One thing I have noticed that hasn't changed in the years since we last lived as Americans in Stuttgart is that when it comes to laundry, people can be incredibly inconsiderate. When we first moved here in 2007, doing laundry was an unpleasant weekly ritual. In those days, Panzer didn't have the huge hotel that it now has; they were building it as we were leaving in 2009. Now that Panzer has a hotel and it has its own laundry room, the launderette doesn't get quite as busy as it did pre 2010 or so. But last time we were here, it was not uncommon for people to do tons of laundry during peak times, hogging washers and especially dryers, and holding up everyone else.
This morning, Bill and I took a trip to Panzer Kaserne to get our laundry done. We had two small plastic bags full of laundry that needed doing. I dreaded going to the launderette, because I spent way too much time there during our first tour. The laundry room on Panzer has about 12 washing machines and generally speaking, it's no problem to get one or two of them without any waiting. But there are only eight dryers and one or two of them are always broken. That was true in 2007 and it's still true today (there were two down this morning). So that means there are only six dryers that can be used.
You get someone who needs to do a shitload of laundry-- people who are stuck in local hotels or people who have a bunch of kids and need to knock out that little chore... and even people who have a place to live, but just want to avail themselves of a larger washer/dryer. German machines are smaller and take longer to get through a cycle than American machines do. All of these folks come to the launderette on a Saturday morning, the one day that most everyone has off from work. They do a mass load of laundry, then proceed to use more than one dryer to dry their clothes, blankets, and whatever else they have.
This morning, I witnessed a man load up four dryers. That's four out of the six dryers that were operating. I couldn't believe my eyes or that man's nerve. I honestly couldn't believe he thought that was okay. Obviously, he'd never had to wait for a lone dryer to free up, right?
Granted, when the dryer hog loaded the dryers, I was still waiting for my washer to finish the last of its cycle. But there were at least two people ahead of me who also needed a dryer. One was a guy who ended up just leaving, seemingly in disgust. The other was a nice couple here in Stuttgart on vacation. As we were waiting for Mr. Inconsiderate to get a clue, another lady came in to do her wash, as did one who obviously just needed to use a dryer and left when she saw there was a line. And then two or three other folks arrived and the launderette was soon very busy.
I admit, I got rather bitchy and more than a little passive aggressive, loudly commenting that I only needed one dryer to get my stuff dry. The dryer hog, to his credit, did eventually get a clue and start freeing up machines for other folks who were waiting. I did hear him say, though, as he was unloading and folding his laundry one machine at a time, "I know folks are waiting, but I've only got two hands!"
Dude... take your shit out of the machines and fold your clothes after they're out so other people can get started! Are you really that situationally unaware and/or rude?! Jeez!
The dryer hog did appear to have a number of friends, which makes me think he must otherwise be a nice person. And I'm sure he thought he could get away with hogging the dryers on a Saturday morning. I would say that if you're at the launderette in the wee hours of the morning and you need four dryers, knock yourself out. But on a Saturday after 9:00am, you need to be more considerate of other people who are also trying to get that one little pesky chore done. We all want clean underwear and I'm willing to fight for the right to stain and stench free drawers!
It's bad enough when people leave their clothes in a machine forever... don't even get me started on the ones who do that with washing machines when there aren't other others available for use. But hogging a bunch of dryers just because you think no one else needs them is just a shitty thing to do. If there are other people doing laundry, they are very likely going to need access to a dryer, unless they are fortunate enough to have access to a clothesline. It takes longer to dry clothes than it does to wash them. So when you hog four machines out of six, you really are screwing over your fellow Americans at the Panzer Launderette!
Bill was walking the dogs while I was waiting for a dryer and then my clothes to get done. We weren't held up too much and, unlike the cute couple I chatted with while we were waiting, I wasn't wasting precious vacation time. With any luck, we will get to move into a one room apartment for the next few weeks while we look for a more permanent place to live and then this issue will be a non-issue for me once again.