ZELLA COMPTON: St(r)ains of the wash-day blues

So, just how much does this lot weigh?So, just how much does this lot weigh?
So, just how much does this lot weigh?
Things that you might think about asking when buying a new washing machine include size of the wash, and how kilograms translate to the number of pairs of jeans and jumpers?

What does an A++ environmentally-friendly rating mean in terms of money off the electric bill when you’re a family of four with odd weekends of manic washing when the fifth returns from uni?

Why don’t the stickers on the top of the machine match the stickers on the front of the machine?

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When you do as little research as I do, back from holiday with no other option than the launderette and bags and bags of clothes which need more than a cursory hand-wash, the marketing ploys used by electrical retail outlets are the only clues to what will work best so need fervent interrogation.

But these marketing ploys drive me insane. Why put something along the lines of ‘tested on the 20 most common stains’ and then not give that list to the salespeople? Of course I was going to ask what the list contained, who wouldn’t? That’s interesting stuff. And when a third salesperson in the space of 20 seconds zooms in to ‘help’, it seems only fair to quiz them. After all, we can all read the stickers equally, so surely they would know more?

The salesman looked as if he was first-time parachuting and his chute hadn’t opened.

He blustered through two stain varieties, mud and grass, before stumbling on a third which could have been blood or wine, the excitement at reaching three made it indistinguishable.

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Not exactly a list of 20 though, and quite frankly rather disappointing. I went home and looked it up to discover that online the same company talks about the 40 most common stains, but doesn’t list them.

Next time I’m back in that store I’m going to pop in and chat this over with staff. They’re going to love my helpfulness.

The real question though is always about price and those great savings.

When was the machine actually priced at that massive amount? This led to an embarrassed discussion about stock shortages and raising prices to bring them down in ‘sales’, so the actual answer is no one ever paid £200 more. Whatever. The fact is that I still have loads of laundry.

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But the one question I never thought to ask, and no sales person bothered to mention, is that washing machines now play tunes.

Melodies. Jaunty little numbers when a load is finished which wriggle inside your head and stay there for hour after hour.

Whoever thought of that needs staining.


There’s a quote, and I think it was first coined by Margaret Thatcher, that goes something along the lines of ‘being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you’re either, you’re not.’

These concepts aren’t derived from telling, they’re arrived at by being.

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So here we have Donald Trump telling us all that he is of stable mind, and the week before he was crowing about his big buttons.

I’m rather of the thinking, therefore, that he has neither, and how frightening is that?

The buttons, it seems to me, that he has are tiny and can be pushed by about everyone who calls him out on his craziness. The press, his party, the opposition.


I want to be an advocate for Airbnb-type holidays, to join the growing swell of people who shop smarter and stay in unique places.

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But after having to stick my hand into a freezing cistern to flush a toilet for four days, and being ignored when trying to make contact, I think I’ll be sticking to hotels or tents from now on.

Hotels for the comfort, and tents for the fact that if I am going to have to work hard on my so-called holiday, I’m also going to pay the least that I can.

The problem lies in having no power as I paid in advance.

Once your money’s gone, people tend to care less about individual circumstances.