To buy a plum bun
I’m pretty sure there are no monsters under my bed. But dust bunnies? Ah, that’s another matter.
I used to have a nice vacuum cleaner, but when my membership in the middle class ended abruptly a couple years ago, it had to go. I got 40 bucks for it, which is considerably less than I paid, but hey.
The crash pad in Portland had one I could use, but I’ve been going without a vacuum cleaner since I moved to the foothill villa. I can sweep loose crud off the linoleum with a broom, and the industrial-grade carpet hides dust & dirt rather well.
But that carpet has taken on enough of a gray mask to make me think it’s time to do a better job of housekeeping. I need a vacuum cleaner.
What’s on Craigslist? Kirbys, which have this kinda steampunk thing going on (and which were hideously expensive devices sold by sleazy door-to-door salesmen when I was a kid); Dirt Devils, which in my experience don’t work very well and self-destruct rather easily. And Dysons.
I admire James Dyson. Not because I think he’s such a wonderful person—the guy comes across as a total a*****e in his commercials—but because he has the chutzpah to charge $600 for a vacuum cleaner. And people pay it!
It’s not that the technology he talks about is bovine excrement; how well air inside the machine moves does indeed affect how well dirt and dust get sucked up.
But OMG, conventional (i.e., not made by Dyson) vacuum cleaners LOSE SUCTION!!! Yeah, but if you empty the bag/canister of a conventional (i.e., not made by Dyson) vacuum cleaner and clean the filter once in a while, the suction will return. Really, it will.
As far as I can tell, people fork over the c-notes because 1) Mr. Dyson’s upper-class British accent gives him credibility among people likely to think $600 for a vacuum cleaner is a good deal, and 2) his company takes full advantage of the underlying fear of not being perceived as cool that underpins all marketing taking place in the U.S. over the last 30 years.
Back when I had my condo, I gave several tutorials on the subject of how to use a plunger to my Gen-X/Y neighbors who’d mentioned they’d paid a plumber an ungodly sum of money to unclog their toilets. They were amazed. They’d never seen a plunger before. And they almost universally had no idea what things actually cost. Six c-notes for a vacuum cleaner seemed like a bargain to them. So did six grand for a flat-panel TV, but that’s another subject.
I’d found a couple of possibilities at big-box stores’ Web sites, but the sun was out. And I had discovered how to get to the Kmart at Sunset Square without using I-5. And we’re in for another cold snap. And because the best way to keep gas from going bad is to burn it. 😉
Kmart had some appealing choices in the $60-70 range, but that’s a bit rich for my blood. They do layaways, I think, but there’s a Goodwill store next door. Let’s go see what they have. As I walked toward the door, this caught my eye.
There wasn’t one on display, but the illustration on the box shows styling that’s kind of a mashup of Honda Metropolitan and Yamaha Vino 50. Claimed top speed is 15 mph, which is not much slower than electric scooters intended for riding in traffic by adults. I see this one is called the “Sweet Pea Pocket Mod”. There’s also a base model without the streamers, in any color you want as long as it’s lavender. From the Web page:
The Pocket Mod™ gives every young girl with an eye for fashion and a passion for fun a set of wheels that is sure to be the hottest ride on the block. Vintage-inspired styling meets high performance with the classic Italian scooter design.
Look carefully—you’ll notice it has an under-seat storage compartment! This thing is endorsed by Teen Vogue, so it must be good, right? The box says it’s recommended for riders 13 and older. In France and Italy, 14-year-olds (girls and boys) can ride road-legal 50cc scooters, on the street, without a driver’s license. I don’t have kids, but if I did I can assure you I’d rather have them riding in traffic on a 50 than toddling down a sidewalk on one of these things.
Let’s review: The messages being sent by this thing are 1) a scooter is a toy; 2) scooters are only for girls; 3) it’s okay to wear a bicycle helmet when riding a scooter. *Sigh!*
In the door at Goodwill, I head straight for the housewares section. There is a veritable used vacuum cleaner lot in the corner! How much? Fifteen bucks?! Well, $14.99. There are a couple others for $19.99, and there’s even a Kirby for $39.99. Some steampunk fan would love that one, but I spot a $14.99 item that has all the tools, and even a place for an extra bag.
But how am I going to get it home? Yeah, I could probably bungee it to the GTS, but it’s windy, and the pavement is wet. It would make a good sail. Maybe I can pay for it and have them hold it while I run home and fetch the Fourth Estate?
No prob, says the lady at the checkout. A sign says they’ll hold purchases for up to 24 hours. I won’t need anywhere near that much time.
The sun came out, the heavens smiled, and it was good.
I couldn’t wait to test my new acquisition. Unspool the cord, plug it in, and turn it on. It sucked up the debris on the carpet like nobody’s business.
And emitted a B.O. smell to rival the one in Jerry Seinfeld’s BMW.
Well, the bag was full. I removed the bag and tossed it in the Dumpster, but there’s still B.O. smell in the bag compartment.
Not a problem. Wipe it down with a white vinegar/water mixture and install a fresh bag, and all should be well. Fred Meyer has vacuum cleaner bags.
It’s still light, and the pavement is drying. I’ll make this trip on the GTS, of course.