Max the laundromat owner generally liked his customers, but there was one man – perhaps in his 30s — who never seemed to want to say more than “hello” and “good-bye”. Even though he would say “thanks” when given his washed things, it was never with a smile. One morning this customer had brought in his washing and was about to leave, when an attractive young women customer named Anna walked in. He looked at her and said “hello” but she ignored him. The man stopped for a moment, but then continued out the door onto the street. Anna was usually very pleasant to Max, but this time said very little until just before she left.

Anna to Max:  

“Does he come here often?”




 “The man who just left.”


“Sometimes. But he is not one of my favorite customers. I don’t know his name. He never wants to say anything except hello and goodbye.”


“I don’t like him either. His name is John and he works in the same office as my sister. He has a bad reputation for lying about other people in the office. And he treats women very badly – always trying to touch them where he shouldn’t.”

Max nodded to show his understanding:

“A very bad person!”

After Anna, Max sorted the dirty washing of his customers before putting them into his washing machines. After what he had been told about John, he would not normally have put his washing in Fran – which he reserved for his favorite customers – but he had become distracted by another customer. By the time Max realized his mix-up Fran was already washing and Max apologized to her.


“I am sorry Fran, you should not have to wash things that belong to people like this John. A very bad man!”

Fran decided that she would not talk to John’s things as she washed them. Being washed at the same time meant that it was almost impossible for Fran to talk to Anna’s things without John’s things overhearing, so Fran did not attempt to make further conversation. But, after a while, one of John’s items – a pair of underpants – asked Anna’s bra why Anna did not like John.

Anna’s bra:

“You heard what she said. It should be clear.”

John’s underpants:

“I have been with John for about 2 years. I don’t think what your owner said about John is true. How many times has Anna actually met him?”

Anna’s bra:

“I don’t know. Anna sometime wears other bras. I was only there once. I trust what Anna’s sister tells her!”

Anna’s panties had been listening to the conversation and now spoke for the first time, directing her words to Anna’s bra:

“I have known Anna longer than you have. Anna believes whatever her sister tells her. But not long ago I was washed with one of her sister’s work shirts and I was told that Anna’s sister hates John because he does not ask her out. Instead, he is interested in another woman at work.”

John’s underpants:

“Oh! You mean Kristina!”


“So maybe Anna’s sister is jealous of Kristina?”

Just then the washing stopped and Max took out all the things for drying. That afternoon John came to collect his washing accompanied by a young woman. Max was convinced that John was a “bad man” and made even less attempt than normal to talk to him.

As they left, the young women said to John in a voice that Max could hear:

“I don’t think he likes you. Why?”


“I don’t know Kristina.”

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