Washing machine wrinkles won’t wash with students

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Photograph by Paul Hannah

Last week, I was wholly planning on launching a vitriolic response to the article bemoaning the need to use top-up cards in the new launderettes. While I still believe that being unwilling to retain £10 on a card represents less than fantastic financial management skills, this is not what I am here to complain about today.

Up until this morning, I was wholeheartedly for the new top-up cards. They simplify the distressing event of having to do your washing. It is all very well to complain about locking up £10 in a laundry card, but realistically the vast majority of students are going to be using their cards on a regular basis.

That is, unless you fall foul of the payment system. With two weeks of washing building up and a misguided faith in the power of online payment, I went to top up my card this morning, only to be confronted by Paypal with the baffling notice that my card could not be verified, and that I should try another card. Being a student, I obviously have a range of credit and debit cards that I stash just in case my main account card is not working.

The top up card system was a success, then, until is began to rely on a student having the financial facilities of a fully paid adult. Or perhaps it was when it outsourced payment facilities to PayPal. In any case, I do not own more than one card, so therefore I am unable to pay to do my laundry.

Cash will never tell you that your payment method is invalid. In the unlikely eventuality that cash does notify you of such an error, it is also not going to have an incomprehensible contact system through which to complain.

It is fine to provide the Circuit top up card and the idea of paying online is a wonderful one that relieves the student of the stress of having to grub around for the exact change come washday. However, it would perhaps be more useful if the university had chosen or negotiated with the current company to allow students to top up with cash AS WELL AS card in order to avoid a standoff between student and machine. For now, if you walk past somebody smelling strongly of Febreeze, spare a thought for my plight.

Related content: New laundrette service does not cater to students.

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4 Comments

  1. Are the dryers still setting people’s clothes on fire, or have they invested money in that as well as this new system? My biggest memory of living on campus was waiting in Cartmel Laundrette for the one working machine out of 20 to be free.

  2. My biggest memory was the County south dryers not drying my clothes, and having to interview the Vice Chancellor on the radio smelling of damp.

  3. The Vice Chancellor smelled of damp?? 😛

    They always say the same thing- it’s an independant company and not the university’s problem. Can not the uni hold them to task? Does anyone know?

  4. He did after being stuck in a room with me for an hour.

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