Dry another die

Normally, once I transfer wet laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, a fairly straightforward process occurs. The dryer tumbles around, mixing the clothes up while blowing hot air on them. Then, maybe 30 minutes later, voila – dry clothes.

Fun fact: I once read a musing by someone that in theory, there is a possibility, albeit an infinitesimal one, that your clothes could tumble into a perfect folded stack upon the cycle’s conclusion. I have yet to come anywhere close to this, but it does give me a moment of excitement every time I open the door, much like that feeling I get when I look up the winning Powerball number. Oh, that moment of anticipation!

Upon my most recent load of laundry, I went through the usual steps. And when I opened the door of the dryer, I found that (a) they once again had not ended up in a perfectly folded pile and (b) they were still cold and soaking wet.

Now, I am not an appliance repairman, but I can say that when the “dry” part of a “dryer” is not existent, something is a tad off.

I went online and did a few searches, hoping for something like “All dryers come with a magic reset switch hidden on the back that will automatically make it work again.” Alas, that hope was quickly dashed like a Powerball search.

What I found was pretty much a general consensus that when dryers decide to die, they die. Our dryer is somewhere between eight and 22 years old, depending on whether you ask me or my wife. Either way, it is in the age range where such an end was probably.

We decided we would start our quest for a new dryer at a nearby home improvement store. We had heard that there were some supply issues in some areas, so we went to scout out what was available. When I got to the dryer section, I was pleased to see there were dozens on display. When I began asking about several of them, I was told that they may or may not be in stock. I asked if I could just take one that was on the floor. Apparently, that is not an option, as leaving them out to taunt customers is apparently a thing.

Eventually, we found a model that fit our needs – it was a decent size and it dried. That’s really all we need. We don’t have a lot of complicated laundry. Fortunately, this model was in stock, and they could deliver it tomorrow.

The employee first asked me if I wanted it delivered to my house or the store. Now, I understand scenarios in which having it delivered to the store would be a better option, such as if you were a contractor getting it for someone else’s home. However, that was certainly not my case. Also, I drive a sedan that very much would not accommodate a driver. So home delivery it is.

She then asked me if I wanted to buy the parts that went with the installation. She said if I bought them there, they would install the dryer free of charge. Once I tallied up the cost of the parts needed and saw it was under $30, I said, “Yeah, I’m gonna take that option right away.” 

Next they asked me if the plug was three or four pronged. I said, “The what now?” 

She asked me what year my house was built. I told her, and she said, “OK, it’s a three prong.” I now know that houses built after 1996 utilize four-prong dryer plugs, a fact that I am guessing I will never have the opportunity to use again.

The next day, the dryer was delivered and installed with nary a hitch. It was a curiously seamless process, devoid of the usual hitches that often come with such a thing. It feels so odds defiant, I feel like Lady Luck is in my corner. I can’t wait to open up the first load of laundry and find them sitting there folded perfectly. Now, time to go buy a lottery ticket…

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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