HOOVERS or "The life of my first and current vacuums, a comparison, including therapeutic rant"

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So, why , when I know my hoover (which isn’t a hoover anyway, it’s a modern vacuum cleaner) is so modern that it has harnessed the power of cyclones in its interior workings, why is it, that ,despite having harnessed the power of the weather in its interior workings, it can’t cope with a bit of hair ?

I’m not talking dog hair, horse hair, cat hair, guinea –pig hair or the hair of the Highland steer. (Which one could reasonably argue have no business appearing in the average domestic abode, or, even, MY home). I’m just talking about the smallest amounts of human hair, which have accidentally ended up on the carpet, despite daughter and mine’s best efforts with hairbrushes, combs, showering and bathing.

So, now, this marvel of modern man’s invention, which had a RRP of a “mere” £175 in 2004(don’t worry, we got it for less in a supermarket special offer) has to be partly dismantled (usually with a butter knife, definitely, NOT the tool intended for the job) and once the exterior guard is removed then I have to find a sharp pair of scissors and painstakingly cut 1cm of tangled hair at a time off the roller. The roller has 2 sides, so it’s just as well that I rotate it and cut off the hair on each side, after making all these cuts then I have to tease the short tufts of hair off the roller, one at a time. The whole operation can take as much as 40 mins, and needs repeating about once a month, though I may typically leave it for 2 months, or even, as long as I can ,until it becomes obvious that the hoover (sorry) vacuum cleaner's function has become impaired, and the tedium necessitated by going over and over the same patch again and again, in order to pick up a tiny bit of fluff is starting to outweigh the tedium of finding the butter knife and a sharp pair of scissors and settling down to dismantle ,without breaking the whole thing and starting the grimy business all over again. i.e. it’s taking too long, a bit like that last sentence.

Other things I have against my current vacuum cleaner:

Why did my Mum’s Hoover (Yes it had “hoover” on a chrome looking nameplate down its side, the first vacuum I ever used) last for (as far as I can tell) approx 18 years? And my top of the range vacuum needed some help from duct tape, on the hose extension within the first few months?

Also, every year I get a letter from the manufacturer of my thoroughly modern vacuum. For the first few years the letter was along the lines of:

Dear Mrs Blank
We hope you are very happy with your vacuum model, and that it is just as wonderful as all our advertising says it is, however your guarantee has now run out, so, for a small sum, we can promise to replace all parts, subject to correct usage/wear and tear etc. (They wanted more money from me)

BUT, then, when the appliance reached the grand old age of 5 years (cost £35/year, so far, plus electric plus a bit of duct tape) the tone of the letter completely changed. It now reads something like:

Dear Mrs Blank
Hello valued customer, here is a shiny new brochure with all the new vacuums, you should get one of our new models because they are very good at sucking up, rolling around objects and reaching into corners ,(and we are pretty sure that by now your “old” (WHAT !, I PAID £145 FOR THAT THING LESS THAN 6 YEARS AGO!) model is knackered, and we might secretly know that the extension hoses on those things never worked very well, and caused the whole upright to upend and fall on you that time, giving you that ankle injury and a lifelong phobia about tackling the stairs.)
i.e. (We are not content with ripping you off on the previous model, we now want to rip you off on your next £300 model too, that can’t cope with human hair either.)

Well, they certainly seem to know that their 5 year old model is now pants, and needs replacing.

But WHY? It’s only 5 years old? Do they really expect us to pay £35 a year and then throw it away? I honestly thought, that at that price, I was buying top of the range, and it would be good for at least, say 10 years. I’m mean I’ve heard of “built in obsoletion ” but , with my previous lifestyle this mostly referred to London Transports’ daily Travel Cards.

And what’s more, what happens to all this expensive plastic and cyclone producing engines and naff stretchy tubing now? This is such an ecologically unsound way of treating the planet’s resources. That plastic probably comes from billion years old oil deposits. Is the company in question going to let me return it to them for recycling?

I have an idea. It should be like the old glass lemonade bottles: This Company, and the many like it, should be made responsible for their products through their entire life. When the product is finished with, the consumer should be obliged to return it to them for a deposit refund. That way companies would make things that are designed to last ,and slow down our rapid consumption of the planet’s resources.( In my dreams )

But despite all that, the advertising (some even include dog hair) there has yet to be a hoover (sorry “vacuum cleaner” ) advertised that can cope with servicing the carpets in a house of people with long hair without needing either:

1 Head cleaning every 5 mins (in the case of a cylinder cleaner)
2 Roller uncovering and hair cutting and removing monthly (in the case of upright cleaners)

PLUS , these extremely expensive items are now only expected to last for 5 years as opposed to 15 plus.

There is, however, a better choice of vacuum colours than I could ever have imagined as a teenager, ours is a very “I want to break free” kitsch shade of pink and lilac, simply stunning.

If only my black PVC skirt still fitted...


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