random memes }

Disposable appliances

When I was growing up my parents were usually a bit short of money. Much of what we bought was second hand. Some things we made instead of buying. Often things that broke were repaired rather than replaced. That history means I tend to buy things that I expect to last, and tend to try to repair things that break, rather than just throw things away.

First vacuum cleaner I bought was a ~$300 Hoover (in mid-1980's dollars), very well reviewed by Consumer Reports, that I expected to last. It didn't. The cord holder broke. The power-assist broke. Replacement parts were hard to obtain and expensive. After a while - despite cleaning - it just did not do a good job as a vacuum. (After that experience, I am unlikely to buy Hoover, again.)

More recently I bought a ~$200 (about year 2001) Sharp vacuum billed as very quiet - and it was! Did a good job of cleaning at first, but after a year seemed less effective, then much less effective a bit later.

Bought a ~$250 Roomba a few years back. The robot vacuum cleaner was very cool, though it needed frequent cleaning, and then broke. Then the replacement broke. Then the next replacement broke. Then the next replacement broke - and I finally gave up on the Roomba.

Bought a ~$150 Dirt Devil, which worked pretty well for maybe a year (or much less). When the results were once again not very good (not impressed with the "Dirt Devil" brand), hit Consumer Reports (which is a good start, but one I do not entirely trust after the first Hoover) and the other review sites.

I prefer to buy high quality products, with the expectation that they will perform well, and last a long time. After mucking through the user reviews, I started to suspect that almost any new vacuum performs better than an old vacuum, and that price may not mean much.

Went to Wal-Mart to buy a cheap replacement vacuum. Settled on a bag-less Bissell, priced $70 on the shelf, and $45 at the checkout. First run - it's much quieter than the old Dirt Devil, and picked up a lot of dirt the old vacuum had left behind. The new vacuum is lighter, and does a better on edges as well.

Right. Seems to confirm the theory. New vacuums are better than old. At $45 this vacuum is pretty much a disposable item - if it stops performing, I will toss it and buy new.

That something the size and complexity of a vacuum cleaner has become a disposable item (in a very practical sense), is ... clearly true, but a bit hard for me to digest. :)