Stolen laundry

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I know, but I was still furious when it happened to me. Last week I was doing my laundry at the Haight to Wash laundromat, on Haight near Fillmore. And I know I’ll get called a laundry noob for this, but I left my laundry there and ran back home to make dinner. When I returned, some of it was stolen. And the woman running the place was extraordinarily rude about the whole affair.

Now I’ve been doing laundry here in San Francisco for damn near seven years, and this is the first misfortune to befall me and my washables. For the first year or so I would babysit my clothes with a paranoid, hawkish eye watching everyone who came into the Richmond laundromat. I’d analyze them all for their thievery potantial, and only really relax and read my book when I was alone. A homeless man used to come in every time I wa sthere and he would dump all of the trash from the laundromat’s cans on the floor and sort through it for valuables. This would take hours.

When he first started coming in I was sure he was there to steal my clothes–wasn’t everyone?–but no, he just wanted whatever he could find in the trash. The owners were usually around seemed to not even see his Close Encounters trash mountain, and I quickly stopped caring and stopped being suspiscious of everyone.

My roommate at the time mocked my sentry duty at the laundromat, and pointed out that she’d been leaving her clothes alone for years. Rightfully shamed, I stopped worrying and learned to love the leaving.

And for all the years that I have lived in the Haight I’ve been leaving my clothes at one of the neighborhood washeries without a single incident worse than broken change machines. Until now, that is. Now I’ve felt the sting of stolen sundries. Now I’ll be sitting at the laundromat again, keeping an eye on what I already have and watching everyone else to see who took my stuff. Well, for a few weeks at least or until it gets boring again.

Have you had a bad laundry experience? Tell us about it in the comments.

13 Comments so far

  1. Jason (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

    Really? It’s taken seven years for this to happen to you? I mean, I’m sorry your stuff got ganked but seven years is a pretty good streak.

    I used to live in the Richmond and it was almost immediately upon moving there that I had my laundry stolen. From my own building.

    The next day I got to call into work and say, “I may not be coming in today. I no longer own any pants.”


  2. tyler82 (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

    I got scabies once from washing from a public laundromat. My mistake for using cold water instead of boiling HOT.

    I also came back to see all of my clothes taken out and thrown across the entire laundromat with noone in sight. Cute.


  3. Nancy (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 10:30 pm

    Washing in a public laundromat = bring a book. If there’s no one there to yell at me, I even sit on the machine, so I can read without looking up to monitor after every four lines.
    But I admit, my paranoia goes beyond fear of someone stealing my clothes – I can’t even stand the idea of a stranger TOUCHING them.


  4. cd (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 8:19 am

    Scabies from a washing machine? Really?

    Anyway – I had a good streak of luck at my local laundry in the Sunset. It was around the corner and I routinely went home during wash and dry cycles. I felt like it had pretty good supervision during regular business hours, and I had a pretty good nodding rapport with the gals who worked there. I’d cram everything into one 30lb machine and let ‘er rip. I figured one machine was less to keep track of.

    But, I suppose I’d have been far more wary in the Haight.

    Of course, my prefered method remained stockpiling until my next trip to visit my parents. That usually worked really well.


  5. Rebecca (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 8:28 am

    Apparently someone peed in the dryer that I put my clothes in, and when I pulled my dry “clean” clothes out, expecting a nice spring meadow scent, instead I inhaled the stench of hot urine. Yum.

    My new apartment has a washer/dryer, which I love love love!


  6. Kyle (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 8:45 am

    I never had any laundry stolen, but someone did steal my laundry basket. I always worry that one day someone will steal my laundry. Although, I think I would rather have someone steal my laundry then pee on it.


  7. Charles r.Sears II (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 10:24 am

    I always sit and read a book when and if I have to take my laundry to the neighborhood laundry mat.I live in an apartment building with a laundry room downstairs..and I have had clothes stolen from the dryer here in my own building! I wear only Ralph Lauren and they stole a robe and some shirts from the dryer,the washer’s are locked during the wash cycle,so I always come back upstairs.I never used to worry but now I do,but I still come back upstair’s and don’t watch the clothes in the laundry room..if they want to steal,fine..I feel what goes around,comes around.So they must need clothes more than I.If they asked me,I would give them some as I have more than enough to go around,and I believe in giving to the poor.I can always replace what is stolen,if I actually need to.


  8. rob n' hood (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    Dear Charles, Please fwd your home address and unlock your doors and windows. I am in need of a few things.


  9. cindy (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 1:26 pm

    last time i was raped, i just figured “hey, the guy must have been horny” and let him go about his business. i like giving to the sex deprived that way!


  10. Nancy (unregistered) on March 21st, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    Okay, back on topic….

    Within my own building, the paltry 1/1 setup means whenever I do the ‘big stuff’ – sheets and blankets, et al, I trek down a few blocks to the coffee/’mat to commandeer multi-machines. Fortunately, it’s a pretty clean place, and well surveilled by the coffee shop owners as well as the sometimes present staff. And the units are named, so sometimes Mary does my wash while Joe blows me dry. [grin]

    I USED to use a ‘mat on upper Van Ness, until one day I witnessed a transient man use one of the very back washers – he stripped down full monty and did a load (of laundry! relax.) Although I was empathetic to his desire to get ‘em all done, it was enough to turn me off of that ‘mat forever.


  11. dave (unregistered) on March 22nd, 2007 @ 11:06 am

    Lower Haight. Just did my laundry last night and there was a dude just hanging out with no laundry whatsoever, laughing every time I looked at him. I put my stuff in the washer, ran across the street to get some Ethiopian food and returned to wait with my laundry the whole rest of the time. What a waste of an evening! I had to hide the food too, which isn’t easy with greasy Ethiopian food, from the owner.


  12. weeb (unregistered) on March 26th, 2007 @ 9:29 pm

    when living on 24th street near alabama, i ended up sitting on a bench in the laundromat with human feces on it. i smelled something foul on and off before i looked down and saw it smeared onto my favorite jeans and plaid shirt. these went into a plastic bag and into the garbage when i got home. then, i took a long, hot, shower.


  13. Aaron (unregistered) on April 1st, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

    I’m from SF……for a time, I lived in the Haight for 10 years and you’re very lucky…….The homeless end up in the Haight….they live in the Park….and when they need a change of clothes…they go to the local Laundrymat…..Just because someone in your size will at one time or another leave….and you will get your pick of anything you want……Now when you leave your clothes you are saying “Please take what ever you want..I don’t care”…..if you notice…the homeless hang out there because its very warm during the winter months…..which is all year long in SF..just about……and when they don’t need clothes…they steal them anyway to take to the local goodwill…….so you are hosed no matter what………



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