“Every Friday night in Poland, tens of thousands of students return home from university bearing unpleasant gift for their mothers: bag after bag of dirty laundry.”
That’s the start of TV commercial running in Poland (that we first saw on Design Taxi) for a new product from Tide.
To address the age-old problem of kids too inept to figure out how to perform what is — next to breathing — quite possibly the easiest task on Earth, Tide has developed a new product: A self-washing t-shirt designed on the front with a cartoon image of a weeping mom, whose tears contain Tide washing powder. Which means all kids have to do it put the shirt in the washing machine and press start. Instead of putting the shirt in the washing machine, adding detergent, and then pressing start. Apparently it’s that middle step that’s the problem.
Why the mom tears on the shirt, you ask? Because moms can’t believe they’re still washing their kids’ clothes. And that instead of actually teaching them how to do it themselves, Tide is making shirts with detergent embedded in the fabric, thereby giving up any hope that subsequent generations will ever be self-sufficient.
At a time when everyone is eulogizing a generation that jis seemingly unemployable, when their failure to launch is becoming the stuff of legends, isn’t laundry something they should brag about being among their skill set? Do we really need to coddle this generation yet again by making the simplest tasks even more elementary? They’re not working; shouldn’t laundry be their full-time job?
So how about instead of giving kids a t-shirt that serves as nothing more than a reminder that they are overgrown tweens at best, giving them a product with directions about how much soap to pour into the machine?
Oh, wait. What’s that, you say? You mean that’s already on the bottle?
Then how about gently showing the young adults where the directions are located, and let them know if they’re intelligent enough to sit in college-level classes and discuss Flaubert or write 25-page papers on, say, the relationship between corporate governance and the financial markets, then surely, surely, they can figure out how to do their laundry to the extent that they don’t require specialized wardrobe to prevent their mother from an emotional breakdown.
It would seem that college kids have forever been bringing their laundry home. Perhaps not so much because they are incapable of doing it themselves, but because laundry rooms in dorms are often filthier and more crowded than a bus full of deodorant-averse passengers during rush-hour. Plus, what college student do you know has a stack of quarters at the ready for each load of laundry?
I certainly don’t expect my kids to know everything by the time they go off to college. And maybe I won’t mind doing their laundry when they come home to visit. (Although I mind it now, and they’re only 2 and 5, so I can’t imagine I’ll rejoice at a bag full of their dirty underwear and leggings when they’re 18 and 21.)
But I can tell you, nay, I can promise you this: If, when they’re in college, I’m doing their laundry, it will be by choice, and not necessity. When I teach them, they will learn. At that point, if they choose not to do their laundry, their foul-smelling garments will be on them. And the stench from it all will be the only thing making me cry.
More from Meredith on Babble:
- 13 Charmingly Illustrated ‘Super Families’ Show Superheroes in a Relative Way
- The Changing Face of America: Exploring the Complexity of Cultural and Racial Origins (PHOTOS)
- The New J. Crew Baby Line Includes a $178 Cashmere Onesie for Your Charming Cherub to Puke On