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RIP Washboard

The company Washboard launched just recently. The concept was that it was a subscription service for quarters. If you paid them $15 every month, they'd send you $10 in quarters in return. Most people, they assumed, would use the quarters at laundromats.

The company lasted less than two weeks before calling it quits. They ran into problems with their payment processor. Also, by their own admission, reactions to the concept were "mostly bad".

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jul 01, 2014 | Number of Comments: 15
Category: Business
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Comments
Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
Where do people come up with these kind of bad ideas? Didn't they do due diligence and maybe visit a coin-op laundry? If they had they would have discovered a machine on the wall that renders their business model obsolete. It's called the change machine and if you put in $15 in bills it gives you $15 in quarters on the spot no fee! LOL cool smile
Posted by Tyrusguy on 07/01/14 at 10:52 AM
Sorry, that should be perform due diligence! He said do due! LOL! LOL cool smile
Posted by Tyrusguy on 07/01/14 at 10:56 AM
A good 'con' man 'may' get your money; but this is beyound stupid!
Posted by BMN on 07/01/14 at 11:23 AM
Such is the lot of the mathematically challenged "graduating" from the public school system ("public" as applies to the U.S.).

This "company" deserves all the mockery it receives. And Chris Caleb should take it all without complaint.
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 07/01/14 at 01:11 PM
@BMN: C'mon you've been around here long enough that you should KNOW that there ain't on "beyond stupid".

This worked many a moon ago.

Cigargs
5cents each
or
4 for a quarter
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/01/14 at 01:37 PM
The odds of finding a change machine that accepts debit/credit cards is slim. Some people just don't carry cash these days. Going to the bank can be a major hassle in some areas, and with bank transaction fees, using an ATM can be as expensive as this.

What gets me is the $10 in quarters. It usually costs me $40-60 each time I hit the laundromat.

When I visited a friend, I couldn't help noticing the "No Quarters" signs on so many apartment doors. My friend explained that the change machine in the laundry room hadn't worked in several months, and people were tired of their neighbors begging quarters at all hours of the day and night.
Posted by Phideaux in his own little world on 07/01/14 at 03:27 PM
Or go to the bank and get 10 worth of quarters for $10. Gotta be smarter than that to score on a scam.
Posted by patty in Ohio, USA on 07/01/14 at 10:08 PM
I think substance abuse contributed to this piece of rocket science.
Posted by Harvey on 07/01/14 at 11:53 PM
@patty -- I know someone who doesn't have a car -- it's a $9 taxi ride each way every time she has to go to a bank. There's an ATM sort-of within walking distance, but between her bank's out-of-network fee and the ATM's fees, it's at least $4 every time she uses it.

To help with budgeting, she needs a record of where her money goes, so she uses only her debit card and doesn't carry cash.

For laundry day, her usual method is to go to a store, use a debit card to buy something that meets the $10 minimum, and get some cash back.

But more and more stores around here are tired of being used as banks and are placing limits on it. For "security reasons" (i.e. they don't like having to keep large amounts of cash in the drawer), my favorite grocery store now has a $15 maximum cash back policy.

The laundromat I usually use has four change machines. In ten years, I've never seen all of them working at the same time. Usually it's just one or two, and often none. And it's one of the better ones in the area.

One taxi company was nice in that if they took you to a laundromat, you could add "other fee" when you swiped your card, and they'd give it to you as rolls of quarters. But they stopped doing that after getting robbed a couple of times because they didn't want a driver killed for the sack of quarters.

It has to be hard to carry your laundry six blocks and then find you can't wash it because the change machines are empty and have to carry it back home undone.

The Washboard service would be a godsend for such people. The 50% fee is totally outrageous, of course, but I don't know what their payment processors and delivery service cost them so they might have thought it was justified.

But it has to be a really, really small market. Of all the people I know about, I can think of two who would benefit from it and another two who might use it. And this is in an area which probably has a much higher than average rate because it's miles between banks (unless you're in the center of town), no stores will sell you rolls of coins, and most of the laundromats on the edge of town are poorly maintained (i.e. change machines not filled or repaired regularly).
Posted by Phideaux in his own little world on 07/02/14 at 12:59 AM
@Phideaux - Patty usually washes her and subbies clothes by putting them on in a rain storm with some Walmart brand detergent.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 07/02/14 at 01:19 AM
I haven't been to a laundromat in many years, but I'm under the impression that many of them use payment cards rather than coins these days.
Posted by ges on 07/02/14 at 10:40 AM
The only guys I know of that have made that business model (You get $10, but it will cost you $15) work are the ones at the IRS.
Posted by tadchem on 07/02/14 at 02:15 PM
SWEDEN: There are no commercial laundrymats because all apartment buildings have free laundryrooms for the tenents (or sort of free, you pay through your rent). ATMs don´t charge a fee to withdraw cash. What a terrible system to live under huh?
Posted by F.U.D. in Stockholm, Sweden on 07/02/14 at 02:17 PM
@ges -- cards are on some newer machines, but it'll be decades more before they'll be available everywhere because machines are so durable that even when they're replaced, they usually go to lower-grade laundromats.

@tadchem -- There's a thriving "get $10 for $30" market. They're called loan sharks and Wells Fargo Home Mortgages.

@F.U.D. -- the costs are still there, there're just hidden. This means you're paying for a lot of things you'll never use while a couple of things you do use are partially subsidized. I prefer a "you only pay for what you use" approach.
Posted by Phideaux in his own little world on 07/02/14 at 03:31 PM
There´s a washing machine and a dryer.What am I paying for that I don´t use? (that is if I still lived in an apartment)
Posted by F.U.D. in Stockholm, Sweden on 07/03/14 at 10:14 AM
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