I had to do laundry today. Since I’ve got my camera back from my boss, I figured I’d take some pictures so I could share with everyone what a strange place it is. From ten paces back, everything looks normal. There are three sizes of washing machines and dryers, all of US manufacture. Operating instructions are written on the machines in English, conveniently enough for guys like me, and Chinese translations are posted above. Instead of taking quarters, the machines take 10臺幣 pieces. There is also a magnetic card reader installed on each washer and dryer, so that customers can use pre-paid cards instead of lugging around coins. In the corner, there’s one vending machine for detergent, and another for the pre-paid cards. At a glance, everything’s normal.

Then step closer. There’s a big sign next to the vending machines that explains at great length why we shouldn’t use detergent or bleach. It even gets into explaining what sweat is composed of (and it includes protein!!?). Personally, I find this a little bit creepy. Yes, I can understand that bleach will kill anything. That’s why hospitals use it. Maybe excessive use of bleach can have some environmental repercussions. But detergent!!? What kind of laundromat pushes people not to use soap? Are we just supposed to wash our clothes with water alone? It’s not even hot water, at that. Of course, the laundromat probably realizes that some people will be skeptical about what the sign says. That’s why there are placards with angry looking frogs on top of every washing machine, saying NOT to use detergent or bleach. No wonder there are so many foul smelling people in my building.
I’m not intimidated. Frogs will be extinct on this island within the decade anyway! I’m an insensitive soap-using bastard, and no flurry of anti-detergent marketing is going to change me.