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We had to buy a new washing machine recently. The old one had reached the stage of doing the old squealing like a stuck pig, leaking soapy water all over the floor and leaving the clothes soggy, trick. Yeah, it’s a tedious party piece. Of course, because there’s an engineer in the house, we had to run through the trick more than once, you know, just to make sure it wasn’t a one-off.

Right after the engineer had mopped up, the non-engineer in the house informed me (that is, the engineer) that replacing the washer on its own wasn’t going to cut it, we needed a washer and a dryer (which, of course, got the sock vote too).

Minutes later we head out, credit card tightly grasped. I didn’t do a completely scientific appraisal of the market for washing machines, but there are roughly a gazillion different types. All of them advertising that our lives will be immeasurably changed, butterflies will swirl in happy dances over our heads, and bunny rabbits will line the streets as we pass by (boy, was my journey home a disappointment, but I digress).

We walked the aisles, admiring row after row of white boxes adorned with buttons, lights, and copious advertising. It was a difficult decision. I mean, how do you compare eco-friendly, low temperature wash capabilities with another which has a picture of a duck holding an umbrella? And what about self-leveling feet (the washing machine, not the duck)? Are they more important than a little blue light that turns on at the end of the spin cycle? Oh, accursed decisions.

Eventually we determine there are expensive white boxes and cheap white boxes. Now, you may call me Mr Middle of the Road, but we chose the average price ones. They were made by Samsung, looked like they had something of a grin on their faces, and bore a sign encouraging us to “Imagine the Possibilities.”

Now, I’m not trying to boast, I think my imagination is ok, but I stared long and hard at “Imagine the Possibilities,” and the only (printable) thing that came to me involved dirty laundry going in and clean clothes coming out (less the odd vacationing sock). The thing that swung it in the Samsung’s favor was the note on the front that they were quieter than the competition, and we “don’t call me middle of the road”, middle-of-the-roaders, like quiet.

The next day the washer and dryer were installed. The old ones were dragged away to silicon heaven (along with all the packaging) and we stood, dirty laundry in hand, still trying to “Imagine the Possibilities.”

So, what of the washer? Yes, it washes very quietly – no stuck pigs, leaking water, or soggy washing – and everything is cleaned to perfection. The dryer? That’s a success too; warm air and gentle tumbling leaves our clothes feeling soft and fluffy. It’s all very good, in a no sign of butterflies, bunny rabbits, or ducks with umbrellas sort of way. (I’m still a tad miffed about that bit).

Despite disappointment on the fluffy animal front, I now fully understand the meaning of “Imagine the Possibilities” – at least when Samsung applies it to a washer and dryer. I have to admit, I’m in awe of their superior imagination, or at least in the lengths their imagination will go to, in the laundry appliance world.

These machines ding, dong and bleep at every opportunity (and, I’m sure, at times that aren’t at all opportune). They’re a cross between Motley Crue, an angst filled teenager with a new cell phone, and the London Philharmonic B team. There isn’t a button you can press without being greeted with a few bars of something to let you know you pressed that button. Even the OFF button sets in motion a few stanzas before turning out the lights. If you should ignore the end-of-cycle aria, you get a chorus every few minutes until you finally open the door. But just as you think you’ve shut the *&^%$ thing up, you find out that Samsung “Imagined the Possibility” of a tune to go with opening the door.

With all this enforced musicality, there was a suggestion in the household that I should put a sock in it. Needless to say, that caused a bit of a riot, and I had to go bare foot for a couple of days until things calmed down.

Just in case you think I’m exaggerating, I’ll leave you with a rendition of The Trout Quintet, by Franz Schubert.

Or as Samsung knows it, the twenty-eight second end of wash signal.



(Image courtesy of Lowes)

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