So, recently I had to buy a washer. Okay, didn’t have to, but while we’re between houses, it is a great convenience. We decided to make this our difficult move, so that hopefully after the house sells and we buy another we can have an easy move, in which someone packs us and unpacks us at the other end. That means this is the move where we go through the accumulation of stuff we’ve been dragging with us for years and get rid of most of it.
It also means having a washer at the house we’re moving to and the one we’re moving out of is helpful. At the first because it’s now the basis of operation. At the other because we’re cleaning stuff to donate, stuff to pack, stuff to use for staging (curtains, bedspreads and such.) Also because one of the boys will be staying there till it sells, of course.
So, we needed to buy a cheap washer. I tried buying a used one, but it gave up the ghost after four washes.
So we’ve been going through adds and trying to find something on sale, the point being “as cheap as possible” or “on a no interest for x years, no payment for x months payment plan” in the hopes that once we sell the house we can just pay it.
A little over a week ago we went to the store for paint and while there strayed over to the washers. They had one that was ridiculously, almost painfully cheap. So cheap it hadn’t been on any of their brochures or on their website. Beyond simplistic, it has three wash settings and a few buttons. You can’t even choose extra rinse, though you can dial to that point and run it again.
This was a concern, because I have eczema, which means the slightest bit of detergent left on clothes and I’ll react by opening sores all over. Those who’ve seen me in the middle of an outbreak know why I put three to four extra rinses on my clothes.
So we ambled over to look at an almost double the cost washer which had the ability to program extra rinses.
The saleswoman joined us at that point and we explained our dilemma.
She looked at the cheap washer and said, “Well, this one has no water saving measures, so it will use lots and lots of water.”
At which point I said, “Sold. When can you deliver it?”
She looked shocked and said, “Maybe you didn’t understand. This washer will cost you lots of money in water.”
“I understood you perfectly. This washer will save me time and money. When we first got married we were more broke than anyone, and we needed a washer, a dryer and a fridge. We got them at a scratch and dent sale [I thought it was Sears, but husband says it’s GE.) A tent sale which defrayed payment for a year before installments started. We saved for a year and made exactly one payment, in full, no interest needed.] It was a basic washer, no frills, and it was before water saving measures. It washed everything for 14 years, including the days of three loads of diapers a day. Neither I nor the kids ever had a contact rash from detergent OR softener, which I used. For the last sixteen years we’ve had expensive , top of the line, water saving washers. I’ve also had to discard clothes that have permanent can’t remove stains. And I have to rinse each load three to six times, or I get eczema.”
Saleswoman, smug, “You’re using too much detergent.”
Me, “Listen, we were down to two teaspoons for a large load, then we started using the pellets which at least clean the clothes, though they still take all this rinsing.”
“Oh, I don’t like the pellets and you’re still using too much detergent.”
Son, who is a chemist, “Ma’am, with all due respect, soap is the agent that cleans the clothes. If you eliminate it completely, unless you wash in boiling water, you’re going to have wet but dirty clothes.”
“But the cheap washer will cost you lots of water,” the woman says, looking as if she’s going to cry. “Think of the environment.”
“I am. My environment is improved by clean clothes and water and time savings.”
“But the water.”
“What do you think I rinse the clothes in when I program extra rinses? Plus each load takes a good two hours.”
“But that washer is bad for the environment.”
Which is when I realized I was in the presence of a true believer whose mind would not be dented by facts. I let Dan lead her to the computer and make up the order, and older son has nicknamed me “She who makes washer saleswomen cry.”
So, what is the point of this? If it were just a funny story about buying a washer, I might still tell it, but it’s not.
Look, the problem is that we are being ruled (and yep, ruled, not governed) by a group of people who, like the saleswoman, think the intention is the thing.
We’ll leave aside for a moment the need or wisdom for water/electricity/etc. saving. First, in Colorado water is expensive so saving it is always a good idea. Second, that is not what their measures are achieving.
Take our first exposure to water saving toilets, twenty some years ago. We built a new bathroom and needed a toilet and the only ones for sale were “water saving.” What this meant in practical fact was that I acquired a new hobby: flushing the toilet.
The toilet worked (supposedly) with half the water, but it took four flushes to get anything, even a little bit of toilet paper, down. Do the math. I was expending twice as much water, and a lot of time and frustration. (We quickly switched to air assist. After the experience.)
In the same way, our current dishwasher complies with water and electricity saving measures. This means to achieve the same temperature, it has a thick coat of insulation ALL around. Which means it takes half the dishes at a time. Again, do the math. I have to run it for twice as long, which means no savings.
It has an additional unamusing quirk. Every time you wash, you have to select hot wash and sanitizing. Otherwise it just sloshes some water at the dishes and calls it done. We didn’t figure this out for five years which means for five years we conducted a study in epidemiology. I mean, guys, even in the village, when we were poor as Job, grandma boiled water for the final dish rinse to be as hot as possible. Otherwise you not only get not really clean dishes, you get to share the germs of everyone whose dishes go in the same water.
Then there’s the washer. The first we bought was the Neptune, years and years ago, which was so water saving it developed mold and mildew.
The current one recycles the water, so it washes better, but the rinses must happen, and the rinses, again, make it use the same water as anything else. All the low-water washers need a lot of rinses.
“But Sarah, you have a condition that makes you sensitive to detergent. Other people don’t.”
Granted. Which is why there hasn’t been an uprising with pitchforks, or at least washing mangles, yet. Because for the last five years I’ve been a slave to that washer and I’ve always been behind in the wash to the point that we ended up buying four times the clothes we needed, because the wash was bound to be backed up. When each load takes a minimum of two hours (the boys also react to detergent) and you have 14 or so loads a week (not counting cats peeing on Robert’s bed – yes, always his bed. Don’t know why) things slow to a crawl.
And the answer “Oh, you need to use less detergent.” BUT the cleaning went down in proportion to the detergent going down.
I’m not going to talk to other “eco friendly” measures or not extensively. I don’t have the personal experience to.
I do, however, know that the curly lightbulbs were a fiasco. I know that attempts to wish into existence energy by means other than fossil fuels are either failures or scams (Solyndra) and I know that the “enhanced” with “fillers” gas destroys cars, so that they have to be replaced sooner. Now, I’m not an expert, but I’d guess the manufacturing process causes more pollution than just burning regular gas.
So why do they keep passing ever more and more restrictive laws, demanding the thing we use for everyday living meet THEIR standards which as far as I can tell they pull from air?
I think it’s the arrogant certainty that if they keep whipping the dead horse it will get up and pull the load. Or in other words, they’re sure that the only reason they’re not getting what they want is that some mean person is holding it back from them, and if they demand it loud enough and now with more laws, it will eventually be given.
Think of them as the kid throwing himself to the floor in the candy isle and screaming for candy, refusing to hear his mother’s answer that she has no money. That’s about what they are: tyrannical, demanding, infantile and blind to reality.
And of course, when reality fails to comply with their dreams, they just scream louder. Or in this case, they pass laws which distort the simplest facts of daily living for the rest of us.
How long are we going to be hostage to brats who are unable to realize laws don’t cause reality to happen and words have no force to change facts of life?
How long till we get tired of being forced to do household chores inefficiently and paying for it in both time and money, without any appreciable benefit to anyone.
Eric Scheie over at Classical values, when I blogged there, had a post about there being a war on things that work.
He was right, though the intent is “creating a world where things work the way bureaucrats want them to” – which mostly means in defiance of scientific fact.
It is time to take back science, and common sense too.
And in the meantime, we can make washer saleswomen cry!