Who Knew Laundry And Accessibility Could Meet?

Here I go again, stirring up trouble.

Ok, a little background. Our apartment building has laundry machines that don’t take coins. They take a card that you fill with your debit card. When it’s filled, it’s easy. Stick card in machine, wait a few seconds, hit desired button, woosha woosha woosha go your clothes. No need to get quarters at the store, no munched quarters by hungry machines, it’s good times.

But, there are two things I can never do on my own: check my balance, or fill the card. Usually, this isn’t a problem because the huppy’s mom has to do laundry a lot, so I just ask her to give me a hand while she’s down there. But the other night, the need arose for me to do laundry late at night, and I thought my balance was getting low. But who was I going to ask? It was a complete gamble that anyone would be around, and I didn’t feel like getting my clothes washed, only to find out that sorry, chief, you don’t have enough dough to dry ’em.

So I waited until the next day. Surely the huppy’s mom would have to do laundry, or would have a minute. Nope, life made it so she wasn’t available. So I had to take another gamble. I went down there.

When I finally came back, Steve asked me if I got the laundry card filled. I said yup, with the help of a dog. He thought I was insane. A dog? Well, sorta. As I came in the laundry room, I heard the signature jingle jingle jingle! of a dog breaking loose and coming for me. I had no Trix with me because I just don’t drag her down to the laundry. So I abandoned my cart and led the pooch back the way it came…which was straight for a family reunion. After they thanked me profusely for getting their dog back to them, I managed to ask someone to help me fill my card.

The first poor old lady I got could not grasp the idea of a laundry card. “Card? Laundry! Card? What does a card have to do with laundry? You want me to read the screens. Screens? What screens!” Then, she kept trying to ram my laundry card into everything that resembled a hole in the machine. Bless her, she was trying her damnedest, but we were gettin’ nowhere.

So, she attempted to physically drag me back to the room where the family reunion was to get someone else. I was feeling a little sheepish by now. A dude came up, and we were having considerably more success, but he couldn’t figure out how to swipe my debit card. His wife eventually stepped in and saved the day, and I had new cash on my card. Whew! That was painful!

But this got me to thinking. If I can walk into any building that has coinamatic laundry machines and plug my card into them and find out a balance, why can’t I call Coinamatic and ask them what my balance is? Also, I wondered if there was a way for me to fill the card using an account number and online/telephone banking?

Ironically, after I had gone through this whole rigmarole of getting the card filled, who walks into the laundry room but the huppy’s dad. I asked him if every laundry card has a unique ID number and he said yes. He read mine to me. I was pretty excited. If every card has an ID number, that means probably its balance can be tracked!

So, I went upstairs and called Coinamatic. They have a 24 hour a day customer service line. I asked them that question, and got a big fat “No, stick your card in a reader.” I told him I was blind, and the poor fellow started to stammer. “Then uh, get your property manager to help you.” I said what if it’s late or she’s out doing property manager things? He could not answer my question and kept saying “I’m sorry ma’am, I’m sorry ma’am, I’m really sorry ma’am.”

So I asked him if there was someone I could call to leave this as a suggestion. He said someone would call me back. We shall see.

So, if there are any other blinks out there in an apartment building with SmartCity or Coinamatic laundry card systems, and you feel the same way I do, give Coinamatic a call at 1-800-561-1972. I really can’t see how we can’t figure out a simple solution to make this system just that little bit better.

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