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Everyone hates doing their washing. Although using the washers and dryers at Lancaster is significantly cheaper than at other universities, it can be confusing, particularly if you’re not used to doing your own washing at home (I still never know how much detergent to use). Besides being initially perplexing, it is so much of an effort to pile all your dirty laundry into a bag, drag it all the way to the laundrettes, then wait around for at least half an hour , before then waiting around for another half an hour if you want to use the tumble-dryer. It’s arguably easier, for those of us with the luxury of not living too far away from home, to let the laundry pile up and then take it home to be washed – that’s certainly what I’ve been doing! Avoiding peak times is also a major issue. As a Bowlander, my nearest laundrette, County South, is tiny compared to some of the others, with fewer washing machines than tumble-dryers for some unfathomable reason. Annoying if, like me, the majority of your clothes say ‘do not tumble-dry’. Further, there isn’t even any room to sit down, except for a very uncomfortable window sill. It’s definitely a challenge to avoid busy times whilst still finding a convenient time for you. So far, I’ve had to resort to getting up early on a Tuesday morning to do all my washing before my eleven o’clock lecture, when the laundrette is deserted.
Perhaps finding a convenient and quiet time to do the laundry is why there’s been such a negative attitude to the closing of the laundrette in Cartmel College overnight. Instead of being open and freely available 24 hours a day, the doors will now be locked at 11pm, potentially causing inconvenience to many students. Both Furness and Pendle already close at 11pm, whilst the smaller laundrettes like those in County and Grizedale remain open. With such high rents for accommodation, even higher tuition fees and the expense of using the laundrette itself anyway, should we expect the laundrettes on campus to be constantly available?
Despite all the trials and tribulations of doing the washing, I would argue not. Yes, there are issues concerning peak times, and yes some would expect a constant service after the amount of money we’re spending, but is it really necessary to do washing at night? I don’t know about anyone else, but I would much rather be snuggled up in bed than stuck in the laundrette. Some students may be virtually nocturnal, but surely we can find better things to do at night than washing our clothes!
Perhaps it’s the disparity between the bigger laundrettes closing overnight but the smaller ones remaining open that has angered uses of the laundrette in Cartmel. Surely this can’t be right. If some laundrettes are going to close overnight, why not all of them? It would be fairer considering the irritatingly specific top-up card system that restricts you to using one laundrette only. We all pay the same amount to do our washing, and we should all expect the same amount of availability. The question is, though, just what that availability should be: 24 hours or during the day only? As far as I’m concerned, during the day there is plenty of time to be doing the laundry, even if it means visiting the laundrette between lecture hours. Just think of the waste of electricity if the laundrettes were to stay open overnight, with bright lights on at three o’clock in the morning when most students are either in bed or out partying. Surely nobody would want to be doing their washing at that time; it makes sense to close the laundrette overnight.
What needs to be addressed is the continuity of the laundry service across campus. It isn’t right that some laundrettes are closed and some aren’t during the night; a decision needs to be made to cover them all, whether it means reopening or closing them all at night. We’re all paying similar sums of money for our accommodation, and the same amount for doing the washing. We might all be in different colleges, but when it comes to the laundrettes, we should expect the same level of service across campus.