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Author Topic: Some random questions...  (Read 2189 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Some random questions...
« on: March 06, 2013, 05:33:16 AM »
Here are a few random questions that came to me recently. They are small and possibly silly, so they don't merit their own separate threads :) Can somebody answer them, though?

BTW. Feel free to add your own random questions to the thread :)

1. What's up with these public laundries in America?

One thing I cannot understand about America is what are these public laundries for? When I need some laundry done, I use the washing machine at home. Alternatively, in some special cases, I take some items to a special chemical laundry. But why do people in America take their laundry to a place equipped with (from what I've seen) with ordinary washing machines and do the laundrying themselves? What's the advantage?

2. Whatever happened to the valets?

I happened to watch some period TV lately (Downton Abbey, for instance) and I realized that, a century or so ago, there were much more servant-type jobs around. People had maids, housekeepers, cooks, butlers, valets... Even when riding a train, you didn't make your own bed, but had the train staff do it. It's not that way anymore, right? Or do rich people still employ live-in housestaff? If not, what caused the change?

3. 2000s in fashion

In retrospect, some decades of the 20th century seem to have some very distincts fashions: the 1950s, for once. Or 1960s, which first started as almost-1950s, but ended with hippie fashion and miniskirts. Or 1970s, with bell-bottoms and wide collars. Or 1980s with... all these atrocious things people were wearing back then.

So, what about *our* times? Are there any signature fashion trends for 2000s and 2010s? Or is it too early to tell?

BTW. Am I mistaken, or were the 1960s the time of real fashion revolution? The early 1960s didn't look that different from 1950s, which themselves weren't that different from 1940s. But then, the mid-and-late 1960s happened... and then, we had 1970s, who looked much more... modern. It was a kind of revolution, wasn't it?

Offline Amor

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 05:40:09 AM »
Fun thread :)

I'm going to tackle question 2, Whatever happened to the valets?

While the super rich definitely do employ live-in staff to cook their meals and do stuff like that, most people on a "middle class" income do not. You'd probably have somebody who comes round to clean the house (still called "a maid" by some people) but she wouldn't live in. And many people actually do the cleaning and laundry for themselves, entirely.

The reasons for this include cost... it just costs a lot of money to have people waiting on you hand and foot, and in Edwardian era England that money was available to the upper classes. Also, servants worked for a pittance (relatively speaking) and there was nobody to order their masters to pay them a "fair" or even a minimum wage.

I think it's also about social changes. We just aren't comfortable as a society with a servant style service industry. I feel a little odd at restaurants even, having somebody take away my dirty plates. Not because I wouldn't do it and it's somehow degrading, but just the idea that somebody else has the function of cleaning up my mess feels... weird. Is that healthier than an entitled attitude, where everybody is expected to bow and scrape and tend to your whims?

There's a happy middle in there somewhere, but when you start talking about servants the shadow of slavery soon rears into view. And things go downhill from there.

Offline Caeli

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 05:52:49 AM »
1. What's up with these public laundries in America?

One thing I cannot understand about America is what are these public laundries for? When I need some laundry done, I use the washing machine at home. Alternatively, in some special cases, I take some items to a special chemical laundry. But why do people in America take their laundry to a place equipped with (from what I've seen) with ordinary washing machines and do the laundrying themselves? What's the advantage?

Have you considered that perhaps some people do not have laundry machines in their own homes?

Some apartment complexes or studio apartments might not have washing machines or dryers. I'd say that washing machines and dryers probably do exist in most single-family homes, townhouses, and within the gated communities of a typical middle-income apartment complex.

Aside from the cost of purchasing a washing machine and/or dryer (if you're living from paycheck to paycheck, it might not be financially possible to make this kind of purchase), I'd imagine that there are very likely living spaces in which owning a washing machine and/or dryer might not be possible due to space.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 05:54:59 AM by Caeli »

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 06:03:41 AM »
Have you considered that perhaps some people do not have laundry machines in their own homes?

Hm. No, actually. Interesting point.

For the record: I didn't want to offend anyone... It's just that back here, there's a washing machine in every house. At least, as far as I can tell - I have never been in a home without a washing machine... It's one of these things that would be considered an essential living equipment, like a stove.

Maybe it's different in America. Or maybe I'm just ignorant middle-class person, who knows.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 06:08:10 AM »
The reasons for this include cost... it just costs a lot of money to have people waiting on you hand and foot, and in Edwardian era England that money was available to the upper classes. Also, servants worked for a pittance (relatively speaking) and there was nobody to order their masters to pay them a "fair" or even a minimum wage.

So, the upper classes got poorer? And the wages for servants would now be higher than in the past?

Quote
I think it's also about social changes. We just aren't comfortable as a society with a servant style service industry. I feel a little odd at restaurants even, having somebody take away my dirty plates. Not because I wouldn't do it and it's somehow degrading, but just the idea that somebody else has the function of cleaning up my mess feels... weird.

That's true. It's so strange to think that some people employed other people to make them tea or to iron their clothes...

Offline Lilias

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 06:45:03 AM »
So, the upper classes got poorer? And the wages for servants would now be higher than in the past?

The two World Wars practically shattered the upper classes. Old estates cost silly money to maintain. Those landed and/or titled people who still hold on to ancestral estates have them open to the public. Imagine Baron So-and-so showing you around his country mansion? :D

That's true. It's so strange to think that some people employed other people to make them tea or to iron their clothes...

We still do, we just go to them. ;) From cafes to dry-cleaners (who probably trade in ironing as much as everything else they do put together).

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Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 07:32:32 AM »
Hm. No, actually. Interesting point.

For the record: I didn't want to offend anyone... It's just that back here, there's a washing machine in every house. At least, as far as I can tell - I have never been in a home without a washing machine... It's one of these things that would be considered an essential living equipment, like a stove.

Maybe it's different in America. Or maybe I'm just ignorant middle-class person, who knows.

Apartments are one issue - usually they're too small to have a washer-dryer in them (although my very first apartment did, my mother-in-law's does not).  Instead, there's a communal room in the basement.

Rental properties are another - a washer-dryer set costs upwards of $1,000 when we were shopping for them, and a landlord might not want to incur that expense and risk of theft.  (We were seriously considering bringing ours from Ohio, as this place didn't come with a set, but vandals got to the house before we could get back to grab the appliances.)  We were lucky in that there was a public laundromat one block away, and that my parents decided to gift us with our own set.

For the record, until I got to college (where the dorms had a communal laundry room) I'd never seen a house without one - although that situation was understandable -  and until the first time I moved to PA, I'd never lived in a house without one.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 10:13:53 AM »
Well, being as noone's hit three yet...

First, don't forget that none of those fashions were, I dunno, uniforms.  The sixties are hippies not mods?  Is the fashion of the seventies bell bottoms or is it mohawks and safety pins?  Is the eighties Adam Ant or is it stonewashed jeans and a Metallica top?  Maybe my Britishness is showing.

But fashions change a lot faster now.  And I suspect thats to do with greater media consumption.  It still happens and there are still very much trends that people pay attention to to a greater or lesser extent.  But now that clothing is relatively cheap - a man's suit in the 1970s was $40 which in today's prices is roughly $250 (calculated from here, a very rough figure).  Too lazy to look into it in any real depth but I would imagine thats to do with developing world manufacturing.

So with cheaper clothing and ever increasing awareness of trends fashion can move a lot quicker as its less of a heartache to throw out or not wear any more old clothing.  So while "decades" are something a little artificial anyway - people didn't throw out their clothes at the stroke of midnight on December 31st 19X9 - what's happening is that trends don't last nearly as long any more. 

So, to end this ramble, no I don't think there is a signature look and I don't think there will be.  Things move faster and people have a lot more choice in what shops sell (as making clothes is cheaper so a wider variety can be stocked)

Offline Sasquatch421

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 10:36:36 AM »
I think the biggest constant for the 80's was the hair... Some of the clothing choices came from the music people liked. Cyndi Lauper? Bright colors and big hair. Tiffany? Stonewashed denim and big hair. Bon Jovi, Poison or Vixen? Spandex, denim, leather and big hair... With the current fashions there are more choices and people dressing how they like. We did see  the bellbottoms try and make a comeback *shudder* then the mini skirts and leggings also tried a comeback as well. I also don't think there is a signature look now either...

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 02:37:07 PM »
Apartments are one issue - usually they're too small to have a washer-dryer in them (although my very first apartment did, my mother-in-law's does not).  Instead, there's a communal room in the basement.

Okay, this is one thing I don't get at all. I don't think you have smaller apartments in the States than we have here - so, I can't imagine why they would too small for a washing machine? My sister lives in a very small apartment (30 square meters or so) and she still managed to put a washing machine in there...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 02:44:12 PM by Beorning »

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 02:43:03 PM »
Regarding the current fashion - aren't we having a kind of 1980s revival trend? I tend not to like things women wear now... and these things are indeed quite 80s... I know I prefered the early 200s fashion, when cargo pants were much more popular.  ;D

One thing I noticed is that the female hairstyles did indeed change. Back in early 2000s, simple long hair were much more more popular than they are now... Nowadays, styles seem to be a bit shorter and, at the same time, a bit more intricate.

Offline Moraline

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 03:02:15 PM »
1. What's up with these public laundries in America?
What planet are you living on? I don't think there's a major city in the world that doesn't have some sort of public clothes washing facilities. Hell, many cities have a flood of micro-loft style apartments that are nothing more then a bed with maybe a standup shower and toilet.

I think you just need to look a little more around where you live. Where do you live?

Quote
2. Whatever happened to the valets?
Valets, house servants, and butlers still exist to the uber rich in North America but in the past many of these types of people were slaves, or were paid far under a living wage.

You'll also note that in North America the traditional houses for the upper class were much larger then they are now. Often including living quarters for staff and stables for horse driven transportation - something that held on for many years after the invention of the automobile. (Note in many European countries those old stables exist in houses that are hundreds of years old and have been converted to other purposes.)

Also, with the invention of modern household appliances like the washing machines that you mentioned earlier, as well as vacuums, and other devices we have less need of staff to maintain our houses.

You'll find in countries were modern appliances are more expensive, and labor is cheap that there are still often an abundance of household laborers.

Note* There are still many "maid" services and "catering" services that fill contractual as needed places as the household servant role.

Quote
3. 2000s in fashion
We have had lots of fashion trends. Back in those earlier decades that you mentioned there was a variety of styles worn by people. We have the same thing happening now over the last couple of decades. If you want to see the current fashion for the wealthy and elite then watch the Academy Awards, if you want to see the average street fashion then explore a department store.

To me, fashion feels more fluid now that it looks like it was in the past. The average(not wealthy) people have a very wide variety of fashion.

If I were to sum it up, I would say the current generation of fashion is eclectic and bold. It's highlighted by an eye to indie designers, world fashions, and street trends.

... and PS: Are you trolling us or something?

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 03:07:16 PM »
I think you just need to look a little more around where you live. Where do you live?

Warsaw, Poland. And no, I can't really say that I've seen public laundries back here...

Quote
... and PS: Are you trolling us or something?

Huh? No.

Offline Moraline

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 03:15:37 PM »
Warsaw, Poland. And no, I can't really say that I've seen public laundries back here...

This is a laundry service that has a multitude of places in your city:  http://drycleaning.5asec.com/pressing/poland/home.php  (They are just one of many. It took me about 2 seconds on google to find it.)

I think you have just led a sheltered life.



*edited out one but the first one posted still remains*

« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 03:49:16 PM by Moraline »

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Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 03:17:12 PM »
That second one you posted is from Warsaw, Indiana.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2013, 03:20:38 PM »
This is a laundry service that has a multitude of places in your city:  http://drycleaning.5asec.com/pressing/poland/home.php  (They are just one of many. It took me about 2 seconds on google to find it.)

Wait, wait. It's not necessarily the same thing I was talking about. Of course, we do have 5aSec and other cleaning services, but these are specialist services. Meaning, for things that can't be washed in ordinary, home washing machines. Chemical cleaning and so on.

Quote
Here is another with an image of washing machines:

Hayden Laundry Center  (Source)
835 N Lake St
Warsaw, IN 46580
(574) 267-4741

This is Warsaw, Indiana, actually... :)

Quote
I think you have just led a sheltered life.

Ha! Possibly.

Offline Lilias

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2013, 03:23:53 PM »
What planet are you living on? I don't think there's a major city in the world that doesn't have some sort of public clothes washing facilities. Hell, many cities have a flood of micro-loft style apartments that are nothing more then a bed with maybe a standup shower and toilet.

Is Athens major enough for you? I never saw a public laundry facility in 35 years of living there. There are washers at the dry-cleaner's, but they are not operable by the public. People get really creative about getting a washing machine hooked up, although dryers are luxury items. And those who, for whatever reason, temporary or permanent, have no access to a washing machine, wash by hand.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2013, 03:26:22 PM »
Is Athens major enough for you? I never saw a public laundry facility in 35 years of living there. There are washers at the dry-cleaner's, but they are not operable by the public. People get really creative about getting a washing machine hooked up, although dryers are luxury items. And those who, for whatever reason, temporary or permanent, have no access to a washing machine, wash by hand.

I'd risk saying that, as far as I know, that's the situation here, too!

Offline Thorne

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2013, 03:31:31 PM »
Seems reasonable enough. I know we've done the 'no washing machine in the apartment thing' exactly once, and I am NOT doing it again. It's just too much of a pain in the tail.

One irritating thing about American apartments is that there's really no way/place to string a line in many apartment complexes, so you /have/ to have the dryer too. And many complexes probably frown on having clotheslines strung up anyway - there are some very ODD rules out here. Gods help you if you have a house and a overly-intrusive neighborhood association ... >_<

Offline Moraline

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2013, 03:48:25 PM »
That second one you posted is from Warsaw, Indiana.
Figures.  Removed it, but the other still stands.

Is Athens major enough for you? I never saw a public laundry facility in 35 years of living there. There are washers at the dry-cleaner's, but they are not operable by the public. People get really creative about getting a washing machine hooked up, although dryers are luxury items. And those who, for whatever reason, temporary or permanent, have no access to a washing machine, wash by hand.
http://www.greece-athens.com/member.php?member_id=406
Details
Contact : MARIA NESTOROS KONSTANTATOU
Address : PSARRON 9
Zipcode : 10437
City : ATHENS
Phone : 0030 210 5222856

Quote
Wash and Dry Self Service

The ultramodern self service Laundry operates just a minute from the ďMetaxourgioĒ metro station and 5 minutes from Omonoia, in Athens. Our automatic washing machines respect your clothes, by choosing the ideal program for each cloth. They can wash 1 to 8 kilo, with the temperature you choose. Our Laundry operates under the strictest hygiene conditions, offering a responsible and outstanding cleaning.

Within two hours your clothes are washed with antiallergenic detergents, which respect the fabrics and are environmental friendly, while drying them away from the sun. This way the textile life extends, the colours are bright and the fibres are always soft and smooth.

Also, 5sec that I linked in my other post has services in the region as well. While it's rare to see them, every major city in the world pretty much has some type of clothes washing facilities.

Wait, wait. It's not necessarily the same thing I was talking about. Of course, we do have 5aSec and other cleaning services, but these are specialist services. Meaning, for things that can't be washed in ordinary, home washing machines. Chemical cleaning and so on.
Actually it says on their site that they offer regular on site services. It's a translation so I could be misinterpreting but I actually found them through a link through a trip adviser site that said they do regular clothes.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 03:51:34 PM by Moraline »

Offline Lilias

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2013, 03:59:47 PM »
http://www.greece-athens.com/member.php?member_id=406
Details
Contact : MARIA NESTOROS KONSTANTATOU
Address : PSARRON 9
Zipcode : 10437
City : ATHENS
Phone : 0030 210 5222856

Also, 5sec that I linked in my other post has services in the region as well. While it's rare to see them, every major city in the world pretty much has some type of clothes washing facilities.

Figures that a public laundry would appear in a (mainly) deprived immigrant area.

Also, 5sec and the like are not public-operated. They do washing, but by staff.

Offline Moraline

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2013, 04:34:15 PM »
...
Also, 5sec and the like are not public-operated. They do washing, but by staff.
I read something on the site about it being public but again It was a translation so Like I said I could be wrong. I am not wrong however about laundromats existing and just because a person doesn't actually do the laundry themselves doesn't make it any less of a laundromat. It's just a different style.  The trip advisor boards all said you can get  your clothes cleaned there and with 120 locations in Poland they are easy to find.

Also because people seem to want to pick apart my links then I just did another quick search = I'm pretty sure if I had a local telephone book or access to local information I could find a lot more. Laundry mats aren't exactly the type of places that tend to advertise on the internet.

http://www.warsaw-life.com/jabber/posts.php?thread=557
Quote
laundromat / pralnia sammobslugowa warszawa

If somebody needs to make quick laundry,
there is a good laundromat in warsaw in WOla
there are Machines 7kg 15zl and big washing machine 16kg 25zl and dryer for 10zl for 30 minutes.

they make promotion every thursday 9:00 to 11:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00
washing machine 7kg : 10 ZL
washing machine 16 kg : 20 Zl
dryer : 5zl for 30 minutes

they are opened 7days/7 , 365days /year even during bank holidays.

www.polska.blanc-lys.com  ((These guys have an English translation link on their page))
ul.ksiecia janusz 23
warszawa , near wola park.
508 162 810


And since we are on the topic I did a couple of more quick searches on other major cities in the world:

For contrast:

London, England 
http://www.allinlondon.co.uk/directory/1261.php  (The list is endlessly long, like huge with 100's on it)

Tokyo, Japan
Hilariously, while reading about this place, apparently they have street side coin operated machines.(I just love the Japanese people!) Although mostly it's some sort of dry clean as opposed to water based but it's still laundry service. They are services meant for people to wash their clothes in. (I think we should adopt this technology, recycled cleaning fluids instead of using water is a good idea.)

Paris, France
http://www.francetravelplanner.com/go/paris/shop/laundry.html

Here's a list:
http://www.francetravelplanner.com/go/paris/shop/laundry2.html

Also looked up Delhi, India and it seems most of their washing was hand done and in public places as well but they have recently started to get laundromats. There was  post of a new article saying "the first" and dated 2011. http://trak.in/tags/business/2011/01/18/indian-laundromat-delhi-western-culture/


I'm from Canada and we are exactly like the US with laundromats all over the place. It seems like it's a lot more popular here but Europe and other parts of the world have done the same thing but taken it to a whole new level (Like the Japanese with their street machine services. How in the world would that operate?)


Offline Lilias

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2013, 04:59:16 PM »
I read something on the site about it being public but again It was a translation so Like I said I could be wrong. I am not wrong however about laundromats existing and just because a person doesn't actually do the laundry themselves doesn't make it any less of a laundromat. It's just a different style.  The trip advisor boards all said you can get  your clothes cleaned there and with 120 locations in Poland they are easy to find.

You can call them laundromats if that helps you understand, but (at least in Greece) they market themselves as dry-cleaners and they may or may not offer washing services at all. Some offer clothes mending and minor alterations as well, but nobody would call them tailors.

Similar things can function in very different ways from country to country. You don't have to know how things work in other cultures, but you don't have to assume that someone is trolling because their experience is different from yours either.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2013, 05:18:37 AM »
Okay, now I'll show my sheltered living: what's the difference between washing and dry-cleaning?

Anyway, if there are places with public washing machines in Poland, I'll gladly take point on that and stand corrected. No reason to argue about it :)

Offline Lilias

Re: Some random questions...
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2013, 05:53:57 AM »
Er - washing involves water and dry-cleaning doesn't? ;D