Launderettes cashing in on rainy days

The queue at the dryer section can be quite long during rainy days.

MIRI: The wet season may not be a fun time for many people, but for operators of many self-service launderettes across the city, rainy days are when customers flock in with bagful of laundry.

The longest queue at any of these outlets seems to be at the dryer machines, especially after regular working hours.

Most of these laundry outlets are open 24 hours – the machines there use coins or tokens, which can be bought at the premises, to operate.

“During the past rainy weeks, there were times when I waited more than one hour just to use the dryer. We normally do our laundry at home and dry our clothes under the sun,” said a local customer Mohd Norhadie.

The past rainy days forced him to go to the self-service launderette but to save cost, his wife would put the laundry into the washing machine at home before leaving for work early in the day and in the evening, he would bring the clothes to the launderette.

“It’s not cheap to take our clothes to the launderette regularly – we only use the dryer there, which costs about RM5 for 25 minutes of drying. The queue during rainy days can be extremely long because I think that everybody is facing the same problem – no sun to dry their clothes under,” he said.

However, Mohd Norhadie admitted that they would choose the launderette over reason other than rainy days.

“My wife and I work, so we’re not around home during the day. There have been times when we go to the launderette – always at night when there are less people,” he said, adding that they also had to ensure that their son’s school uniforms would always be clean and ready.

Back on the launderette, Mohd Norhadie lamented about his frustrations upon seeing some irresponsible customers who would just leave their clothes inside the dryer without monitoring.

“They would go out to have drinks somewhere else and return to the launderette long after the dryer has completed the cycle. This is very, very inconsiderate, especially if there are long queues.

“Sometimes, the laundry staff members have to remove these unattended clothes from the

dryer so that other customers

can use the machine,” he complained, adding that situation would get worse at fully automated outlets.

Another launderette customer Bujang Edin said he had been using the service for years.

“It’s always a hassle during the rainy season because of the long queues, but I have been able to avoid this by doing my laundry late at night.

“The trick is to avoid the peak time – just past the normal working hours. Some housewives also come around this time because they have to wait for their husbands to return from work,” he said.

Meanwhile, local launderette operator Mabel Chou said the number of walk-in customers during the past rainy season doubled over those coming to her outlet previously.

“We provide full services, so our customers do not have to wait for their clothes.

“The good thing is most of our machines are the heavy-duty types, which can get the job done quite fast. Once the cycles are completed, we will inform the customers that the laundry is done,” she said, disclosing that her regular clients also include some local hotels.