Thursday, December 03, 2009

coming clean

I finally succumbed to another luxury of Mexico.

In The States, I would never consider taking my laundry to a stranger. That would have been the moral equivalent of airing my dirty linen in public.

Oops. I guess that is literally what I did. (Notet to Joe Biden. This is what "literally" means.)

We were all taught from a young age how to use the washer and dryer, and how to fold and store clothes. Asking someone to do that for you would have been unthinkable. Lazy. Sybaritic. Just not done.

Well, after eight months of fighting the washing machine at the house on the beach, I surrendered. I had three weeks of laundry (starting with clothes from my two-week vacation), and I simply did not want to deal with a machine that manages to get grit in clothes after they are washed.

When my brother was here, he found a laundress two blocks from the house. That was in May. But I am a bit slower than my sainted brother. It took me a bit longer to get there, but I dropped off my large pile of laundry this morning.

She weighed it, asked me to fill out a claim form, and then showed me the price: 660 pesos -- due on pick up at 5 this afternoon. As I was driving away, I started thinking about that figure. It seemed just a bit high to me. That would be about $51 (US). Of course, there were lots of clothes, and they were really dirty.

The calculator she used had about six zeros following the 66. I just assumed the decimal point. 660 pesos seemed too high. But 66 pesos seemed ridiculously low (about $5 (US) for over a suitcase full of laundry.

For those of you who have used these services, you know the answer. The bill was 66 pesos. For the cost of an American magazine, she washed, dried, ironed, folded, and packaged three weeks of laundry.

This is a service I am going to use more often. My Protestant ethic will simply need to be readjusted. Certainly, I can do my laundry myself. But she does it better and it takes one camping inconvenience off of my things to do in Mexico.

Luxury or not. My laundress has a new customer.


Tancho said...

Rich Gringo!
That seems way too expensive, unless you happen to live in a tourist area. I think SMA is even cheaper....

Karen said...

Oh, I know what you mean, in our condo we put in a washer but no dryer so I have to hang clothes on the roof but I too found the laundry lady. I also felt a little odd about taking the laundry to someone else but got over that real it!!!! And it is usually done the same day, wow.

norm said...

I would do the same if I had a service as close in and cheap as you do. You give a local honest work, it is done better than what you can do and your retired. Enjoy...

Calypso said...

How much per kilo 8 pesos?

An advantage for light weight clothing ;-)

Anonymous said...

Good move...hard to beat the price not to mention the time it saves you to enjoy yourself in Mexico.
I've done my own laundry since I was 12 yrs. old...when I found the launderia in old town Vallarta I was dancing!!

sparks said...

I know ... you've lost a little weight and all the elastics are stretched from never using a dryer. For me, it's that or buy a new set of jockys every six months

Steve, with the savings you could buy her a new calculator and Xmas is coming soon

Anonymous said...

one of life's little luxuries which is very affordable in mexico. good for you!


Islagringo said...

Having your laundry done is not a luxury here. Sometimes it is a down right necessity. Especially when it has been raining for days and you can't hang anything out to dry. Use any method available to you to lessen your burden and stress factors.

Christine said...

IMHO Since you can afford it, it would be selfish not to. Providing services is how poor people support their families.

Chrissy y Keith said...

it's one of the luxuries I look forward to in Mexico. Although I do enjoy doing laundry, it's doing my part to help with the local economy.

Babs said...

Halleleuia, you're loosening up and getting into the rhythm. I don't have a washer or dryer and never again, hopefully, WILL have one. I've been sending mine out for 8 1/2 years now........that price is a little low in comparison to San MIguel - but they pick up and deliver. It's perfect every time!

CancunCanuck said...

Oh the joys of the lavanderia! The clothes always smell nicer, are folded better and are somehow whiter and brighter than when I wash them. We're renters so went for years without washer and dryer. When the day came that the parental units gave us the "gift" of washer/dryer, I must admit that I was grateful for their generosity but I was sad to have to give up the luxury of having someone do the clothes for me.

Enjoy, inhale those wonderful aromas and relax!

Charles said...

5 bucks for a whole suitcase full of clothes washed and pressed - that's not a luxury, that's a necessity! I agree with Christine - so much of the economy down there is service oriented - and I think it is important to support it in as many ways as one can. Good for you Steve - I'm even thinking of getting someone to cook homestyle Mexican cuisine 2 or 3 times a week when I get down there - that would be heaven to me.

Anonymous said...

Steve, What a deal!

Coincidentally, today I went to a laundromat here in Salem to wash a king size comforter that won't fit in my washing machine. I found out that it cost $4.75 for one load in their commercial size washer; drying it would have brought the total to probably around $6.00. For one comforter!!

I've decided to take it to the dry cleaners instead. I'll at least save myself the time I would spend doing it myself at the laundromat. $6.60 indeed - what a bargain you got!!!


Unknown said...

I loved the little old couple who ran a small laundry service when I lived in Comayagua. The service was affordable, dependable, and saved me so much time. I have a washer and dryer in Tegu but I think I rather the way I did it in C.

Anonymous said...

You sybaritic voluptuary pinche gringo!


After having read your blog for, what?, a couple years now, I can feel comfortable saying, "only Steve Cotton would have moral qualms about sending out the laundry."

As someone who sends out his shirts, and pays Boston prices, I was thinking, (midway through the post) "660 pesos? Is he nuts? I could get that laundry done in Boston for that much." I imagined harsh comments posted by Felipe, with intimations of gullibility. But then I read to the end and realized you weren't being taken to the cleaners; you were merely there.

And I'm glad for you that you only paid 66 pesos, and feel a bit bad for the woman that that's all she gets. But I'm sure she's happy (or at least content) to get the work, and it sounds like you didn't try to haggle her down.

So luxuriate in your new-found standard of ease, and we will look forward to the installments on you new butler and cook when the time comes.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where aside from business shirts, and dry-cleaned items, we do a heck of a lot of our own laundry.

Jonna said...

Oh Steve! You are such a protestant! I think living in a Catholic country will be very good for you. They handle guilt so much better and use so much less of it.

Steve Cotton said...

Tancho -- $66 (MX) expensive? I thought I was getting a steal. But you may be talking about that $660 figure.

Karen -- Whatever the laundress does to the dried clothes is a miracle. At home, all of mine came off of the line feeling like cardboard.

Norm -- You are correct. One less job for this retiree to worry about,

Calypso -- Most of the clothes I took to her were NOB for my trip to LA. My usual clothes down here are much lighter.

Francisco -- A good deal all the way round.

Sparks -- Good idea on the calculator. I actually have a spare I should donate to her.

Teresa -- A luxury now. Soon a necessity.

Islagringo -- I like the fact that the clothes are soft when dry -- unlike my line-dried stuff.

Chistine -- It is easily affordable. In fact, well worth the price.

Chrissy -- I have never enjoyed laundry. That explains why I let it pile up for a month at a time.

Babs -- I doubt I will go back.

CancunCanuck -- I did just that when I was putting the clothes away -- breathed deep.

Charles -- Cooking I enjoy. Laundry not so much.

Alee' -- I could find nothing like this in Salem. A great deal.

Laurie -- The new house has a washing machine. But I wll take my clothes to the laundress.

Kim -- I had my dress shirts launderd in Salem. But I would never have thought of having my underwear washed by the neighbor lady. I will now.

Steve Cotton said...

Jonna -- Guilt is one of those qualities I never acquired in my life. Duty maybe. But not guilt. Whatever it is, it is jettisoned in favor of the laundry lady.

Croft said...

Steve, it was one of those very rare transactions where both walk away happy. You because you got all your laundry done for (to you) a very reasonable price and her because she made enough to proudly feed her family for a couple of days. You are not in Oregon my friend. Life is different down here.