It’s hard to believe, but not everything in the Lower Haight is great.
When bad things happen — crimes, businesses closures, dog poop accumulating on the sidewalks — we feel it’s our duty to inform you.
Well, a very bad thing is happening on a daily basis at 991 Oak Street, site of not just the world’s worst laundromat, but quite possibly the worst place, anywhere in the world, ever.
At first glance, Oak and Scott Laundry seems innocuous enough — the space is barebones to be sure, but with a reasonable number of washers and dryers, a decent-sized table for folding, a few carts, and the like. “Sure, you can do your laundry here,” it beckons.
So from the get-go, it deceives you.
You have your choice of 13 washers, lettered A through M, and 10 dryers — more than enough machinery for you to accomplish the task at hand. Right?
Let’s take a wander around the room to find out.
Washers A and B are the giant industrial kind, big enough for double or perhaps triple loads. “I’ll get all my laundry done at once!” you assume. No, you won’t. Because the coin slots on these ancient machines are currently broken. Strike one.
That’s OK, you’ll just put your stuff in Washer C. Except no, that’s not a good idea. Washer C, naturally, is full of dirt and trash.
Washer D is sealed with duct tape, so, that’s a non-starter.
Washers E and F actually seem to work, which you’re thinking must be a mistake at this point.
Washer G: more duct tape.
Washer H works, but hopefully you weren’t planning on washing any whites today, because the hot water’s busted on this one.
Washer I works, oddly.
Washer J‘s coin slot is covered with a sick water-stained piece of sadness, and there’s a limp handwritten note half-heartedly tucked under the lid that says “DOES NOT SPIN / RINSE.”
That’s fine, you’ll just put your stuff in Washer K. No you won’t, because this one is filled with someone else’s detergent. Always.
Washer L is your last working option, because Washer M is yet another recipient of the duct tape treatment.
So there you go: out of 13 washers, 5 actually work.
The dryers fare slightly better, with only two overtly dysfunctional.
But “overtly” is the key here. Beware: a good half of these “working” dryers are either quarter-gobblers or heat-leakers.
Surely there’s more to a laundromat than just the equipment, though. How about the ambiance?
There is no entertainment of any kind in this magical place, but that’s OK — why not sit for a spell in this uncomfortable wooden chair and consider the series of bad life choices that led you to this moment?
Not appealing? Don’t worry — there’s also this pinkish throne, presumably salvaged from a Nazi-era beauty salon.
If you need quarters for your laundry, you’ve got two change machines to choose from. Just make sure you don’t have any of those new-fangled watermarked bills, because the machines won’t recognize those. Also, don’t use these machines at all, because they’re both broken.
Now, at this point you’re probably thinking, “I’m having so much fun, I need to call a friend and have them come
kill join me.” But you’re also one of the three people in San Francisco who doesn’t have a mobile phone. Well, reach for this totally necessary, completely hygienic, vandalism-free pay phone, drop in one of the quarters you definitely did not get from the adjacent change machine, and dial. Or don’t, because — oh yes — this thing is all kinds of broken.
We could go on and on — the busted carts, the tragic line-up of potted plants, the lack of any management presence whatsoever — but reliving our recent visit to this place is already starting to cause us day-terrors.
The only possible explanation for a visit to Oak and Scott Laundry is to educate your children about man’s ability to suffer at the hands of fellow man. Otherwise, avoid 991 Oak Street like the plague that it is.
Did we mention we don’t like this place?