Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cyclonic Suction

It sucked me in. 

I went shopping for Krys’ birthday presents last week, and I had a list. Actually the list “appeared” in a little notebook that she left open (casually) on the bar in the kitchen and I saw it. I wasn’t sure if she meant for me to see this general Wish List but I did – and I used my cell phone to take a spy-style picture so that I could refer to it later.

Vacuum cleaner. There were other things that looked interesting and that might be less expensive but lets face it – the vacuum that my parents bought me when I purchased my first house in 1998 is probably not performing to original specification. Throw in two 85 lb dogs shedding in the house for the last 3 ½ years and you can imagine the toll taken on this poor Kenmore pull-behind vac.
So I did some research reading online reviews – which second to learning how to completely rebuilt a 1967 Porsche engine these reviews are the most wonderful things about the interweb – and I headed to the store to buy a vacuum cleaner. I must say that I was proud of myself for going to the store fully prepared to get A Deal.  Of course everyone talks about how wonderful the Dyson vac’s are but that they are also expensive… and the online reviews furthered what I had heard. Other shoppers were steering me toward the Bissell vacs – they had all of the features of the Dyson for lower costs (as much as 65% cheaper).  So I planned on buying one of the less expensive brands.

Once in the store I set up a little test area with all of the vacuums Under Consideration lined up on the floor. This didn’t leave much room on the aisle for folks trying to pass me buying mops and detergent, but I needed space. I took them apart, turned them upside down, tried all of the attachments, read the instructions, unwound and rewound the power cords and made sure that I knew what these machines were made of. What I found was this: everything that the Bissell’s or Hoover’s did, the Dyson did better. The Dyson was of better construction. It was easier to use (I think also of how intuitive it was to use, much like the iBook G4 I’m writing on at this moment). Its warranty was 5 times as long. It had permanent HEPA filters where the others had to be replaced. Vacuum cleaner bags? Fagetaboutit. Never have to buy them again. The Dyson was good quality design that performed AND looked great – something that is important to me. Besides all that, some guy stopped to talk to me for 10 minutes about buying a Dyson 5 years ago and why it was one of the best purchases he'd ever made. Whether it is good music, good food or good vacuum cleaners - you know it is good when people just have to tell you why they love it.

So the big day came and Krys opened her new Dyson with glee. She fired it up and vacuumed the 6x9 rug in our bedroom. It was sucking to a point that it was pull
ing the corners of the rug off the floor (yet not damaging the rug), and in 2 minutes the canister was filling with dirt. Now it would be important to note several things. 1) We had vacuumed this same rug about 6 days previous, 2) Lucy (95 lb Lab) had been ferminated (think de-thatching your lawn) 2 weeks earlier and was hardly shedding at all and 3) Krys had steam-cleaned all the rugs in our house 3 weeks earlier. There was some dog hair in the canister but it was 95% DIRT. It was nasty – the dust, dirt, dust mites and who-knows-what-else that was in there.  We were convinced that this was the vacuum for us.

Krys and I are reading “Atlas Shrugged” right now (she for the first time and me for the third), and I think about people like James Dyson when I read it.  Here is a man who found something that needed to be improved (suction vacuum cleaner) and he had an idea – then spent the next 25 years getting it right. His vacuums cost more where the copycats are all cheaper. Everyone wants to copy great ideas and to cash in on them, without having to put in the hard work to create (Dyson apparently tried to sell his design to Hoover but they turned it down because they knew they could make more money selling vacuum cleaner bags… and now they are making copy models of the Dyson). But for the brainpower and originality and the creative spirit that is embodied in our little yellow Dyson DC07 Vacuum Cleaner, I stood for this spirit when I purchased it.