Maytag Memories

“Proudly celebrating 100 years of Maytag washers, we enter the golden age of reliability with a special 100th Year Anniversary laundry pair. Gold consoles and knobs, plus shining front panel trim on the bottom, accent commercial-grade strength that shines with every use.” I’ve never, ever been so excited about laundry machines, especially the Maytag Centennial, the finest piece of American engineering since we invented freedom. The Maytag Corporation spared no expense to unveil this masterpiece to an interested crowd at the cavernous confines of the Museum of Science and Industry last Saturday.

The celebration took place in a lobby of the 3-D Theatre, located behind three separate exhibits: Networld, the Science of the Sphere, and the Whispering Chamber. The ceremonies were scheduled between ten and three PM, and the first 100 people attending the event received a $100 gift card to Home Depot (ostensibly to buy more Maytag products). When I registered at one o’clock, there was still a half-inch stack of gift cards left.

At three o’clock, the day’s events reached critical mass in a drawing for a brand new Centennial washing machine. The “Maytag Repair Man,” the spokesman of the Maytag Corporation, was in attendance, personified by a jovial middle-aged man with two chins who apparently really loves repairing Maytag washing machines. This poor soul was tasked with not only appeasing the crowd, but enthusiastically awarding the lucky family with their brand new “Maytag washing experience.”

By far the most interesting exhibition was a camera setup entitled “Maytag Memories.” After signing a waiver, I was allowed to step up and explain how Maytag had drastically improved my childhood.

I explained, “My family owns a Whirlpool machine. And for that matter, I hate laundry.”

The Maytag employee smiled brightly and responded, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. We were bought by Whirlpool a year ago. We’re all one big happy laundry family.”

In a corner of the room a PowerPoint presentation profiled the “Great American Tradition” of Maytag Washers. The presentation featured pictures of GI’s in World War II using Maytags. GI’s in Iraq using Maytags. Vietnam GI’s using Maytags. In short, if you don’t buy a Maytag, you’re not only pro-Nazi, but pro-communist and pro-terrorist as well.

The 100 years of Maytag history was effortlessly laid out. The overt Americana and pride spilled out in every display–a kiosk showcased the evolution of the Maytag washer from a hand-cranked wooden contraption to the modern golden glory of the “Centennial.” Smiling soccer moms filled the exhibits. 1950s and ’60s housewives shook their heads in disbelief at how quickly their laundry could get done! “Golly gee, Maytag Man, I can’t wait till I get my “Centennial.”