Incorrect Error Message

So I’ve found another flaw in that smart laundry system I love to hate.

They have these value codes you can buy online and add on to your laundry card so you only have to minimally interact with the laundry card topper upper machine, which works for me, since working with that thing is a struggle on a good day. I decided to buy a big code so I won’t have to worry about refilling the card for a while and I can just go down there and do laundry without worry. So I bought $90 worth. I know that sounds silly, but like I said, I didn’t want to deal with it for a while because every time I want to fill it up, I have to chase someone down and ask them for help since the machine is a big screen, and I never know if I’ll get a willing person or an arsehole, a smart person or a clueless one.

Here’s where it gets dumb. Since this system doesn’t let you check your balance on line, I was having to estimate how much money I had left on the card. I thought I was below $10. So I went to add the new big ol’ code. When I entered it, it said “incorrect code.” I thought that was weird because I had memorized the darn thing. What was wrong with the code? Was the Washboard system handing out bum codes?

I asked somebody how much money I had left on my card and I had over $10. Since it only allows you to add up to $99, I took a guess that maybe my code was perfectly correct, but I added more money than the card could hold. I called their customer service line, and that was the problem.

After all that explaining, I have a question for the genius who designed the error messages on the laundry card topper upper machine. When you try to over-fill your card, why doesn’t it say something like “limit exceeded.” instead of “incorrect code”? That would be like your car telling you to fill up your tank when you needed to change the oil. It doesn’t seem helpful at all.

But I guess it could be worse. I heard from someone else whose laundry room was all touchscreens on the actual machines and wifi-enabled and she had to boop qr codes just to use the machines…which would be a real pain when you can’t see the qr codes. At least our laundry system’s problems feel like they’re easy to fix. Now if only someone would fix them…

Join the Conversation


  1. Serious question. What benefit is there at all to qr codes in a laundry room? Maybe for activating a balance or something, but for actually using the machines? That seems pretty pointless. Even if the aim is to gather data on people, just keep track of when each card gets used. This just sounds like technology for technology’s sake.

    And why is adding $90 to the card silly? I’ll bet a lot of people do that if they can. Think about how many families there are around here. And our reason is completely sensible too. We probably should have been doing that all along. Anything to save aggravation is a good idea in my book.

    1. It seems dumb. And the machines needed to be wifi connected to work too, which felt also stupid. Maybe they told the app which ones were in use for other hapless souls needing to do laundry?

      Oh man, whenever I said to people that I put that much on there, they would all gasp. “Just fill it up again!” Dude, you’re missing the point.

      1. Knowing how many machines were free would be super handy, so if they have wifi for that I’m all for it.

        And the more I think about it, the more I believe that the only reason you don’t put as much money on the card as possible is that you don’t have money.

        1. The only other reason to not want to put too much money on a card is in case your card sputters and dies, losing your money. Or when the building gods decide to change card systems without warning! *mutter grumble curse!*

          1. You would think that here in 2022 we would have the technology to tie someone’s balance to an account number rather than a physical card, but we are dealing with the same people who will let you fill your card online but not activate the purchase so maybe just forget I said anything.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.