Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The quest for quarters

It's been a while since I needed quarters to do laundry.
In Seattle, we had an in-unit washer/dryer, and in Berkeley we could send money from a student account directly to the machines.

In Baltimore, I we need quarters for laundry and, having just moved here, I don't have a jar full of them lying around. Of course, I waited until the last possible minute to do laundry. So yesterday I rolled out of bed and decided to go in search of quarters. The wife had the car, so I was limited to walking distance.

I started with the local mini-mart; he agreed to give me 4 quarters but no more. Next I went to the laundromat. The lady there was exceptionally rude and gave me a "yeah right" when I asked if she had quarters. She wasn't very helpful telling me about banks in the area either. My next stop was a few blocks away at a laundromat with a change machine; turns out that it had been broken for years. I went into another minimart, and the desi owner refused me quarters even if I were to buy something.

I finally gave up and came home. On rummaging through my suitcases, I was able to find one hiding undergarment, thus allowing me to shower.

In the evening when the wife got home, we went to the gym and decided to stop by a grocery store afterwards. We happened upon a small stripmall with a laundromat and pharmacy, so we stopped there.

As I was about to put my $20 bill into the change machine at the laundromat, I simultaneously heard a raspy voice and read the hand-scrwaled notice in front of me: "No change unless you're doing your laundry here!" I apologized and walked out, frustrated.

At the RiteAid, we purchased our wares, and politely (maybe desperately?) asked for a roll of quarters. She didn't have a roll, but gave us a few dollars and suggested that we ask the other cashier.

As we were about to ask the other cashier for change, the lady in front of us says to her daughter as she's walking away "ok. well, I think not we shold have enough for one more load."
The cashier was out of quarters.

I feel like we've entered the quarter-free twilight zone. Maybe this weekend we'll drive down to DC or Virgina and smuggle a few rolls of quarters over the border. Who knows, maybe we could sell them for a premiuim.