Two days into our new house, and we were already longing for the luxury of 10 USD per load laundry costs at the Derag (and that was the DIY cost). Austrian rental properties are only required to have a sink and stove; we have a full and complete kitchen, but no laundry. What I thought was a laundromat around the corner from our house was a laundry service, and the family vote was against having an Austrian Frau gossip about our “dirty laundry” (Pun! Get it?).
The Diplomat Underground Classifieds (a completely made-up title) listed a gently used washer/dryer combo available in late July, but I thought best of making the good folks at Tony’s office have to endure three weeks of him wearing the same two handwashed shirts over and over given the likelihood of receiving our air freight any time soon, but mostly because I’d be doing the handwashing.
Since I’d already conquered having my hair cut in an Austrian salon, ordering a washer and dryer should be a walk in the park. Besides, Tony was off to the English- speaking world of UNO City, and I am the Trailing Spouse, after all. This is what I do.
Confidently I walked into the appliance store and asked to see the washer and dryers available. The clerk and I exchanged our best Germ-anglish, and I agreed on a set. Small problem that the dryer needed to be ordered and would not be available until the following week; drying racks are a European staple, after all. And stiff underwear is good for the soul.
While writing up the bill, the owner of the appliance store noted that since I was purchasing a full set, the cost was reduced by €150. Sehr gut! I then inquired about delivery, expecting, of course, a “Between 10:00 and 2:00” timeframe within the next week. The clerk opened his notebook and asked if I would like delivery TODAY! In 30 minutes!
I’ll pause while you process that.
I politely asked if delivery could be in the afternoon. Of course it could! Would 14:00 be acceptable? Ja, danke! The children and I continued a couple of errands before heading home, where I was then left to await said delivery while they headed to the pool. (Yes. I turned my children loose in a foreign country after only a week to walk to the pool ten minutes away from the house, the only instructions being to call when they arrived.)
14:00 passed with no delivery. 14:30 passed with no delivery. I noticed a missed call on my phone, but when I tried to call the number there was no answer. Fret, fret. Had I failed at my first Trailing Spouse challenge?
At 16:30 I called again, and the owner APOLOGIZED for not being able to reach me. He had found a comparable washer/dryer set that was available for delivery, THAT WAS €50 LESS than what I ordered and wanted to know if I would like delivery of that set instead. In 30 minutes.
So, in the downpour of an Austrian late afternoon summer shower, the owner and the clerk from the appliance store delivered and installed the washer and dryer for us, tested it to make sure it was operational, and handed me a crisp €50 note.