Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

Where have these all gone?

Where I grew up “Hoover” was both a noun and a verb. We didn’t vacuum, we hoovered, regardless of the brand name on the vacuum we owned. We didn’t enjoy it, we just did it. Each Saturday we would do the hoovering without a second thought. We dragged the hoover out of the cupboard confident in the knowledge that it would be able to clean the carpet. And it did. No drama. It wasn’t supposed to be beautiful. There were no worries about suction power, “roller ball technology”, or “anti-allergenic filtration”. It just hoovered like it was supposed to, faithfully every week for years and years. All the time I lived at home we only had one hoover. It lasted my entire childhood and looked a bit like the one in the picture on the right. When I moved into my own apartment, I got one of my own, and it worked.

So to me, a vacuum cleaner is an unassuming item that I do not expect to have to buy often. I fully expect one to last for years and years. I do not enjoy shopping for them, or owning them. They are just one of the necessities of life, like washing machines, mattresses, and dryers. I expect them to last for a good long time, and perform the function they are designed for.

Much to my chagrin, I have had to buy six different vacuum cleaners over the last seven years. When my old faithful one (of the style depicted above) finally died I bought a bagless one of the anti-allergenic, HEPA filtered, completely-unable-to-suck-anything-up kind. I took it back thinking I had just got a broken one, but no. The replacement lasted just long enough to be non-returnable. I tried a different bagless one before reverting in frustration to the bags. But no luck there either, the handle fell off the last one of these last week. So today, we had to go shopping for another.

Now I arrive at my real rant. Why can you now only buy either really cheap risky hoovers, or enormously expensive ones? Where is the hoover middle ground? And why do none of them last very long? I want one of these old fashioned ugly ones that actually worked and did not require a financing plan. Why does no one make these any more?

I have been forced into buying a small dyson, and I am not happy about it. When I have to pay $400 for something I expect to enjoy owning it, and a vacuum cleaner just doesn’t fall into that category. When I first saw the Dyson man on TV saying how he has devoted his life to finding the best kind of suction power, I just thought “How sad for the poor soul–He cannot know about these old ugly hoovers that work perfectly fine”. Now I understand what he meant. He must have gone through six hoovers in seven years like me.

On the plus side, when we unwrapped our nice new vacuum today, I got two instant volunteers to do the hoovering. I wonder how long that will last?

2 thoughts on “What Has Happened To Vacuum Cleaners?

  1. Michele says:

    I’ve given up on Hoovering. The instant I hoover, Cheerios or Fruit Loops or little, itty bitty pieces of paper become scattered all over the floor. I’ve decided to live in filth under the hygiene hypothesis: if your environment is too clean, you become super susceptible to diseases and allergies (that is until I get a volunteer for vacuuming, if I ever get a volunteer).

  2. Terri J says:

    I just want a vacuum that will fly!

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