Captain Frugal Versus Laundry… Fight!

In the basement of Casa de TTE, there are four washing machines.

Over the weekend, one of the washing machines went on the blink. Then on Monday, the company that owns the machines replaced the broken one. But there’s a catch. The new machine costs $0.25 cents more per load!

You choose, $1.25 or $1.50 for a load of washing

I can tell you I have no intention of paying $1.50 for a load of washing. But what about my cohabitants?

Will the more expensive machine be ignored like the vanilla flavour in a tub of neapolitan ice cream? Or, will the more expensive machine be used preferentially because people assume it will deliver a better wash?

I have devised a plan to find out. I will leave a (clean) sock in the more expensive machine. If I check on the status of the sock a few times each day, I will get a rough idea of how frequently the machine is used.

What do you think will happen?

PS. I just went down stairs to put my sock in the washing machine and it is the only one full of clothes… Go figure!

9 thoughts on “Captain Frugal Versus Laundry… Fight!”

  1. By my clever extrapolation of %’s on your poll, I have deduced that I am only the second person to respond. I am also, currently, the only one who thinks you’re an indiot.


  2. I don’t really know how your sock plan will work, though: if your sock is not there when you check, (or it’s there, but wet), the machine has been used at least once. you really need a sock in each machine, to see which one is used more – and enough socks to replace each one when it eventually (or more likely immediately) gets mixed up in someone elses washing and disappears. captain frugal will quickly run out of socks, methinks. perhaps an economics faculty somewhere will give you a “sock grant” to carry on your research? otherwise, how’s that 25c looking?


  3. It could be that they are benign in their pricing model.

    ie. all the old machines are fully depreciated and now the price just reflects their costs of servicing and management, whereas the new machine require represented a new capital outlay that they had to recoup.

    Alternatively, they could be exploiting a classic information asymmetry – tenants do not know if the new machine performs any differently to the old machine, an may be tempted into paying more to find this out. The new machine may run quicker, clean better, or be more energy efficient (surely a key concern of lefty East Bay residents). but it may be identical to the old machines and they are just fleecing you.


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