Washing machines: not just for winners on The Price is Right or for married people with kids.


I grew up watching the always-coifed-and-tanned Bob Barker and the gang on The Price is Right, which for those of you unfamiliar, is the longest-running and most popular daytime game show in American television history.

As with any game show, the goal is to amass as much loot as possible by winning a series of games, some of which require rudimentary common sense (like in Grocery Game or Most Expensive) and all of which require copious helpings of good luck (as in Plinko, my all-time favorite).

Prizes can range anywhere between a new set of pots and pans (great…) to Caribbean cruises and cars. But usually dorky cars. Like Buicks.

But it would be an oversight to ignore one of the most common prizes of all, the washer and dryer. “Oh look, Bob, what do we have here?” emcee Rod Roddy asks Bob.

“What, Rod?”

“We have a lovely front loading Maytag washer with the new DependableClean four-step system that washes away dirt and removes residue. With a capacity of 3.3 cubic feet, it allows you to wash more clothes in a single load. Its matching dryer uses the GentleBreeze drying system and has a rear panel with easy-to-use touch pad controls. With the wrinkle release cycle, your clothes come out looking freshly ironed. Bob, back to you.”

Every time I would bear witness to some nondescript guy clad in a faded Florida Gators sweatshirt winning a washer and dryer, which was often between the ages of ten and 15, I would think, “Ohhh, you poor sucker, you won the lamest possible prize on The Price Is Right.”

I hadn’t really thought about the game show until last week, when I walked to the basement in my house and witnessed the Second Great Flood as caused by my Whirlpool AWS-297.

FYI, when I say my Whirlpool, I mean my landlord’s Whirlpool, who lives in California.

The drain, conveniently located in front of my washer, couldn’t keep up with the water. It was like the Hoover dam – or Kárahnjukar – had released with unending fury.

I knew my landlord wouldn’t exactly be excited to hear about this. Thanks to Iceland’s outrageous electronics and appliance prices, it would probably cost her close to a month’s rent. But after a quick email exchange, we decided that a new washing machine was to be in store. After ten years, it had died a slow death.

It was while standing in front the washing machine section at Elko, Iceland’s main appliance store, that I realized that buying a washing machine wasn’t just for married people with kids. I also realized that life would be a helluva lot easier if I could’ve just won one on a game show rather than weighing the pros and cons of an Electrolux (“owned by AEG, Swedish, very good company,” the saleswoman tells me) versus an LG.

Until last week I’ve never had to ponder what kind of washing machine to buy. Why? Because until I moved to Iceland, I was a slave to Laundromats, which don’t exist here because everyone seems to own their own washer. Or uses their boyfriend’s or a friend of a friend’s.

The point is that it’s a real step up in my life of luxury that I have my very own washer just three flights of stairs beneath my flat.

I called Elko beforehand to ask for a recommendation. Inga gave me a couple options, including two Electroluxes, one for ISK 45000 and the step up for ISK 59000, and one LG for ISK 50000. Here’s the description of the less expensive Electrolux: “Framhlaðin 1000 snúninga þvottavél með sjálfvirkri jafnvægis og froðustjórnun.”

That’s not Pig Latin, folks, that’s a real sentence from Elko’s website.

I hoped I was asking all the right questions – warranties, weight limits, will Elko pick up the old one and dispose of it? – ultimately, I decided upon the Electrolux þvottavél (1000sn), ISK 45000, because, really, who needs a digital timer? (European washing machines require at least double the amount of time per cycle, usually around two hours).

Gummi (pronounced: Goom-ie), the pony-tailed, scruffy-faced plumber, came to install it the next day (ISK 5000, an entirely fair hourly rate) and my laundry future was looking up. This would be eternal love, I realized. This shiny white Electrolux 1000sn would lose its washing virginity to my very own t-shirts and hoodies!

But long after Gummi had jetted to his next housecall, I realized that I had no idea what the drawings on the dial meant. I couldn’t even tell hot from cold – there weren’t any degrees or some sort of red/blue temperature icon – let alone the blue triangle with the arrow from the red one with the flower.

No problem, I thought, I’ll just check out the instruction manual. I flip past the Norwegian, Swedish, Danish. At this point I’m about halfway through the manual. There’s the Icelandic. Finnish. Sweet, the English section must be last.


There wasn’t one. SB

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.