I’ve always loved vintage ads; there’s something so simplistic and quaint about them. But when it comes to vintage homemaking – and in particular, laundry duty – all the charm goes out the window faster than you can say “rinse cycle.”
Quite frankly, it would have sucked royally to be on laundry duty around the turn of the century. So unappealing was the task that it was actually dubbed ‘Blue Monday,’ which gave salute to the drudgery of the process. Back then, laundry entailed the heating and hauling of water, not to mention scrubbing items by hand. In a brief history of the washing machine’s development, the Museum of Science and Technology refers to how a woman “exposed her hands to water, extreme temperatures, and caustic cleaning agents like lye, sal soda, lime, and borax.” Good times, indeed.
Fast-forward to the 1950s and automatic washing machines were coming into fashion in the average household. While they were certainly revolutionary, I have to chuckle at the lofty promises depicted by some of the ads (such as the one on the right), suggesting convenience and “pleasure” for the shapely housewife, perched on top of the machine and enjoying the ride. Pah-leeese!
Looking back, I definitely have an appreciation for the modern washing machine; even moreso since ours broke down just over two weeks ago. You seriously don’t realize how much you depend on having a washing machine till it breaks.
The situation has been made worse – much worse – by the fact that our washer was purchased at the Brick. If you’ve never made the grave error of purchasing an appliance at the Brick, let me take a moment to heartily congratulate you on a life well lived. You see, while our machine is less than a year old and covered under warranty, the Brick has still given us the total run-around. Since I placed the initial call to customer service 18 days ago, here are a few of the “highlights” of our experience as customers of the Brick:
- A repairman was scheduled to show up “between 9 and 5” on a PD Day. After cancelling plans for a fun movie outing, I spent the day at home with the kids – only to have the repairman arrive at 4:45 p.m.
- Bearing a striking resemblance to an asthmatic version of Jerry Gergich from Parks and Recreation, our repairman spent approximately 30 seconds looking at our washing machine before announcing that he “really didn’t know what was wrong.” That’s just super, Jerry.
- The following week – week #2 with no washing machine – several calls to pinpoint a subsequent appointment for repairs prove utterly fruitless. One phone agent at the Brick decides to “put a rush” on our repair – over a week after the initial call is made.
- I make multiple trips to the laundry rooms of friends and neighbours – hauling laundry by car and on foot – while my husband, Ian, takes over phone and social media operations.
- On day #16, Ian harasses the Brick via Twitter. He receives responses, each followed by the ironic hashtag, “#thebrickcares.” He tweets back, “Don’t patronize me.”
- After an in-depth conversation with the Brick’s “manager of customer service” – during which she threatens to delete our work order and make us deal directly with General Electric – we receive a call that our washing machine will be replaced. No date is provided for the replacement.
It’s clear that while the washing machine itself may have evolved over time, customer service at the Brick will bomb you right back to the Stone Age. So much for modern progress.