Sunday, August 8, 2010

Other College Expenses: Now Laundry?

Work goes on apace as we work on our project College Cooking Crash Course, which will save you time and also money in your daily eating activity.

As we all know--or as you are about to know--there are loads of other costs as well. I read something the other day on the incidental costs of college. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read it, so I can't provide a link. Suffice it to say that some ridiculous enormous sum was floated. I mean ENORMOUS. I can't resist what is perhaps an OT view of one expense: laundry.

My daughter--AKA Lucy Marmalade--is proud to say that she didn't do her laundry in the dorm a single time last year. Don't recoil in horror! It just so happened that she visited us sufficiently (dirty laundry in duffel bag) to avoid the laundry room. Perhaps this is a family tradition. Her late Nana Virginia recounted sending (yes, MAILING) dirty laundry from Carleton College in Minnesota to her mother, Faith, in Chicago. Nana Faith sent it back, ironed and folded.

No one does that anymore, right? In fact, a commonly proffered "good gift for graduates" idea is laundry bag, bundle of quarters, and detergent. This may also be archaic (kind of like the typewriter for graduates of yore): I think most college machines take student plastic cards now.

Still, some parents must worry about how their scholars are keeping up with laundry. Yesterday, I received in the mail an offer for the University Laundry Service. Smiling (CLEAN) students are pictured: Saving Students up to 120 hours a year, says the brochure.

The brochure lists a 10 step-process that must be akin to what Nana Faith did, including pulling socks straight, pairing socks, immediately removing clothes from dryer and meticulously folding, folding socks, and, finally, shrink wrapping in plastic. Well, Nana Faith didn't do that. This partial list includes all the things I don't do, having slacker laundry habits. Of course, I don't spend 120 hours a year on laundry.

So, what is the cost for this service? 10 pounds a week is $324/semester or $598/year. The MOST POPULAR 20 pounds a week is $374/semester or $698/year. And the grand 30 pounds a week plan is $424/semester or $798/year. PLUS TAX.

Note that a year is a school year, maybe 8 months? With the MOST POPULAR PLAN, including tax, you are spending almost $100 per month on laundry.

The little slogan is "STEP BY STEP of our MOTHER'S TOUCH." Of course my frugal kids burst out laughing at that one: this is way more luxurious than their mother's touch. PLUS, they noted, why MOTHER'S?


  1. o dear o dear o dear! What price laziness?

    Let's see. Ponying up six or eight hundred bucks is going to save you 120 hours over a nine-month period. Just think of how much studying you could get done while sitting in the laundromat during those 120 hours!

    By golly, frugality will make you an A student.

    When I was a young wife and truly, truly hating many aspects of married life, I had the idea of consigning our clothes to a laundromat whose proprietor, for like fees, would do the washing for his customers. This sounded so much better than hauling basketsful of laundry up and down the concrete steps (on which I had fallen one day while bearing heavy bags of groceries and had damn near broken a foot) and so much better than having to sit around the dirty, un-airconditioned apartment-house laundry room that it almost made sense. Almost.

    I tried it.

    Holy mackerel! Ten pounds of laundry is nothing. It'll barely cover a woman's nylon undies. A pair of blue jeans -- one pair -- can weigh almost five pounds. If your man wears jeans or khakis, you'll soon find yourself paying for thirty pounds of laundry a week.

    After the first and last experiment, in which the cost ballooned to a bill three or four times what I estimated, I never hired anyone to do my laundry again.

  2. I don't think most people realize how heavy laundry is.

    The service is also available to faculty!!! And they will do your dry cleaning, for an extra fee.

    The school does get a cut of all this, so, in that sense, it's not totally terrible.

  3. What!? The school gets a cut from ripping off the students?

    Hm... I wonder how much the Great Desert University (granddaddy of all rippers-off of students) rakes off bookstore sales....