CHICAGO — They say you have to take the bad with the good. And so it is that American Coin-Op asked readers to list the best and the worst things about their store in this month’s Wire survey.
Thirty-three percent of respondents say a 40- to 50-pound front loader is their store’s most popular washer, followed by a 27- to 35-pound front loader (30%) and an 18- to 25-pound front loader (23.3%). Equal shares (6.7%) chose a 55- to 60-pound front loader and a 70-pound-plus front loader as most popular. No one who took the unscientific survey said a top loader was their store’s most popular washer.
SLOWEST DAY, BEST SEASON
Wednesday is the slowest business day (38.7%), edging out Tuesday (29%) and Thursday (25.8%). Summer is the best revenue-generating season (35.5%), followed by winter (32.3%), spring (22.6%), and fall (9.7%).
QUENCH THAT THIRST
Soft drinks, by far, are the best-selling food/drink item at laundries. Roughly 52% of respondents say soft drinks are the No. 1 seller, followed by snack chips (19.4%) and water (6.5%). Approximately 13% of respondents say they don’t offer vended items in their laundry.
BUT IT’S GOTTA BE DONE
Doing repair/maintenance work (32.3%) is the least favorite task for owners, followed by “solving customer problems” (25.8%), collecting (12.9%) and cleaning (12.9%). Only 9.7% selected “supervising employees” as being least favorite.
A CUSTOMER DID WHAT?
Respondents were asked to name the worst thing a customer had done to or at their laundry. Answers were varied, and some were downright disturbing. Incidents of theft (money, a toilet seat) and vandalism (poured beverages on floor, ripped off washer door) were most common. Following are examples of the rest:
- “(Customer) brought in laundry with dozens of roaches in it. When I walked in, the bugs were crawling everywhere in plain sight: all over the washers, in and out of her laundry basket, etc. I told her not to ever bring her laundry back here. My attendant and I spent hours killing roaches and, of course, I also had an emergency exterminator visit.”
- “One blew ours up a few years before we bought it. He was washing greasers (oil field clothes) and he poured some gasoline into the washer with the clothes. It was a gentle explosion, though. It didn’t seriously injure any of the customers.”
- “Take clothes off and wash them.”
- “Butchered a manta ray on one of our tables, then put (it) into one of our dryers, turned it on high, then left.”
- “Had a bowel movement in the middle of the store because the restroom was busy. Then used others’ clothes to clean himself.”
- “Washed old, rubber-backed carpets, clogging the washers drain and flooding the store.”
While the Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. All self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.