I’ve moved back in to university for my final year at Aberystwyth, and for the last year I’ve decided to move back into halls. As far as I’m concerned, halls will do “just fine”. They’re basic, sure - but they have pretty much everything that a student needs, and you can guarantee that “what you see is what you get”

  • which is more than can be said for many student landlords.

My house is great. Comfortable (well, comfortablish), reasonably well-equipped, and with a good internet connection. Another benefit of living on campus is that one can use the laundrette, which is conveniently less than a minute’s walk from my front door. What I hadn’t bargained for, is that the university have decided to install the most poorly-engineered “solution” to automating laundry payment that I have ever seen.

Chiefly among the flaws with Circuit Laundrette, is that it takes so damn long to do anything. A process that used to take me less than 30 seconds (walk up to machine, insert clothes, insert cash, press button, walk away), took me over an hour to set up today.

The new (“improved”) process goes something a bit like this:

  • Walk up to laundrette.
  • Realise that washing machine needs an app on my phone.
  • Turn around, go home.
  • Get phone.
  • Install app.
  • Set up app.
    • Try adding email address.
    • Email address doesn’t work, try another.
    • Try to scan QR code on the washing machine so that the app knows where I am.
    • Phone scans shoe. No, silly app, my shoe is not a QR code.
    • Try again.
    • App doesn’t recognise QR code as QR code.
    • Give in and type in code manually.
    • Keyboard covers up text box so I can’t see what I’m typing.
    • Mistype code.
    • Mistype code again.
    • Third time lucky! I’m in!
  • Add money to account.
    • Try to use promotional code.
    • Oops! Application error. Must be your phone.
    • Connect to wi-fi, try again.
    • Oops! Application error.
    • OK, forget the promo code, just try to add money.
    • Add money with PayPal (this bit actually works).
  • Check which machines are free.
    • App says 12 machines are free, great (some luck, at last!).
  • Walk back to laundrette.
    • All of the bloody machines are in use. (Really? In the two minutes between leaving home and arriving at the laundrette?!)
  • Walk home.
  • Walk back to laundrette 10 minutes later.
    • Fight 6 other hungover, pissed-off students for the one free machine.
    • Put clothes in machine.
    • Select program.
    • Close door.
    • Try to scan QR code.
      • No, stupid app! That’s the floor, not a QR code.
      • Give up and type in code manually again.
        • Keyboard covers up text box (again?!).
        • Mistype.
        • Mistype.
        • Mistype.
        • Mistype.
        • Scream in rage and curse the bastards that designed this app.
        • Sacrifice small, feathered animal in hope of increasing chance of typing in code correctly.
        • Mistype.
    • SUCCESS!
    • Pay for washing using phone.
    • Walk away from machine, triumphant.
    • Realise that you never pressed the “START” button.
      • Walk back (slightly embarrassed) to machine.
      • Start the washing cycle.
    • Walk away from machine to wait for washing cycle to finish.
    • “Ooh, great! This app tells me when my washing machine finishes the cycle”
    • 3 hours later, check phone.
    • App says washing machine still going?!
    • Go back to laundrette to check.
    • Clothes have been in the washing machine (with the cycle finished) for 2 hours.
    • Get death stare from other pissed-off, hungover students.
    • Make apology.
    • Get wet clothes.
    • Run away.
  • Acquire bricks.
  • Return to laundrette.
    • Put bricks in machine.
    • Machine breaks.
    • “Oops, was that supposed to happen?”
  • Go home, triumphant.