Live and Learn, Any Day Given

A Washing Machine is not A Waiting Machine

A Washing Machine is not A Waiting Machine

There’s this thing that annoys me somehow. What is? The people who leave their clothes in the washing or drying machines at laundromat unattended – and don’t return to collect their belongings before/on time.

Be Sensible, Please

You go to a laundromat. A Self-service launderettes. With all your dirty unwashed clothes. A basket-full. There’s a guy there, sitting on a bench at a table, reading newspapers, waiting for the dryer machine to stop spinning. Six washing machines, front load, with ’14 kg maximum capacity’ written on each of the machines. Three of them are occupied. You choose an empty machine, and you start filling it up with your clothes.

Your basket now is clear. To the token machine you go and insert a couple of Rm10 into the money slot. A downpour of silver-coloured coin-like tokens in the token slot. You grab them in a bunch, and return to the washing machine. Carefully, you insert the tokens one by one. On the display panel the machine instructs you to press start. So you press.

25 minutes. The time showed on the digital panel. That’s how long the machine takes to wash, rinse, spin your clothes. A to Z programmed to make your life much easier. You look at the man at the table. He’s now staring at his cellphone. Probably reading some more news. Or messages. Or scrolling his Instagram timeline and feeds. It’s 1.12 in the afternoon. You don’t feel like spending 25 minutes of your precious lifespan there. So you walk in the direction you came in, with multiple names and images of food and meals in your head. A young lady arrives with two big buckets of clothes.

Be Responsible, Please

The chicken rice was okay, you tell yourself. Of course, you have tasted a better version before. But the Nescafe was really nice. So you go to the counter, and pay for the food. As you walk, you press your thumb lightly on the screen of your phone, unlocking it in 0.3 seconds. It’s 1.57 p.m.

When you reach the laundromat, you realize that all four dryers are in use, as well as five washing machines – spinning and tumbling clothes dutifully. But there’s one washing machine that is not doing anything. two laundry baskets full of clothes are lining behind an empty basket. And you have nine pairs of eyes on you.


taking turn to use washing machines
washing machines at the laundry | image via absolutecleaning

It’s Called Washing Machine, not Waiting Machine

Look. Nobody’s gonna stop you from going anywhere. No person in his/her sane mind will scold you for leaving your clothes being washed in the machine unattended. Be about your business. But since the machines are for public use, do bear in mind that other people may want, or even need, to use the facilities too.

Yes, there were like.. only two, three people. Assuming that the place will be as empty as it was when you return, is rightfully wrong.

You may leave your clothes there. No problem. No one will kacau your clothes. Let the machine do its job. But do us (society) a favour; note and remember the duration estimated for one complete cycle of washing. And look at your watch. If you don’t wear a watch, look at your phone. Don’t find excuses when there’s none required. Now do your maths. 20 minutes or 30 minutes from the beginning of the washing or drying process, the machine will stop. By right, you MUST be there within the said duration to unload your now washed/dried clothes.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

So what happens if you’re not there by the time the washing machine stops working? Two possibilities may take place.


  1. People wait for you to come and collect your load.
    • Patiently, angrily, forcefully… I don’t know. You won’t know. But from that squinting eyes, or the rolling eyes or the no-look expression, you know it’s best for you to at least apologize for being late. Don’t give crappy excuses, and you shall escape the laundromat along with your clothes, unharmed. Okay la maybe with a gentle reminder. Unless they deliberately speak their hearts out loud – you might ‘kena basuh’ dearly.
  2. People ‘help you’ unload your clothes.
    • Not everybody has all the time in the world for you. You cannot blame anyone for taking your kain baju out and put them in a bakul or somewhere. Yes your principle is nobody touches your stuff. But by violating other people’s right to use the facility when it’s available, all your personal selfish principle and claims are obsolete, effective immediately. So you ought to be grateful for finding your clothes “miraculously” in your basket next to a bench at the waiting area, rather than scattering all over the place on the floor, becoming doormats. You might as well ‘kena basuh’ dearly.


In this case, “better late than never” is not applicable. So don’t you ever try to console any of the people who are – directly, especially – affected by your inconsiderate action. There are times where laughter is the best medicine. Also, there are times where you might painstakingly retrieve physical punches and emotional ripoffs. My advice is, be sensible, be responsible, be considerate. Trust me, your future self will thank you for practicing such exclusive traits.

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