Schnell & Sauber is a chain of German laundromats where I have spent many an unhappy hour among devices designed by Satan himself. Schnell & Sauber means fast and clean. Yes, this place will clean you out, fast.

Thoughtfully, the vending machine which distributes the smart cards (required by all the washing machines) works in three languages, English, German and Turkish. Unfortunately, the posters on the wall, the washing machines themselves, the dryers and the powder vending machine are only in German.

If that weren't quite bad enough, the user interface was designed by an evil genius to be incomprehensible to even German-speakers. When the screen displays the words "eject card," this means "insert money to add to the value of your card, then eject card." When the machine is out of cards, the "issue new card" option disappears completely. Was it ever really there?. When there is no washing powder available, your card will still be deducted the 50 pfennig for the powder, but nothing will happen. Is that washing machine is out of order? It costs 4 Deutsche marks to find out. If a dryer is kaputt and running cold, you still get charged, but you have to wait 40 minutes to find out.

Oh yeah, and never put more than 10 marks on your card, because the cards tend to fail after about 5 uses. At least "checksum error" is something I can understand!

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