with my laundry which, yes):
Of course, they wouldn’t have to actually do the washing. That they would outsource: to wholesalers, maybe, the types of cleaners used by hotels. They’d charge $1.60 a pound, and though they’d lose part of the margin, they could avoid the costs of rent and expensive machinery. And if they hired drivers on the Uber model — people who used their own cars and their own phones — there would be no need to buy and maintain vehicles. They’d just be the middleman, organizing the transaction and taking a slice of the profit — which, admittedly, was not huge with wash-and-fold. But once they had the laundry, the dry-cleaning would follow. Profits are higher on dry-cleaning, because who knows what dark alchemy is required to remove stains? No one, and everyone is willing to pay a premium to stay uninformed.
Silicon Valley, please focus your time and your funds on developing self-replicating underwear, or socks that don’t need to be cleaned, or some shit like that. Thank you.
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