Adventures in Vacuum Shopping

I’ve lived long enough to become cranky about one or two things, but I didn’t think that something as simple as buying a hoover this past weekend would be one of them.

My initial problem was accidentally thinking in brand names – the “now pass me a Kleenex, you trollop” or “I Xeroxed my arse at the office party…again” trend of using brand nouns instead of actual, non-trademark descriptors. One of the few ways I had grown up thinking American, forgetting that “Hoover” was indeed a brand name for vacuums, although, according to Wikipedia, isolated only to Blighty.

Carrying out a little recon online proved fruitless. You can check the “in-store only” option and sort by price and check the stock at a specific store all you want, but as soon as you get to the shop and it’s not there, all you can do is try not to roll your eyes at the shop assistant checking stock on their PDA who is genuinely NOT feigning ignorance.  There is nothing anyone can ever do about anything.

So instead of expecting to pay $45 for a simple, sucking piece of plastic, my budget ballooned far beyond $100 and I saw several items of importance drop from my grocery/household shopping list. Who needs food when I could just vacuum up yesterday’s spilt Malai Kofta and drip feed them to myself through the bagless HEPA filter?

Like a child running to her mummy after the bully called her a name she had to look up in a dictionary, I ran straight to the Dyson section and recoiled in horror.

$500 for the same vacuum my Dad just bought? It’s not even a super-fancy high-end one, but he bought it to pick up our adorable fluffy cat’s moultings. It would probably be cheaper to buy a Dyson the next time I’m back home (which, thankfully, is frequently enough to stave off homesickness), and just declare it when I come back through Customs (provided there’s no bloody “agriculture” in it).

A glance of the dregs that were left: something optimistically called “Dirt Devil”, a brand that seemed to festoon every shelf. Horribly dated, bright-red packaging that just reeked of tack, as if they had been accidentally invented by a Walmart drop-out using some McDonalds straws, some empty toilet roll tubes and a fart.

Then there was the leap from mid-priced yet rubbish to disgustingly expensive and uber high-tech – vacuums that NASA could use to hoover up those errant potato chips. Carpet-cleaning sensors, LED thingies, cord-wrapping contraptions and something called HEPA. What is this? Is it that lump of fat that lops over your front bum, but fatter? It was all just terribly confusing business.

In the end I selected something on the lower price end, but still terribly overpriced compared to what I was used to. It had all the bells and whistles, was a name brand (just not familiar to non-Americans), and still had all the extra supercomputer nonsense that apparently my carpet can’t live without.

I figure it needs to be powerful, but now I’m concerned it will pull a Christine and kill me in my sleep.

According to the dry-cleaning delivery man (yes, this exists), and my lovely new neighbours (who recognized the husband by trade), they do not know anyone who owns a vacuum for the very reasons I’ve just spent over 500 words complaining about. I expect I’ll get a knock on my door when it’s time to suck up the post-game Cheetos.


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