Do not overload machines. Or underload machines. Load machines the exact right amount.
Customers are welcome to use the carts. They’re caked in hair from the last six people that used them. But don’t worry: Only five of them had lice. Our manager Jim would clean them, but he’s busy watching a cockroach crawl across his hand.
Please don’t leave laundry on any of the chairs, which we shaped oddly on purpose so they fuck up your posture. Someone spilled soda on them, probably because they were upset over their new hump.
A vending machine has been provided for your use. It has black Twizzlers, recalled Bugles, and something called “Beef Chews” that may or may not be for dogs.
Show respect for your fellow patrons, like the mouth-breathing man-spreader picking an elbow scab, or the squinting sourpuss with loud thoughts on interracial marriage. You may be asked to leave if your newfound contempt for humanity plays across your face.
Customers who are dropping off: Please hand your clothes to the twitchy old man who’s chomping at the bit to paw your undergarments. He’s an incel, but has never heard the term because he can’t work a computer. He chain-smokes, so your PJs will for sure come back with cigarette burns. Here’s hoping nicotine stains become fashionable!
We separate colors, so all shirts with stripes will be sliced into strips.
We’ve got plenty of hangers that in no way resemble the shape of the human torso. They’re somehow both boxy and sharp. Assuming they don’t tear through your sweaters outright, they’ll at the very least give the shoulders nipples.
Customers are not permitted to change the channel, though you’ll definitely want to. Up first is a Portuguese game show where people trade their teeth for inflatable guitars. The audience’s laughter will make you feel sad. Then we’ll flip to an infomercial where a leathery huckster urges you to “invest in gold.” He’ll be standing in front of a battleship dog-whistling about “dangerous forces tearing our country apart.”
Also, the TV is mounted precariously above the dryers. It’s fallen on five people, but it’s cool because the screen never breaks.
Customers are not authorized to ask why we run our business in such an irritating way. It’s quite simple: Your anger nourishes us.
We live to shrug when you complain that your Kindle got stolen. Tapping the “We are not responsible” sign without looking up from our paper is pure bliss. Watching security camera footage of your knee getting bashed by a dryer door is the only way Jim can make love to his wife.
We didn’t get into the laundry business for the money. We did it to perform cruel little social experiments on our fellow humans. Each week we make the aisles a little thinner just to see what happens. We toss a leaky pen into every third load to hurl humankind into the abyss.
And what are you going to do about it? Haul your sack of putrid clothing six more blocks to the next laundromat, which in all likelihood is just as unpleasant? We think not.
As Bubble Time’s owner, I create the reality you endure. For the next however many minutes until you realize none of the dryers work, you are my plaything to do with as I please. For I am the Serpent of Stress. The God of “God damn it!”