Tuesday, October 19, 2021


By Monte Lazarus



Sometime ago I set a very important goal for myself…free laundry on cruises. Just thinking about it sent me reeling. Imagine, packing only about a third of our normal load (including my dear wife who totes an Elizabeth Taylor sized luggage collection on every trip), and having fresh clothes throughout the journey, and all free!

My life’s new goal was achieved in April, 2012. On our next cruise aboard an unnamed cruise line once featured on a television series, we shall receive free laundry, dry cleaning, shoe polishing and hors d’oeuvres on formal nights. Wow!

All this was achieved with minimum effort – simply racking up over 150 days of cruising on the aforementioned nameless cruise line. All that fun rewarded with free laundry. What else in life is such a complete bargain?

I know, I know: the 150 days at sea cost some bucks. How many? Based on an average of about $350 a day (for two) it comes to a mere $52,500. But, it’s necessary to subtract all the savings by being away from expensive Marco Island those 150 days. Considering meals, house cleaning, electric and water bills and grandiose home entertainment the net must only be a paltry few thousand dollars. Furthermore, it’s absolutely necessary to apply the economist’s “Anyhow Factor” and “Alternative Vacation Factor.” The “Anyhow Factor” states that we would have cruised anyhow, so the cost must be factored out of the laundry equation. The “Alternative Vacation Factor” demonstrates that we would have spent money on vacations even if we did not cruise. That means we cannot consider cruise costs in dealing with our laundry. It’s absolutely logical and clear, therefore, that our laundry aboard that favorite nameless cruise line is completely free. It also demonstrates that it is possible to justify virtually anything if you really work at it.

There is one possible drawback to free laundry. Could it be that, with free laundry available, my mate would possibly be tempted to pack excess dirty stuff just to have it cleaned for nothing aboard ship? Don’t scoff. I once shared an office with The Cheapest Man in The World. He bought his food at the Sixth Street Market in Washington, D.C., where he could get outdated cereals at absurdly low prices; he went to the government cafeteria to get a bowl of hot water and ketchup for his daily free lunch; he bought t-shirts for five cents apiece (they were purple) at the Army-Navy Surplus store; and we once convinced him to get his suits at the local morgue by calling a certain telephone number we thoughtfully provided where he could let them have his size so that an unclaimed body with a nice suit might provide him with a new wardrobe. This is all true, so help me.

My wife would never stoop so low. However, just to be certain I’ve decided to stow all large suitcases in a hidden vault with a combination known only to me and Geraldo Rivera.

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