Our vacuum cleaner kicked the bucket. It is a fate shared by every vacuum we have ever owned. Sean and I have lived together since 2001. We have had no less than 5 vacuum cleaners in that time. Each was purchased new. And after valiant service during tours of duty lasting less than 12 months, each has fallen with one explosive and dusty tubercular hack. I don’t know quite what the hell I do to them, but whatever it is, it appears to be fatal.

I once found myself thinking that maybe the daffy, scantily clad saleswoman (girl, really) from Kirby might have been on to something as far as the hundreds and thousands of dollars she said you spend on other cleaners. I have spent $75-$280 each time…which, gulp, could almost have paid for a Kirby by now. But then I remembered how she tried to relate with me as I fretted (after 60 minutes worth of demonstrating that amounted to no more than ten 3″ square areas being cleaned) about needing to go and nurse Briar who Sean had in another part of the house.

“Oh, yeah. My mom breastfed me and my brothers and sisters until we were each like four. You see these things? Those are mites. You are sleeping with them every night. I can remember breastfeeding. Do you want me to clean another bed?” She asked as she rotated three filter discs on my bed like some sort of street hustler.

“Nice. And gross. The mites I mean, not your family. Ah, I really need to go and feed my daughter.” I said trying to back out of the room. She was sitting on my bed.

“Oh, ok. Well they dropped me off here and didn’t leave me a number, so I’ll just have to wait. Might as well clean while I am here.” She fodled the filters, sprinking who-knows-what onto the bed and then wiped her hand casually against the quilt.

“Let’s go to another room. Breastfeeding is just so good and healthy. We were like really better off because we got that closeness for almost five years each.” She stood up and started toward Briar’s room.

“That’s great. I just, really, umm, could you just stop?” I asked meekly. I was afraid of this person, with her flimsy clothes, pushy approach and dirty hands, nails bitten to the quick.

“No more?” She had a look that was part shock and part disgust.

“Please, I just, I really need you to leave.” I was shaking.

“Well, I don’t have a ride and you say you love your daughter because you nurse her, but what about the bugs you are letting sleep with her? Crawl on her?”

I began to cry.

“Please, could you just leave? It’s been over an hour.”

“Sure, but I wouldn’t do that to my kid.” She began packing her things up and going downstairs. When we got downstairs I was going to offer her a drink and a seat on our porch, since she had told me she would have to wait. There was no need, because she reached somewhere (The outfit was seriously tight, I don’t remember pockets.) and retrieved a cell phone which she used to call her boss. He arrived at our house within minutes and began the hard sell.

It took another 45 minutes to get them to leave. I only managed to do so by standing up, raising my voice and flatly stating that they could not scare med into buying the machine and that they needed to LEAVE. MY. HOUSE!

I was going to link to a Kirby complaint site but they are all rife withpop-ups.
Let me just share this rebuttal from a Kirby salesman to a complaint like mine that I found on one such site:

Michael of San Jose CA (11/9/03):
I am a dealer rep from Kirby Company. All of you idiotic homeowners disgust me. You make un-intellectual remarks like we frightened your children or we used up your phone bill. You people make me sick and if i was there now i’d put my kirby in upright position, attach the leaf blower and cram it so far up your ****** ***** and blow out the few brain cells you people have.

Kirby has been rated #1 for over 90 years for its performance, reliability and quality. Maybe not for its price but please ask yourself why you should get a cheap price on a vacuum with multiple uses and that is also much more health improving. Once again we will continue to enforce these demos in your home and if you don’t buy it, then that is totally fine with me. There is no obligation. But just like a car salesman, he brings you to a car and says there is no obligation to buy. But then he sits you down and runs his never ending sales pitch to intice you to buy.

That’s our job. So f*** all you dumb consumers who want to trash Kirby or anyone of the people who are hard-working Americans striving to make an honest living.

Yeah, kinda thinking I’ll never buy a Kirby.

I spent the better part of an afternoon disassembling our Hoover or Dirt Devil or whatever it was, they all start to blend together, to see if I could unclog a clog, unjam a jam, unstick a…you get the idea. No dice. The motor would whir, no weird sounds or anything and it actually picked things up, but the compartment was not filling with anything. Literally. I would pass the vacuum over a visible pile of dirt and witness the dirt going away. Then I’d check the compartment to find it empty. Perhaps my panting from the exertion of kneeling and playing vacuum cleaner mechanic had me actually inhaling all the different canine, infant and miscellaneous particulates, but I really hope not.
Sean being the eager to please husband that he is, offered to try and resuscitate the thing.

“Ok. Thanks.”

I tried not to appear too enthusiastic. It’s not that I doubted his ability, I didn’t. It was more that I was too keenly aware of my own effect on vacuum cleaners. I let him try. And he did get it going a little better, but the whole empty waste container issue continued.

“Screw it. Let’s just go buy a Dyson.” He said matter of factly.

“Are you serious?”

“Why not?”

Who am I to argue. I have coveted a Dyson since first hearing that clipped accent talking about how he thought things should suck if they were supposed to suck.

Yes, by god, vacuum cleaners shoud suck! Where do I sign?

We packed the girls up and headed to the mall. The girls slept and Sean waited in the car as I dashed into the store, chest puffed up with purpose and excitement. A Dyson. I found the vacuum cleaner aisle and examined my Dyson sucking options. There were four models that spanned a range of $400-$600. I admit I went with the base model, which was actually amrked down. It came with the same 5 year warranties that the others did, so I figured I was being 5 year’s worth of quality scking for less than $100 a year, which is clsoe to what we have been spending for mediocre sucking.

Am I over thinking this? I don’t think so. I get pathetic trying-to-keep-my-family-healthy-and-safe joy from vacuuming. It is second only to providing wholesome meals. And despite what you may think based on those two things, I do not own a single denim jumper of holiday themed sweater. As a matter of fact one of my favorite things to do is come home dressed for an important day at work and vacuum all dolled up.I mean come on,how often do we moms manage to get the house looking great while we look great?

Now look at this beautiful machine:

Can you picture yourself navigating this baby in a fantastic sweater and jeans? A sleek pencil skirt and crispt white blouse? Tell me that doesn’t make you feel just a little bit giddy!

Mama is purring. So is her Dyson.