Is It Weird For Laundromats To Boast That They Psych Test Their Employees?

Jen thought nothing of dropping her laundry off at the local laundromat until she got it back. Wrapped around her underwear she found this orange band boasting: “All Our Employees Have Passed A Psychological Exam For Honesty & Personal Integrity.” Now she’s a little sketched out and would like to know if this the sort of the reassurance you want or expect from your local laundromat. Hit the jump to vote in our poll.


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  1. dg says:

    ummmm, awkward!

  2. TheUncleBob says:

    The laundromat I work at did not require any testing.

    As such, we often put the women’s dirty panties on our heads and run around in the back, clucking like chickens. Also, there’s this one guy’s underwear, we try to see how many people we can fit into it. We’re up to seven, since we hired this one midget guy (pretty sure the boss hired him *just* for this).

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      *snerk*

      Ever play the cloud game with stains? “This stain looks like a carrot” “this stain looks like a bean.”

  3. JoeTheDragon says:

    Psychological Exams are discrimination and people should sue if they don’t get a job after failing them.
    As some of the questions are real real dumb ones as well.

    • Coe-Stanza says:

      Explain this please.

      • Dory says:

        In the United States, only criteria which are strictly germane to the job to be performed may be considered in the context of hiring decisions. If an applicant was discarded on the basis that they did not satisfy a non-job-related criteria, they can sue for discrimination.

        As such, broad psychological profiles and personality tests are often considered discriminatory under the law, although not in all cases. Similarly, narrow profiles and tests (which check for specific job-related traits, as opposed to creating a profile of an entire personality) are usually acceptable.

        • GameHen says:

          The tests also have to be demonstrated as valid and reliable. In other words… “consistently, individuals who “pass” this test have been demonstrated to succeed (where “succeed” is defined) in this job whereas individuals who “fail” this test do not.” This is true of any test given for any job, not just pysch tests.

          • Timbojones says:

            I don’t know that both of those conditions are necessary. We give programmer applicants a simple programming test. If they fail this test, I can guarantee that they will also fail at the job. But as we have seen a few times, just because they pass the test does not indicate that they will succeed at the job.

        • JMILLER says:

          Which would actually be the case here. People who work at a laundromat handle money, and other peoples property. The fact that the laundry takes possession of the property and it is expected to be returned undamaged and actually there is of utmost importance to the business owner.
          By the way, “only criteria which are strictly germane to the job to be performed may be considered in the context of hiring decisions.” is really not a comment. An employer can pick ANY criteria they choose to be germane as long as it does not affect a protected class. If I say, I do not like that you wore a purple polka dotted tie to your interview, I can say no to hiring you. People who wear purple polka dotted ties are not a protected class.
          If I said, I will not hire them because they are man, I would be in violation, UNLESS their protected class was germane to the job (a Hooters girl)

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      No they’re not discriminatory and they are quite accurate and designed by psychologists. Just the same, I don’t like them either. The questions are kind of odd but are designed to point out your personality traits and whether you would be a team-player, communicate well, controlling, open-minded, etc. The problem is that people change as they grow older so that backfire on someone wanting to get back into a career that they had 20 years earlier. I remember a question about a woman with blonde hair and how I would react to her differently than a woman with dark hair. This test was popular in the early-mid nineties but died out (at least where I am from). I don’t know of any company that gives it out anymore.

      • Dory says:

        Just between you, me and the Internet, I’m wondering just what kind of place they’re running here.

        They’re open late, their employees are honest and discreet, and Mr. Machine (who is “super clean”) is already happy to… “service” your needs.

        *eyebrow eyebrow*

      • qualia says:

        They’re not all THAT accurate. They’re often proprietary, so employers who use them never see raw scores, ever, and they’re not peer reviewed to make sure they’re testing what they think they’re testing, and whether those traits actually make a worse worker. For instance, they often test for introversion as well as ANY dishonesty. Like, “do you sometimes lie to spare people’s feelings?” dishonesty. Any schmuck with a marketing degree and a minor in psychology can push one of those tests.

        However, if you did manage to make a test which, say, looked for clinical depression or bipolarity and didn’t hire on that basis, you might be breaking the ADA.

        • zekebullseye says:

          That question sounds like a validity question. Anyone that says no to that is probably fudging other answers.

        • Dalsnsetters says:

          If the employer *wants* to see the raw scores, they certainly can. It’s up to them to request it.

      • Aesteval says:

        How can you possibly say that they’re accurate? What research shows the accuracy of the tests? How has said research been vetted? For research to actually be valid it needs to be repeatable any number of times by any number of individuals in any number of conditions. Even peer-review lets stinkers through sometimes. If the accuracy is reported by individuals that have a monetary interest in these tests, it’s not valid. These tests are a system, and like any system they can be gamed no matter how many “internal checks” that they claim to have built into them.

        • Aesteval says:

          Addendum: wait, what test are you talking about? If you’re talking about MBTI, it’s not what I’m going on about and it’s also not what the article is about (I think.)

    • qbubbles says:

      They’re pretty easy to game.

      “I often feel like I want to hurt others”

    • roguemarvel says:

      Reminds me how my brother-in-law got turned down for a job because of one of these tests. He interviewed for the job, the guy really liked him and told him he had to take this test “shouldn’t be a problem is really easy, everyone passes”. My bi-polar brother-in-law did not and was very embarrassed.

  4. ThyGoddess says:

    At least they’re honest about my pants!

  5. brinks says:

    To call it a “psychological exam” seems a bit much. Retail employees at most bigger chains have to take a personality test just to see how they would interact with customers (or that they at least know how they SHOULD act and then select that answer). However…it’s a laundromat. And those things are expensive. I doubt it’s the best way to spend their money.

    I can’t imagine anyone who actually WANTS to handle underwear is going to pass that test anyway.

  6. Clyde Barrow says:

    Actually this has been done for years. I got such a test back in ’96. Not surprised and I think it also given years before ’96 also. No big deal except for the prospective employee who fails to get employed based upon the data outcome.

  7. MDillenbeck says:

    Lots of places use these typically 300 question psychological evaluations designed by industrial psychologists. However, they are designed to test whether an employee is stable enough to show up for work, loyal to an employer, honest enough not to steal from the employer, and of the right perky personality type to deal with customers.

    Heck, a week after a roommate and girlfriend had a fight that resulted in a burned down apartment I had to take one of these to work at a gas station. I had to go back and explain myself for a few of the questions, like have you been depressed in the last few weeks… I told them “yes, considering my roommates girlfriend just burned down the apartment we were living in and I have been trying to find a new place to stay other than my car.”

    What I find surprising is that the minimum-wage workers are subjected to these kinds of tests but not the upper level executives. Who is more of a risk to your business (in terms of damage they can do if they flip out) – the janitor or the CEO???

  8. dustindmw says:

    It’s a bit strange to be sure. I would certainly get a chuckle out of it, but honestly it wouldnt really affect my continuing to spend money there one way or the other. I definitely wouldn’t be “sketched out”. That’s a pretty vague term anyways, but I mean why would it make you NOT want to go there?

  9. EarthAngel says:

    Was the Rorschach test performed before or after the stains were removed from my clothing?

  10. rahntwo says:

    This is not a big deal. If you have ever applied electronically at walmart or k mart, you have taken “A Psychological Exam For Honesty & Personal Integrity” If you get a call from them, you know you passed. During the course of the application they ask you a bunch of “what would you do if…” questions like Jethro asks you to punch out for him so he can sneak out early- what would you do? I bet thats all this is.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      What’s in it for me? Does he pay me to clock him out?

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        I see what you did there.

        Always amused me that clocking is slang for punching someone in the “hitting” sense, and that punching is slang for clocking in and out for work.

        • rahntwo says:

          Well, you see, back in the olden days, employee time clocks actually punched out a small chunk of the card along one side. Thats why its called punching out.

    • Rocket says:

      I took one of these exams when I applied for a job at Best Buy (I was desperate). The 1st time I got it wrong, but then I found the answers online, and immediately got a call. I turned the job down for a programming job elsewhere. But, Best Buy’s test wanted to see if you were a corporate drone.

  11. al says:

    I guess its nice to feel that someone wont be rubbing your underwear all over their face.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I would honestly feel sorry for them if they were. It would be easy to spot by the passed out people in the store…

  12. momtimestwo says:

    I don’t care, I’d just be happy for someone else to do the laundry for a change!

  13. backinpgh says:

    I’m sure that by that they mean those retarded questionnaires you have to fill out before applying to any and every retail job these days. “I think it’s okay to steal office supples. Strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree…” I hate those fricking things.

    • Pinklette says:

      I actually had one potential employer tell me flat out, “You know what answers they’re looking for, just answer accordingly.” Best boss ever!

  14. Alvis says:

    Wait… what? Laundromats have employees now? Like, to make change?

    • caradrake says:

      I’m puzzled by this as well. Are there actually places where you drop your laundry off and they clean it? Like launder it, not dry clean?

      I’ve only ever seen do-it-yourself laundromats.

      • Etoiles says:

        In New York, many, many laundromats that have the self-serve coin-op machines also have an option where you can drop off your laundry and be charged by the pound for its cleaning.

        (I always did my own clothes but for the huge bundles of sheets and towels it was usually only very marginally more expensive — maybe $2 total — to have them do it and it saved loads of time and energy. Because the laundromat was two blocks away with no seats or standing room and my apartment was a 6th floor walk-up…)

        I’ve not seen it outside of NYC, but I also haven’t used very many laundromats elsewhere. I would expect other large cities to have places like that as well.

        • TasteyCat says:

          The laundromat I frequent also offers drop off service. It’s in a small town in MA. I think the owner just handles the work in between tending to other matters.

      • Michaela says:

        I’ve actually seen quite a few in college towns in the South. You just drop the clothes off and pick them up all clean and folded later (actually, some will deliver them to your home or dorm, but the fees for that are probably a bit high).

      • Dalsnsetters says:

        Here in St. Petersburg, FL there are self-serve laundromats, full-serve laundromats (where you drop your clothes off and they run them thru their Maytag), and dry cleaners. Some dry cleaners also provide laundry services.

        I pass one every day that says “We Wash, We Dry, We Fold”……of course, they’re not exactly specifying *what* it is they are washing, drying and folding. Hmmmmm.

  15. qbubbles says:

    Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Just dont tell me about it.

  16. madanthony says:

    I’m assuming it’s like the test I had to take years ago when I worked for Toys R Us. It had such tough questions as “I think it’s OK to steal” T/F?

    The only people it screens out are people too dumb to figure out how to take a standardized test.

    I’ve noticed Staples has a similar sticker on their front door, but it’s worded as “all of our employees have passed pre-employment testing”.

    • El_Red says:

      The funniest test I’ve seen was on BestBuy website. My friend was filling it up. It was 30 minutes of various : ”Will you steal from us?” questions. I was slightly insulted and dazzled by such idiotic test. I think he was lucky not being hired there. A company that consideres its potential employees as thiefs in the making, is not a nice place to work.

  17. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    makes me wonder what the test questions are for honesty and personal integrity.
    for a short while, [after i started working there so i didn't have to take it] kaybee toys made applicants go through an honesty test done by phone through the home office.
    one of the questions was ‘if you saw a bag full of money lying in the street would you think about keeping it?’
    apparently that question was the reason the test was discontinued after a few months. the ‘correct’ answer was ‘yes’ and if you answered no you didn’t get hired because the company that devised the test couldn’t imagine anyone being honest enough to not think about keeping the money. the question was geared toward being answered honestly enough to say yes. they assumed any ‘no’ answer was the lie.
    somehow it was a big surprise to the home office when huge numbers of people got caught stealing from the stores. my store had three of them working together taking the [at the time] brand new playstation2 units off the truck and into the bushes outside the back of the mall to be picked up later, and then claiming they weren’t in the shipment.

    • kutsuwamushi says:

      A bag full of money lying on the street?

      Forget about honesty, I wouldn’t consider keeping it because it would probably be a trap or test. In the extremely implausible scenario where it wasn’t, people still don’t just casually drop bags of money; it’d be there for a reason, and I wouldn’t want to get mixed up in whatever was going down.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I hate those questions because they never expand. My Mother used to hit me with the “If everyone was jumping off a bridge, would you?” I would ask back “Is the bridge over water or land? Fresh or salt water? Is the bridge on fire? Are both ends on fire? Is there a truck heading towards me/us? Is there a child drowning in the water? Etc…”

      That money question is open to the same questions. How full is it? Is there ID? Is the money in wrappers?

      • zekebullseye says:

        That is a great way to answer the “jump of the bridge” question. LOL!

      • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

        If everyone is jumping off the bridge, it means it ain’t too high up, and there aren’t any dangerous rocks below.. So sure! Sounds like a fun way to cool off on a hot summer day!

  18. Etoiles says:

    I’m pretty sure that at every laundromat I’ve ever used, the sum total of employee testing is “have two hands.” (And at every cleaner’s I’ve ever used, it’s “have two hands and be able to work 26 hours every day.” I’m really not sure how they do it.)

  19. DD_838 says:

    What if you left a $100 bill in your pants pocket? With sane employees you’d have a 100% chance of getting it back!

    • Dory says:

      What are the odds that a $100 bill would survive a spin in an industrial washing machine?

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        pretty good actually. US currency is made of linen and cotton, both fairly tough fibers. i know leaving money in my pants pocket going through my washing machine doesn’t affect it at all. and washing machines aren’t designed for destruction,regardless of whether they are for industrial or home use.

  20. doodlebug says:

    If the person can clean the clothes properly and not loose them I really don’t care what his or her mental state is.

  21. OnePumpChump says:

    “Our management has failed a psychological test for gullibility.”

  22. yusefyk says:

    So far everyone missed the point. It’s clear from context that this is a marketing blurb meant to catch your attention.

    Clearly it worked.

    • qualia says:

      There are lots of attention grabbing things which make me less likely to spend money at a given location. This is one of them. No, it didn’t work.

  23. XTREME TOW says:

    Wait! Wait! First: What does Jen look like? (kidding!)

    30 years ago, the combination 24-hour Full Service/Repair Gas Station and Conveineince Store I worked at as a Night Assistant Manager, (fancy title for the highest paid schmuck dumb enough to work those hours!) was bought out by a chain type quicky-mart operation. We had to ‘psych test’ new applicants with a written test, then call a number during the day to give the results to the company that makes the tests; then we would get a Yes or No as to our being allowed to hire them. The only people “Qualified” for hire were all dumbass airheads that couldn’t make change (even though the register did the math!); and were always screwing up the paperwork or coming up short. One guy quit after 2 weeks because he “Didn’t like the smell of gasoline.” from sticking the tanks at the beginning and end of shift! Another girl quit after 4 months because she didn’t get enough time off. After she specifically stated she only wanted to work Mon-Friday Second Shift (6-10:30PM). EVERY week, she wanted at least one, sometimes two, days off for various reasons! When other employees offered to trade hours with her to accomodate her constant demands, she complained they were trying to ‘make her’ work hours she didn’t want.
    Is it me? it’s me, isn’t it? I’m the one that doesn’t ‘get it’. Isn’t it?

  24. Intheknow says:

    I don’t know about a psych test. but anytime I’ve ever dropped anything off to be washed and folded I’ve come home missing favorite items of clothing.

  25. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Psych test = Fancy way of asking “Are you going to steal from us?”

  26. calchip says:

    I’m wondering if maybe the owner of the laundromat is from a different culture where such a boast might be considered reasonable and acceptable.

    I’ve seen Chinglish signs that imply similar sorts of things so perhaps it’s just a cultural misfire.

  27. FrankReality says:

    Not only does the laundromat have employees that have proven they are honest and have personal integrity, the owner of the joint can actually spell.

    Now, if they can guarantee that none of my socks are eaten by the elusive sock-snitcher that hides in clothes washers and dryers, that would be something!

    BTW, does anyone else think the washer with face. legs and arms looks a bit creepy? And what happens if the washer is a male and the dryer is a female? Do they dance around the laundromat and do adult appliance things when the place closes and the lights go out?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    j/k

  28. PsiCop says:

    I do my own psychological testing at home.

  29. PsiCop says:

    I do my own psychological testing at home.

  30. jeff_the_snake says:

    TThis is like bojangles posting on their door that they drug test their employees. Why should I care if the guy assembling my biscuit is stoned?

    • watch me boogie says:

      I think it’s to discourage people that won’t pass from wasting the company’s time by applying for work.

    • varro says:

      If they really wanted to be hardcore, they could say they drug test their customers.

      Of course, in fast food, you’d lose a huge amount of your clientele…

  31. Big Mama Pain says:

    Do I really care if my laundromat attendant sniffs my panties before laundering them? No…not really.

  32. KyBash says:

    This ranks right up there with the sign on a cattle ranch — “All of our livestock have gone through an anger management course.”

  33. Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

    What if the psych test shows you are ADD, or OCD, or some kind of milder psychiatric disorder…

    If they refuse to hire you based on this, would that fall under the ADA?

    (I’m not talking about someone who is full-on schizophrenic and may be harmful to themselves, co-workers, or customers… )

    Taking it a step further, what if someone who manages their ADD is taking Desoxyn (prescribed) and they apply for a job that requires a drug test. This will show a positive for Methamphetamine (because Desoxyn is basically prescription Meth) — So this person is not hired. Doesn’t this fall under discrimination, especially under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)

    • mrscoach says:

      But when I’ve been drug tested for jobs I have had to tell them everything I take. They know people take meds, they just need to know what you are on legally.

      I don’t know anything about the prescription you are talking about though, but someone taking it should list it on the form. I’m sure any diagnosed illnesses would have to be given leeway, or run afoul of ADA.

    • Dalsnsetters says:

      Mrscoach is right (I just went thru this for a job I start tomorrow-yay!). I had to take in all of my prescription bottles/inhalers so they could make a note that these drugs are going to show up. In that case you get a pass when they show up on your drug test.

      On the Desoxyn debate……there are soooo many other drugs out there that are effective in treating ADHD/ADD that are *not* addictive and not prone to abuse. I would find it hard to believe that one of these other drugs would not be effective and the physician **had** to prescribe Desoxyn. That seems, to me, to be a drug of totally last resort (and I say that because of the potential for abuse and addiction).

    • Aesteval says:

      The tests in the article aren’t made to determine any psychological disorders so it isn’t inherently discriminatory. However, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if certain disorders influenced the test taker’s answers to the point where the tests may be unintentionally discriminating.

  34. veg-o-matic says:

    Well even underthing-enthusiasts and sock fetishists can be honest and full of personal integrity, so I don’t see how this exam weeds out the weirdos…

  35. spanky says:

    I failed one of those when I was a teenager, based on the fact that I answered questions about whether I’d stolen from an employer in the past, and whether I’d ever brought home anything that belonged to my employer.

    See the difference? They didn’t.

    Oh, and the things I’d brought home from my previous employer were the cash bags, after I’d deposited all the store’s money in the bank every night.

  36. ginnel says:

    I don’t think you can actually tell anything about honesty and integrity from any of these tests. It’s pretty easy to see what answer they are looking for in each question. You would have to be a real idiot to give a wrong answer. But, how about teaching your employees how to make eye contact, interact with customers, and make change properly? That would mean a lot more to me. Have them work one on one with someone who knows how to deal with the public. Not everyone knows how to do this and with some employees it may take time but it would be time well spent intead of wasting time with meaningless tests.

  37. hansolo247 says:

    CompUSA did the same thing. I failed for some reason (really).

  38. coren says:

    It’s weird to me to think of strangers doing my laundry, period. I guess I didn’t realize they had this kind of laundromat – I was thinking of the type where you do your own wash, and then thinking it was super creepy for someone to do that.

  39. unrealsnow says:

    A few years ago, the laundromat I frequented in my hometown was robbed and the night manager murdered by a disgruntled former employee. I agree that the company shouldn’t have worded it like that or even let customers know about their practice but there are reasons for those tests. I think the laundromat in this case probably just meant that they use that standard “will you steal from us” quiz but still. Murdered.