21 April 2010

On Vacuums

I recently endured enjoyed a Rainbow Vacuum demonstration.

I currently own the second vacuum of my marriage, which I purchased for well under $100, and which I have cursed many times for its manifold failings. My vacuum has, on occasion, made it less than half-way through the front room before it quit sucking. The filter requires changing "ideally" every six months, at a tune of $17-ish. I moaned to Alex and complained about how dreadful it is to have to pay that high price for a filter, and how annoying it is to have to empty the dust bin every time I vacuum and sweep the filter off in order to retain my suction. In short, I was primed with longing for a new vacuum when this lady walked in the door.

The rainbow vacuum uses water, so the air gets sucked in, and the dirt and gunk goes in the water. Then you have to dump your nastified water in the street outside. I felt a lot of pressure to buy the vacuum for the following reasons, in spite of the fact that they say, "No Pressure":

1. She unpacked the extensive thing in my living room, making it seem like I had already purchased the item.

2. I had a chance to earn the vacuum if someone in a list of ten people, who all had to have the same presentation, bought the vacuum.

3. Visions of my clean house started haunting me during the demonstration of the brushes and extenders, the scented humidifier, etc. She asked what I used to dust my blinds, and I sadly imagined all of those times I used a wet washcloth, making the dust stick in wipe designs instead of a light film.

4. If you buy the vacuum the first time you see the demonstration, only 10 of your (homeowning under age 65, husband and wife couple) loved ones have to experience the demonstration. If you don't buy it the first time, THIRTY of them get to do you that favor.

5. You get a several hundred dollar discount for buying it the first time you have the demonstration.

6. If you buy it that night, your house will be transformed from a dingy dirty dungeon to a gleaming, glorious, castle, all because you purchased this handy dandy magical miracle awesome appliance!

But no pressure.

Still undecided, we filled out the paperwork (adoption papers for our firstborn if we defaulted, etc.) and had her leave the vacuum. She said she could come back and get it that night if we decided no. I went to Relief Society to do some sewing. I talked to my friends there, and one of them had the good sense to say, "I wouldn't do it, if I were you." Angel friend then detailed how she just researched her recent vacuum purchase on the internet, and she was very happy with her $130 bagged vacuum. Miraculously, good sense distilled upon me. I realized the following:

1. I did not want to ask ONE my loved ones, much less 10 or 30 for the favor of watching the demonstration.

2. I did not want to risk paying $75 a month for THREE YEARS for a vacuum. Hello? It's a vacuum! I could buy a new vacuum every month for three years for that price. Not to mention some measly $17 filter every six (or so...) months!

3. At the end, one of my greatest concerns was that the rep would have to inconveniently return to my house to pack up the thing. Really? Jen? Are you willing to pay $2,500 so someone doesn't have to come pack up a vacuum that you don't want or need? I didn't know the price of civility was that high.

In short, I am easily swayed, but not easily persuaded. We called her to come pick up the vacuum. I now have a renewed love for my chintzy vacuum and am happily using heretofore untouched brush attachments and extensions to clean my blinds, curtains, return air vents and other previously unmolested or badly-wiped surfaces (i.e. lamp shades). I don't know why these uses hadn't occurred to me before. I think I was just so convinced that it was a shoddy piece of trash that I didn't have the vision of what my little el cheapo vacuum could accomplish.

I hope I never under-appreciate myself or other people in that shocking way. The world is really not such a bad place after all.


Kate said...

I am glad you resisted the intense pressure tactics of direct-sales-machine!

However, I do have to say that my family purchased a Rainbow when I was in Elementary school and they still use the very same one (with the water filter) to this day. (Although, let's face it the scented humidifier was not used once to my knowledge).

In other vacuum news... we have recently developed an obsession with the Roomba!!!!!! A robot that vacuums your house for your when you are gone. It is the best electronic device I own BY FAR (better than phone, laptop, dishwasher). There is nothing as satisfying as leaving with dirty floors, and coming home to empty a full little vacuum that has done the job for you.

I was a skeptic at first.

Now I am a true believer in the Roomba.


Jessi said...

Gotta love those 'no pressure' sales pitches. My most recent experience was with a Kirby salesman who spent well over an hour at my house. Never again.

Jesse said...

This post was inspiring. Loved it.

Actually, most of yours are, but this one especially.

Mary said...

I, too, have had my share of vacuum woes. My sister has a Rainbow -- loves it! My mom has had the same Kirby for almost 50 years! And I was having to buy a new cheap vacuum every 2 years, including the one year of hating and plotting -- what a waste of money, time spent finding a new one, and plastic vacuum parts. I have now found my middle of the road priced vacuum that is lovely and has banged around my house for about 5 years. Whew, moderation wins again.

Brittany said...

Wow. Thanks for that. I've been called by five or six of my friends to see the same demonstration. I always decline, knowing I'd probably be sold on the thing and then have to take out a second mortgage to buy it. Thanks for that article. Now I'll be even more firm when they call in the future.

The Rookie said...

Bravo. We had a Rainbow vacuum growing up and, while I'm sure it made the house clean enough, I still shiver thinking of the hair-ballish water-sludge aftermath that nobody (and I mean NOBODY including Mom and Dad which typically means it is a "kid chore") wanted to get rid of because it would slop on you and anyone within a 20' radius--40' if there was wind--as you dumped it out. (Forgive my run on. I'm taking a breath now.)

I'm holding out for a Dyson. Yep--advertising works.

The Yoder's Four said...

We've had the same piece 'o junk for over eight years and have resorted to using a $35 bagless vacuum (that actually does the job quite well!). If you end up getting something new that you like (that doesn't cost two and a half grand), let us know.

Holly said...

We bought a Kenmore vacuum about a year and a half ago after reading consumer reports (free at the library). It worked really well. Karl paid for the 3 year warranty. "Really, honey, if it's a good vacuum you shouldn't need a warranty!" Well, after said year and a half, the vacuum makes a very obnoxious screaming noise when turned on and it's sucking power is greatly reduced. We are going to make use of the warranty. Hopefully we purchased the "no-hassle" kind.