It's finally here, folks -- the worst startup idea yet. Washboard launched on Thursday with its plan to mail you quarters for your laundry. Planning to do a few loads in the near future? Just fork over $15 and you'll receive $10 in quarters sent to the address of your choice.
Why the 50 percent markup? Well, you get more value if you order 20 bucks worth -- that'll only cost you $27. But, hey, this isn't a charity, you know. You're paying for postage, and then Washboard keeps a buck or two from each transaction.
Where are all these laundromats that are nowhere near change machines or card payment systems? I've used many, many a pay washer while traveling and never had to stray very far to make fiscal arrangements with the machine.
One machine in Mexico delivered me a 200-volt shock when I dipped my hand in to test the water temperature, but I was able to convert my greenbacks to quarters and then to pesos. Even when my laundry almost kills me, I'm still able to pay with exact change, so I don't really get the need here.
It wouldn't be fair to call Washboard's concept a joke... because the 25-year-old joke that it most closely resembles was actually more useful.
The below sketch from a 1988 episode of "Saturday Night Live" for a bank that does nothing but make change for folks with an extremely high level of customer service was actually a far more utilitarian concept, even if there's no viable business model in it.