Washing machines are scary. Seriously, of all the machines I use on a daily basis, doing the laundry ranks among the scariest of all. I regularly get into lifts and get shot up to a height that could kill me if everything in the lift and back-up mechanisms failed and I fell. Yet I don’t even think twice about stepping into the box-on-string and hitting the button marked 23. But you must trust me here, I am not lying, washing machines are the spawn of the devil. Just the thought of having to wash clothes brings me out in a sweat…
Compare Indesit’s or Hotpoint’s latest offering to Apple’s iPod Nano, for example. Apple have produced a gadget that will play music with only a few simple touches of the thumb or finger. It can randomly play tracks from it’s memory and features other functions like games and calendars. You can use it in conjunction with your laptop and even download podcasts to one. It is a simple design with very few obstacles for the common user. Aside from the hold switch, it has a static circular control that is clickable at certain points, and one more button positioned in the middle of the circle. It is relatively straight forward.
The common washing machine on the other hand is an entirely different beast. In order to effectively wash my clothes, I have to know what they’re made of, how old they are, whether or not they are ‘worn in’ or ‘colour-fast’, what they’re being washed with, how heavy the load is and whether or not I want a variety of different types of ‘spin’. On top of that, there is the temperature to consider, along with the time factor and the cleaning agent used. Powder, liquid, tabs, conditioner (which apparently goes in partway through)…
Honestly, why is washing clothes so bloody hard? I’m sure it doesn’t have to be this frighteningly complex.
My television, a rather smart 28-inch LCD that is about 3 years old has very basic controls on the set itself. Admittedly, the remote has more buttons than I’m sure is necessary, but it will do a lot of things with very few clicks. It will also remember my favourite settings making its use even more straight forward. My washing machine on the other hand does not. Each time I want to do the washing, I have to consider everything from scratch – a lot of brain power goes into making these decisions and one small error could lead to shrunken or discoloured clothes.
My father used to ask my elder brother how to program the VCR when they first become a regular household item, and I used to mock him for it. But now, having grown up myself, I understand why some technology is just ridiculously complex. The symbols on the washing machine’s dials are unfathomable and the instruction manual is no better.
What I need is an iWasher. A device that has very few controls. A machine that will tell me how it thinks my clothes should be washed, and will remember certain presets for the future. The controls need to be in plain English and simple enough to not warrant a phone call to the manufacturers helpline, or an hours read through the manual. I mean honestly, have you ever read the instructions to you iPod!?