by Lindsay Paterson
- A French website is taking social sharing to a new level by bringing together people whose washing machines are sitting unused during the day, with those who need a handy place to wash their clothes (Maddyness.com, 26 September 2012).
- The site, LaMachineDuVoisin.com, invites machine-owners to sign up and set the days and hours when their machine is available. People nearby can then book a time slot where they’ll pop in to do the weekly wash.
- Owners charge around €2 per wash and often offer a chat and a quick coffee as part of the service.
- The site takes no money for the service, and the developers say that their goal was to help rebuild communities around the old French concept of the lavoir, where the weekly wash was also a social event in the village.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Community is much valued in French society, but fragmentation is becoming an issue. Giving a helping hand to a neighbour helps rebuild traditional links and increase feelings of belonging.
- Putting an important (but not constantly used) household essential at the service of others is a great way to make a little extra income.