15 September 2007

Things that suck

When I moved in with rothko, we bought a vacuum cleaner. At the time we were living in a fully carpeted apartment in Malden, MA. Money was tight, so I did some research via Consumer Reports and bought a Sharp vacuum cleaner.

Unfortunately, I overlooked one detail. While excellent on carpets, the vacuum cleaner was entirely unsuitable for hard wood floors. After a couple of years we moved into an apartment with wood floors, and the Sharp took up residency in the basement. But I was loathe to part with it, because it was a perfectly good vacuum cleaner, and vacuum cleaners are expensive.

Then we moved to Texas. The faithful vacuum came with us. It’s still in fine working order, and we now have carpet again, which it does a good job of cleaning. But the problem is, we also have stairs. The trusty Sharp is about as suited to vacuuming stairs as a Dalek. And downstairs is wood floors again.

So for a while now, I’ve had plans to get a vacuum that actually does a good job of hard floors, stairs, and carpet.

Obviously the Dyson range appealed as soon as I saw it. But I heard that the early Dysons were heavy and awkward, and often unreliable. So I waited.

After a couple more years, the Dyson ball was launched, which was more maneuverable. Then this year, the Slim was launched in the USA. It has a smaller version of the ball mechanism in a vacuum that’s light enough to pick up and carry up and down stairs without my back hurting. It also seems as though the reliability issues have been dealt with.

Searching on Google, I saw ads for a company offering “Worst prices on Dyson”, asking “Don’t pick on us”. I wondered whether it was a mistake or a joke, clicked through, and discovered it was an independent retailer in Austin called ABC Vacuum Warehouse. It’s a store I must have driven past dozens of times without ever realizing it was there, partly because it’s in a nondescript shack-like building in front of a warehouse, and partly because the windows are all covered up with blinds so it looks like it has been abandoned. Inside is a small store filled with nothing but vacuum cleaners, accessories for vacuum cleaners, and spares for vacuum cleaners.

At the store’s suggestion we took a look at a Sebo vacuum cleaner as well as the Dyson range. Fine German engineering, but there were a few things I didn’t like. First up, it uses bags and filters. Secondly, the main upright piece detaches from the brush head for cleaning stairs, which sounds good, but I could see it would be annoying and require a lot of bending over to detach and re-attach it. I prefer the Dyson wand, which doesn’t require any bending over at all.

So, DC-18. I took it for a thorough trip around the house this afternoon. It does indeed do a good job on all floors; it’s great on the hard wood floor, will remove the gifts of the pube fairy from the tiled bathrooms, and does at least as good a job as the Sharp on carpet. Time will tell how reliable it is, but so far I’m satisfied: I ended up with a full cylinder of hairy filth.

© mathew 2017