Analyzing Norm Alternatives

A dormitory has a problem. People put their laundry in the washers and/or dryers but don’t come back promptly to collect their stuff so that the next person can use the machines. Some folks have taken to dumping the clothes of offenders on the floor. Others just get angry at the fact that they have to wait for the machine to be available even though it is not actually in use. An associated problem is that unattended laundry has been getting stolen. Comment on the following norms/procedures. Assume that the given norm/procedure will dutifully be followed by all.

  1. The machine is yours as long as your clothes are in it and folks shouldn’t mess with other people’s clothes
  2. Sign up sheets allow people to pre-schedule the necessary 40 minute wash time and up to 1 hour of subsequent drier time.
  3. If you come upon an untended full washer which has completed its cycle and no one is within earshot (you might give a yell, for example) then you can empty the contents onto the adjoining laundry table in a pile. Same for driers even if the load isn’t dried.
  4. You must stay with your laundry while it washes and dries. Unattended laundry is completely up for grabs. A study table and a computer terminal is installed in the laundry room so students can work while waiting.
  5. Put a lock on the laundry room and require people who want to wash their clothes to sign out a key.